At this time every year, Gemini Ink offers San Antonians the chance to visit and interact with a prominent author of national, and even international, stature, and this time the organization is bringing to town, Terrance Hayes, a National Book Award winner and the author of seven poetry collections. Described as “one of the most compelling voices in American poetry,” Hayes will first appear at Trinity University’s Laurie Auditorium Feb. 28, for a public reading and a Q & A session, to be followed by a ticketed luncheon March 1 at the Pearl Stable.
“Terrance is a powerful, dynamic reader (of his poems). I saw him read and it was an electrifying experience,” said Gemini Ink’s executive director Aleaxandra Van De Kamp. “You do want to see him live!”
In his poetry, Hayes addresses a wide range of issues, including racism, family, religion and stereotypes, she said. “He is a wordsmith who plays with language in creative ways. He makes you look at our reality in a new way. He is reinventing the sonnet, for instance, opening it wide, making it very American, with deep rich music in it. Though his poetry is very accessible, it is also challenging.”
Now a professor at New York University and the poetry editor for the New York Times Magazine, Hayes has garnered a great deal of literary recognition and awards, which, besides the National Book Award, include a 2014 MacArthur Foundation genius Fellowship, the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His most recent poetry book, “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin” was named by the Washington Post as one of the top five poetry collections for 2018. In 2017 Hayes became one of the chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.
Following the Laurie Auditorium reading, Hayes will engage in a Q & A session with fellow poet Michelle Whittaker, as well as take questions from audience members. Whittaker is in town to teach a workshop titled “How is the Personal Political,” focusing on environmental awareness on March 2. The format is similar for the fundraising luncheon albeit in a much more intimate setting. San Antonio writer Cary Clack will moderate.
So, what questions would Van De Kamp like to ask, we wondered.
“I would ask him how he goes about putting a book together,” she said. “Does he start with a concept or is the process more organic? Also, I love the use of music and sound in his work. So, how are sounds of words part of his process, how he thinks about the sounds of words?”
Public Reading with Q&A, Feb.28, 7 p.m., Laurie Auditorium, One Trinity Pl., 78212; free. Colloquim Luncheaon, March 1, 11:30 a.m., Pearl Stable, 307 Pearl Pkwy; $100—per person, $1,500 table for ten; to buy tickets call 210-734-9673 or go to www.geminiink.org ffff