Terrance Hayes


Terrance Hayes is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. His most recent poetry collection is How To Be Drawn (2015). His previous collection, Lighthead (2010), was winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Hurston-Wright Award. Hayes’s other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a profile in The New York Times Magazine. His first book, Muscular Music (1999), won both a Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second book, Hip Logic (2002), was a National Poetry Series selection and a finalist for both the Los Angeles Time Book Award and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Wind In a Box (2006), a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award finalist, was named one of the best books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. He is the current poetry editor for The New York Times Magazine and has two forthcoming manuscripts, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin, 2018), and To Float in the Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (Wave, 2018). 

Additional Artist information

Hayes was guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2014 (Scribner, 2014), the preeminent annual anthology of contemporary American poetry. His works have appeared in ten editions of the series since 2005. Poems have also appeared in two editions of the Pushcart Best of the Small Presses anthology of poetry. Hayes has read his poetry and lectured in venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Princeton University, Yale University, The Boys Club of New York, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. He has visited high schools and also conducted poetry workshops at prisons across America.

Hayes was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and educated at Coker College, where he studied painting and English and was an Academic All-American on the men’s basketball team. After receiving his M. F. A. from the University of Pittsburgh, he taught in southern Japan, Columbus, Ohio, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Hayes then returned to Pittsburgh and taught for 12 years at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. From 2016 to 2018 he will be Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.


Last updated: February 22, 2018