Books

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America’s most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award winning author of Lighthead.

Terrance Hayes

In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form.

Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country's past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered — the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning. (From Penguin Books)

Terrance Hayes is an American poet and teacher. He won the National Book Award for poetry for his 2010 collection Lighthead and was a recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant fellowship in 2014.

From the book

Sometimes the father almost sees looking
At the son, how handsome he'd be if half
His own face was made of the woman he loved.
He almost sees in his boy's face, an openness
Like a wound before it scars, who he was
Long before his name was lost, the trail
To his future on earth long before he arrived.
To be dead & alive at the same time.
A son finds his father handsome because
The son can almost see how he might
Become superb as the scar above a wound.
And because the son can see who he was
Long before he had a name, the trace of
His future on earth long before he arrived.


From American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrence Hayes ©2018. Published by Penguin Books.

Interviews with Terrance Hayes

The American poet discusses his powerful new collection, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. 57:28

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