The John Adams Institute: Terrance Hayes 'American sonnets for my past and future assassin'


ma 27 mei
Agenda Terrance2
Wanneer Tijd Waar  
ma 27 mei 19:30 Posthoornkerk Kaartverkoop
Posthoornkerk - buiten gevel
Haarlemmerstraat 124-126
1013EX Amsterdam

Avond met de politiek geëngageerde Amerikaanse dichter/schrijver Terrance Hayes.

Terrance Hayes is an award-winning poet. He is a Professor of English at New York University.

”I lock you in an American sonnet that is part prison, / Part panic closet, in a little room in a house set aflame […] I lock your persona in a dream-inducing sleeper hold / While your better selves watch from the bleachers”.

In 70 poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of America, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of Donald Trump’s presidency, the poems are haunted by the country’s past and future errors, as well as its dreams and nightmares. Hayes’ brilliant turns of phrase have earned him a National Book Award for his 2010 work Lighthead (2010)as well as a coveted Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur genius grant.

In the time since publishing American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin the bundle has only become more relevant. The poems are by turns inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholic, and bewildering—exactly like the past eight years in American life. Hayes approaches them with disarming humor and tenderness, championing everyday realities that too often go unexamined and unsung.

Poetry has the tendency to scare off casual readers. But Hayes is a master wordsmith, and language is a malleable putty in his hands with the power to reach off the page with profound impact. To make his work more accessible, the John Adams Institute is teaming up with Amsterdam’s International Writers’ Collective. Together we will delve into Hayes’ remarkable collection and the motivations that lead to its creation and take the temperature of America today: you don’t need to be a poetry buff to come get your feet wet.

Up for discussion? Everything from the country’s past and present struggles with racism, to the political fears that plague most Americans, and the joy one can find from friends and lovers. Come dive into the United States through the eyes and words of Terrance Hayes.

Excerpts from Sonnet 46

The song must be cultural, confessional, clear […]
The song must turn on the compass
Of language like a tangle of wire endowed
With feeling. The song must be a record of witness & daydream
Where death is undone, time diminished,
The song must hold its own storm & drum,
And shed a noise so lovely it is sung at sunset
Weddings, baptisms & beheadings henceforth.

Moderator: TBA

In collaboration with: International Writers’ Collective

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