Terrance Hayes

So to Speak

So to Speak


Since the publication of his first book, Muscular Music, in 1999, Terrance Hayes has been one of America's most exciting and innovative poets, winning acclaim for his sly, twisting, jazzy poems, and his mastery of emotive, restless wordplay.

In So to Speak, his seventh collection, a tree frog sings to overcome its fear of birds, talking cats tell jokes in the Jim Crow South and a father addresses his daughter. In lyric fables, folk sonnets, quarantine quatrains and ekphrastic do-it-yourself sestinas, Bob Ross paints your portrait, green beans bling in the mouth of Lil Wayne and elegies for the late David Berman and George Floyd unfold amid the pandemic. These poems lyrically capture the often-incomprehensible predicaments of the present, as Hayes shapes music into language, and language into music.

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