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Hip Logic (National Poetry Series) Paperback – May 28, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
"Forgive this letter covered in paint. There are no rags around me. I can't tell you where I am, but where I ain't." Selected by Cornelius Eady for the National Poetry Series, Terrance Hayes's Hip Logic is divided into five sections of fast-paced monologues and mania, leavened by "Autumn" ("its scent of cooling grease like the scent you inhaled once along the rim of a girl's collar") and portraits of greater and lesser heroes, from Homer and Audre Lorde to Shaft and Mr. T: "How to hulk through Chicago in a hedgerow afro, an ox-grunt kicking dust behind the teeth; those eighteen glammering gold chains around the throat of pity, that fat hollow medallionlike the sun on a leash "
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Terrance Hayes received an MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. He was the recipient of a 1999 Whiting Writers Award, and his first collection of poetry, Muscular Music, was the winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2000. He is currently an assistant professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
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I have wanted the kind of grace God gives
Only to the drowned;
Of a man conjured
Out of gossip & time,
Out of theories of demise;
By interspersing the "A Gram of &s" chapters, this emotional language is melded to the rules of anagrams, and this logic infuses the works with a vulnerable stoicism. Much like the free-flowing current of a life is contained by the laws of riverbanks and gravity and dams and locks, so are we all born into the boxed banks of society where the conditioning currents of division are fjorded by seeing beyond our one-room boxes, by adhering to the logic of the heart.
Hayes uses various techniques to further transcend the printed page. One such technique is his use of onomatopoeia in works such as "a boomboomboom" in "Hip Logic" or "You want [beatbox beatbox beatbox] / Breathlessness" in "emcee." `"The Gulf Stream" / Four Studies' provides a second technique - here, each of the four studies rely upon a different technique to carry the poem. "I. Homer / Apparition" utilizes staggered spacing, "II. Fishmonger / Libation" is characterized by the repetition of "To the." "III. The Sea / Temptation" uses constant italicization and "IV. Self Portrait / Vision" relies upon the careful use of indentations to punctuate the language with a well-tuned aesthetic impact.
The forms of the poems, from broken villanelles and sestinas to poems created by weaving the rules of anagrams into the poetic framework of the piece, to "Sonnet," a poem where one line: "We sliced the watermelon into smiles" is repeated fourteen times to form the sonnet, facilitate this reborn awareness by jarring the reader's logic and offering a new, "Hip Logic" in its stead, as do the repeated imagery of water and paint, of blue, of oceans, of the fluidity of life and the persistent reality of oppression. All intertwine to push past the standard of poetic expression to propel the work, its words and rhythms, into a fresh sphere of personal expression through poetic rebirth and deepened understandings-through "The Law of Falling & Catching Up."