cover image Wind in a Box

Wind in a Box

Terrance Hayes, Author . Penguin $23 (95p) ISBN 978-0-14-30368

In this searching follow-up to the acclaimed Hip Logic , Hayes bluntly concludes that "everyone/ is a descendant of slaves" and, more tentatively, wonders "if outrunning your captors is not the real meaning of Race?" A series of "Blue" poems ("The Blue Bowie," "The Blue Terrance") considers 20th-century representations of race, culling wisdom and impressions from poet-activist Amiri Baraka, filmmaker and performer Melvin Van Peebles and even Dr. Seuss: "Blacks in one box. Blacks in two box/ Blacks on/ Blacks stacked in boxes stacked on boxes." Utilizing a range of forms and voices—Dante's terza rima, jerky blues in the spirit of Langston Hughes, Frostian lyrics, contemporary prose poems—Hayes brilliantly delivers the aeolian flux promised by the title: "a signature of wind,/ my type-written handwriting reconfiguring the past." (Apr.)