2015 National Book Award Finalist, Poetry

Terrance Hayes

How to Be Drawn
(Penguin/Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0143126881

How to Be Drawn Terrance Hayes, photo credit Victoria Smith


Radically inventive, politically charged, and beautiful, Terrance Hayes's How To Be Drawn is also highly accessible. Yes, there are poems with charts, lists, real and imaginary maps. And, yes, there are poems that are homages to old almanacs and TV shows and musicians. This book can teach us how to be drawn but also how to live. And how to cry out in the night: "Please, please, please, please, please, Honey, please don't go."


In How to Be Drawn, his daring fifth collection, Terrance Hayes explores how we see and are seen. While many of these poems bear the clearest imprint yet of Hayes's background as a visual artist, they do not strive to describe art so much as inhabit it. Thus, one poem contemplates the principle of blind contour drawing while others are inspired by maps, graphs, and assorted artists. The formal and emotional versatilities that distinguish Hayes's award-winning poetry are unified by existential focus. Simultaneously complex and transparent, urgent and composed, How to Be Drawn is a mesmerizing achievement.

About the Author

Terrance Hayes is the author of four previous collections of poetry. In September 2014, he was one of 21 recipients of the prestigious MacArthur fellowships, awarded to individuals who show outstanding creativity in their work. His most recent collection, Lighthead, was the winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include Muscular Music (1999), which won the Kale Tufts Discovery Award; Hip Logic (2002), which won the National Poetry Series Competition and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Wind in a Box(2006), which was named one of the best one hundred books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. His honors include two Pushcart Prizes, four Best American Poetry selections, a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches at the University of Pittsburg and lives with his family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


- terrancehayes.com
- poetryfoundation.org/bio/terrance-hayes


- Amazon.com
- Barnes & Noble
- IndieBound.org
- iBooks
- WorldCat (Library catalog)
Photo credit: Victoria Smith