Nathaniel Livingston Photograph


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I got a fever...for poetry

January 29, 2012   

I promised that I would soon write about the recent events with Terrance Hayes on campus…and I know I’m maybe a day or two late in relating these events, but I have finally found a nice time on this lazy Sunday to reflect. Terrance Hayes coming to campus was a bigger deal for me than I had initially supposed it would be. Over the course of my poetry class I became quite the fan, and his use of music resonates strongly with what I love about poetry.

My love for Terrance’s poetry was only furthered by the workshop I participated in on the 26th, which he led. He spit knowledge about poetry, rhythm, and was a genuinely smart and happy guy.  Listening to him speak, you could tell he loves what he does, and it rubbed off on all of the people at the workshop, myself of course included. The workshop was supposed to only last about an hour and a half, but it ended up going for three hours, much to the delight of the eager young poetry students at Hamilton. It felt exhilarating to participate in the discussion of poetry with people who are genuinely moved and interested in the craft. Upon ending the workshop with a reading where everyone was invited to share, I truly felt like I had participated in one of the most powerful and unique academic experiences of my sophomore year.

The next day was the reading. Whereas at the workshop there was a pretty select, confined group of about twenty students, it seemed like a quarter of the campus was at the reading! At least a hundred people showed up to hear Terrance tell the story of his poetry, and then show us what they sound like. I recognized some of the poems from Wind in a Box, but a lot of the poems were from his newest collection Lighthead, which I am going to order off of Amazon.  Terrance killed it, and was a comfortable and confident speaker. You can tell why he is idolized at Carnegie Melon; it’s not just his poetry, but also a magnetic and genuine personality that just shines. 

After both of these events there were things I had to do for other classes. Maybe I could have more closely read the Human Career for my Archaeology class, or finish Robinson Crusoe for Study of the Novel – but no, I was compelled and content to write poetry. I could do nothing else. I guess that’s what it feels like to be inspired.