Wednesday, January 30, 2019


I’m reading one more interesting book on an open field theory of poetry and its place, this time by Terrance Hayes and all about Etheridge Knight, a poet I followed closely for almost 50 years, in some ways reminding me of another I love Chester Himes, both ex-prisoners, a great deal of their work being done through the inmate and prison perspective. In other words, always a prisoner once out. Himes took off for Europe (like Baldwin) because of the outcast feeling; Knight took it out on himself with drugs, violence, even to his wives and partners etc., Sonia Sanchez was one, who continued to love him and was always an equal. Long ago I used to read to my all women students in the boarding school each winter “Feeling Fucked Up” one of the most liberated and celebratory poems from that era. The young women were startled then ( 80s ) at the freedom of language. “You can do that?” they’d ask. I told them they could do anything if it improved the page, taking that old saw one more step. Hayes catches the importance of all this time and writes well, including some sketchy loopy ink drawings that are perfect. 

Wave Books
Terrance Hayes