Wind in a Box

ISBN: 0143036866
ISBN 13: 9780143036869
By: Terrance Hayes

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African American Contemporary Currently Reading Default Favorites Poc Poems Poetry School To Read

About this book

Terrance Hayes is an elegant and adventurous writer with disarming humor, grace, tenderness, and brilliant turns of phrase. He is very much interested in what it means to be an artist and a black man. In his first collection, Muscular Music, he took the reader through a living library of cultural icons, from Shaft and Fat Albert to John Coltrane and Miles Davis. His second collection, Hip Logic, continued these explorations of popular culture, fatherhood, cultural heritage, and loss. Wind in a Box, Hayes’s resonant new collection, continues his interest in how traditions (of poetry and culture alike) can be simultaneously upended and embraced. The struggle for freedom (the wind) within containment (the box) is the unifying motif as Hayes explores how identity is shaped by race, heritage, and spirituality. This new book displays not only what the Los Angeles Times calls the range of a "bold virtuoso," but also the imaginative fervor of a poet in love with poetry.

Reader's Thoughts


love the blue series especially.

Diann Blakely

From bebop narratives to the NBA in WIND IN A BOX! Is there anything this poet can't do?


How can you not love a book by a dude with a mohawk.


hayes has a music and a method and a mayhem and a wry humor that i love.


I think I need to read this again. I liked some poems quite a bit, but others might need more time to grow on me, to reveal themselves to me!


I heard him read in 2006: incredible! Started his book and loved it even though i'm not a huge reader of poetry. Now i must find the book and finish!


Beautiful. Gutting. Thoughtful.


This book is phenomenal..."The Blue Seuss" is a poem about everything that's just plain WRONG in this world - racism, injustice, prejudice, putting people into boxes that they don't belong in. Every time I go back to it (and there's many repeats), I cry first. Then become angry. The rest of the poems are terrific too.

Black Elephants

Also lent by said poetry friend, I preferred this title to Lighthead. Sample:"Harryette Mullen Lecture on the American Dream"Mud is thicker than water. Pull your head up by your chin straps. Put the pedal to the metal. Peddle to the middle. Put the medal on the pedestal. I pledge Sister Sledgehammer & Father knows beds, but I am not my breather’s keeper. I pledge to earn every holler & if found guilty, I pledge to repay my Bill of Rights to Society. From me to shining me. Money, money, money, monkey. We’re number none. Our number’s done. E pluribus Unnumbskull. For wares & several fears we go. Praise be to Guard. Slops & Slobbers. Maladies & Gentrifications. Don’t kill us, we’ll kill you. With lobotomy & Jesus for all.


I felt the most interesting poems in this book were the stories he told, the poems in the beginning and end of the book. He has this amazing way of weaving these really beautiful stories into his poems.


favorites: "The Blue Borges", "The Blue Bowie", "The Blue Terrance ("I loved Bruce Lee..."), "Woofer (When I Consider the African-American)"


Wind in a Box is Terrance Hayes’ third book of poetry. The collection was named one of the Best 100 Books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. He continues in the same vein, the techniques and subject matter that has garnered him so much literary praise and numerous awards. The collection deals with the often avoided issues of racial tensions in our society. Throughout the work, the tensions of the overarching metaphor are expounded; for Hayes the wind seemingly represents freedom and the box representing an imprisonment or containment. He utilizes a range of forms and conventions of poetry. In his piece “Woofer (When I Consider the African-American), he surmises the “much discussed dilemma of the African-American”. He weaves a narrative of an encounter he considers a first love and comes to the conclusion that “when I consider the African-American I think not of the tek nines of my generation…I think of a string of people connected one to another and including the two of us there in the basement linked by a hyphen filled with blood; linked by a blood filled baton in one great historical relay.” This beautifully crafter extended metaphor of the African-American experience is where Terrance Hayes continues to excel. The work often has a musical-like feel and flow. It links diverse ideas all allowing for self discovery; both for the reader and poet. The way his constructs words, sentences, and phrases all have the potential to heal those longing for a sort of reconciliation. Unlike any poet in this era he successfully tackles the issue of racial prejudice. Based on a photograph, he presents the shameful legacy of lynching in "A Postcard from Okemah." Both enchanting and extraordinarily lamentable the poem describes a young mother and son hanging from a bridge above a river. Hayes presents the shocking image:“The boy dangles in midairlike a hooked fish, his pants hangingfrom his ankles like a tail fin.”"I cannot ask who is left more disfigured, ... the ones who are hung or the ones who hang."


Very good, but a bit hit-or-miss at times.


only read one poemand it was the best.The Blue Terrance


great voice that grabs you in just the first lines of the first poem and continues to demand the reader's attention throughout.

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