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


I read this poetry collection for a class. I thought it was alright. I enjoyed his play on words and the way he imitated the voices of other poets and famous persons (in his Blue collection), though I'm sure I would have liked that section much better if I was more familiar with the people he mentioned. I also liked how he switched from free verse to prose poems throughout the book-the variety made it more fun to read.Favorites: Woofer, Pine, Harryette Mullen, IV.RSVP

Diann Blakely

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


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


Good reading. Like his word play. His ability to write about people, show history, expose racism, delve into the soul of what is real. He has a lot of blues in this book. And he writes in new forms, but not traditional, more modern forms that I don't know the name of, maybe he makes them up. Fresh. Jazz. Alive. A beat to a beat to a beat. Want to read more of his books—he says each is written in a different form. When I took a class with him he had us write in a way I'd not written before, and I want to write more like that. And Wind in a Box is a whole series of poems all with the same name! How do you track poems with the same name?


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

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.


This ink. This name. This blood. This blunder. This blood. This loss. This lonesome wind. This canyon.Beautiful poems from a gifted poet. Deep, heartbreaking stuff.

Lisa Roney

I love the combination of high brow and pop culture in Terrance Hayes' poems. He seems to me like the quintessential intelligent young black man, querying every aspect of the society around him, casting his sharp eye on events and films, his sharp ear on music and talk, with both poignancy and humor. Good stuff.


WHOA.What a talent. So much invention and so much control. He can do almost anything, and does. Even when the book is at its slowest--some of the "Blue" series, maybe--there are always a couple of lines that knock you out. WHOA.


amazing. beautiful. funny, eloquent, alters history.


Terrance Hayes continues to blow me away. If you ever get a chance to see him read, do so. It is a mesmerizing experience.


Beautiful. Gutting. Thoughtful.


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!


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.


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

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