Really pleased to see Terrance Hayes win the National Book Award for poetry this past week. I was blown away by Wind in a Box and just finished Lighthead last night ... amazing, trenchant, beautiful stuff. Hayes is an astonishingly adept synthesizer (of the non-Casio variety) of the personal, the pop, and the brutal past of the American project.
For those who don't know his work, find it, ASAP. Listen to it. Or, better than getting the milk for free, go buy Lighthead and treat yourself to his poem "The Avocado" and the rest of the brilliance therein. Or snag Wind in a Box, and marvel at the incredible wit, insight, and form-busting of his "letter" to Michael Jackson.
(I heard him read this amazing, funny poem at the Folger back in 2008 for the State of the Union: 50 Political Poems reading. I got into the city early enough that I spotted him wandering down Pennsylvania Ave. before the reading and briefly stalked him down the block, ogling from a distance to see what geniuses do when they're not geniusing. This one went into a book store and a convenience store (where he bought some water--I can only assume it was this brand). If he ever got creeped out by the adoring white girl loitering creepily behind trees and crouching behind newspaper boxes, he had the decency not to call her out on it.)