Lighthead (2010) by Terrance Hayes is another wonderful collection of poetry by the poet and was deservedly the winner of the National Book Award for poetry in 2010. It is Hayes’ fourth poetry collection.
There is forty-two poems to read here spread across four sections. The poetry is full of depth and is visually painted in a very lyrical way. Wonderfully conversationally, the poems take on huge topics like racism and patriotism. My favourite poem is The Avocado which speaks about racism in America during the post-Civil Rights Black Power period. I also really like the pecha kucha style which is inspired by a type of Japanese slideshow. That was really original and inventive. Two of the things I absolutely adore about Hayes’ work is how accessible and down-to-earth it is and how it has so much depth and passion. It’s meaningful and down-to-earth and that is exactly the type of writing I love so this collection totally works for me. Also the storytelling element I adore too.
The collection is very poignant but also has a lot of humour in it. It is a great balance. Hayes’ sense of humour does shine through but never to the detriment of showing how serious the issues present are. For many authors, finding that balance is probably difficult but it seems effortless here. I don’t obviously know how effortless the process was for the poet but it appeared effortless. Very natural. There is an originality to the poetry and I love the way the poems seem to be written from the heart and are written with great honesty. There is definitely a slice-of-life feel to the book with the good, the bad, the inbetween and the downright ugly at times of life present and every bit of it is done amazingly and fearlessly and I absolutely love that.
A must-read. Amazing.
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