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The People’s Poetry Archive presents, a poetry reading with Terrance Hayes

March 29 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Terrance Hayes’ most recent publications include American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin (Penguin 2018) and To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (Wave, 2018). To Float In The Space Between was winner of the Poetry Foundation’s 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism and a finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.  American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin won the Hurston/Wright 2019 Award for Poetry and was a finalist the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry, the 2018 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry, and the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. A collection of poems, So To Speak, and collection of essays, Watch Your Language, were published by Penguin in 2023. Hayes is a Silver Professor of English at New York University.

The People’s Poetry Archive is a 2023-24 Mellon Faculty Grant Project by Professor Joshua Bennett. It is a public humanities project setting out to digitally preserve canonical and contemporary poems from across the African diaspora, as well as historically under-theorized works in the realm of spoken word performance. Inspired by the Black feminist poet and educator June Jordan’s vision of “a people’s poetry”—a term she traces to the democratic imaginings of Walt Whitman—the creation of the archive represents an opportunity to address modern questions about the vitality and utility of poetry through sustained cross-pollination between institutions and social scenes. The project is an opportunity for those unfamiliar with poetry’s standard protocols to be surprised, enchanted, and drawn into the fold. Through a combination of live events, invited submissions, and collaborations with university libraries across the country, Bennett creates one of the most capacious living archives of the literary arts—a database featuring not only individual poems, but also recorded interviews, video footage, and a range of other historical materials—anywhere in the world.


March 29
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm


Killian Hall, 14W-111
160 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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Literature Section
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue 14N-407
Cambridge, MA 02139
tel: (617) 253-3581