So to Speak

Terrance Hayes author


Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:27th Jul '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

This paperback is available in another edition too:

So to Speak cover

'Vital and energetic . . . These are the poems of a certain age: scars so old others must tell you how they are made . . . Hayes is a singular poet, and this book a singular achievement' Nick Laird
A dazzling new collection of poems from the T. S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

In So to Speak, the dazzling new collection by Terrance Hayes, the poet seeks to understand how we see ourselves now. He draws the reader into fabulous fables, American sonnets and do-it-yourself sestinas as he roves among the predicaments of the present and recent past, piecing together a new map of our times.
Here, a tree frog sings to overcome its fear of birds. Talking cats tell jokes in the Jim Crow South. Green beans bling in the mouth of Lil Wayne, and elegies for David Berman and George Floyd unfold amid the global pandemic. Here, too, Hayes contemplates fatherhood, history and longing, in urgent, personal poems of a remarkable openness and humanity.
Masterful, contemplative and massively alive, So to Speak shows one of contemporary poetry's great innovators at his muscular best. It is a treasure-trove of exploration, and an invitation to each of us to engage in the creativity that makes and remakes our world. It is, above all, the mature, restless work of a leading poetic voice.

Hayes is a maestro of poetic forms and these poems sing with a musical dexterity that embraces vulnerability and ambiguity . . . So to Speak reads like an ambitious mixed-media project questioning the role of art in representing suffering . . . Soul-searching questions ripple through a series of electrifying American Sonnets about James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Octavia E Butler, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, reimagining the works and voices of many black cultural icons. * Guardian *
Hayes’ poems never fail to play, thrillingly, with the constraints of form, and they engage with culture, past and present, while remaining deeply rooted in the personal. Don’t miss this one. * Lit Hub *
Hayes’ new work is as vital and energetic as ever, but there’s also a new tone in many places here—penitent, self-inculpatory. These are the poems of a certain age: scars so old others must tell you how they are made. Hayes’ invention allows his poetry to house almost anything: from the political to the sensual, from a magic goat to a talking cat. He is a singular poet, and this book a singular achievement. -- Nick Laird
These are pieces that fuse trauma and humor, erudition and silliness in ways that somehow preserve those disparate qualities -- Ron Charles * The Washington Post *
Like the great composers and musicians—like Thelonious and Miles, like Bach—Hayes is ever witty and elegant. His concerns are unexpected and yet right on time. His verse is so close to music, you’ll wonder if you’re reading words or notes. Solemnly elegiac and brokenheartedly playful, So to Speak is poetry of pure genius. -- Toi Derricotte
Across three various and virtuosic sections, Hayes examines the personal and public, from fatherhood to the murder of George Floyd, in his muscular and meditative seventh collection. With a masterful eye for image and description . . . Hayes’s writing unfolds musically and dynamically . . . These original, ruminative poems showcase one of the most rightly acclaimed poets writing today. * Publishers Weekly (starred review) *
[A] polyphonic, multivalent collection of poetry . . . Hayes' role as an oracle of the auricular remains remarkable . . . The poet's nimble knowledge of music and visual arts is notable . . . Throughout, Hayes continues to stretch the limits of language and explore the far regions of English, while his formal experimentation shines . . . May this poet's brilliance always shine. * Booklist (starred review) *

ISBN: 9781802063387

Dimensions: 234mm x 153mm x 8mm

Weight: 147g

112 pages