Terrance Hayes Lecture on Liquid Poetics: My Scattered Notes

Terrance Hayes - Poet, Painter, and Provocateur - My Hero
I had the immeasurable pleasure of listening to Terrance Hayes share ideas on poetry last night as the year's final event of the Seattle Art and Lecture Poetry Series. I was on the brink of a bad cold so please forgive any notes without sense -- or perhaps that's just as it should be? The bold is for my favorite lines and ideas.

"Don't get set in one form."
(be formless, be shapeless, like water.)

                                      * * *

Robert Bly wrote in his poem, Morning Pablo Neruda:

"Water is practical / it doesn't care about us / .../ no one lays flowers on the grave of water."

                                    * * *

(okay -- everything is in quotes now -- or an approximation of such.)

Your poetics is evident in the process; let your poetics be water.

Hayes has been called a Liquid Modernist --- quotes Polish sociologist --- author of

Liquid Modernity
by Zigmunt Bauman

A liquid "man" flows through life, changes jobs, marriages, gender.

"A tourist in our own life."

A lecture is not just an archive -- -rather it's a realization, a series of small revelations.

Like a poem -- a lecture is made out of mood, pluck, and chance.

Listener, reach for the beautiful. Don't worry about genre.

"Poetics of the Self."

There are three spheres of influence Hayes describes:

1. The Adjacent Possible --- creativity triggered by close bonds (Robert Lowell comes in here --- and his appropriation of his ex-wife's letters -- Elizabeth Hardwick.

(3 mates on a small raft --- Plath, Sexton, and Lowell).

2. Platform Innovations Model
(like acquaintances on a ferry or at a conference. )

3. Liquid Network
(group that is loosely aligned with a shared aesthetic. MFA programs and those who teach in them, for example. All agree on giving grades, value publication, etc. )

                                                    * * *

Some of the stories and places that Haye's own liquid poetics come from -

Robert Lowell -- ready and willing to change tactics at short notice.
Ethridge Knight -- Pittsburgh -- was married to Sonia Sanchez.

Hayes did his MFA at Pittsburgh but also went to a community workshop every third Saturday. Contained some old school Black Nationalism --- other members were Rob Penny and Dang Demented Wordsmith.

Amiri Baraka - (formerly Leroy Jones)

Wallace Stevens -- "One Must Have a Mind of Winter"

"Snow For Wallace Stevens" in Lighthead.

                                * * *

"Feeling Means More Than Meaning" -- T.H.

Great moment: Johnny Walker Blue -- the mythic, magical, elixir.
$300 a bottle.

                          * * *

Here is an insight: the poem is a kind of house; a bungalow, a macmansion,  a cottage. Enter the front door and enter into language. If we find a sofa in the kitchen, how delightful.

Voice is born in the blood.
It's liquid.
You can't get away from it.
Put on all the masks you want.

            * * *
Does art create the self?
Does art affirm the self?

           * * *
This is sounding more and more like a poem --- a liquid poem.


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