Watch Your Language: Visual and Literary Reflections on a Century of American Poetry

Terrance Hayes
Published in 2023
by Penguin Books

In this collection of essays, award-winning poet Terrance Hayes offers a road map to poetic reading and interpretation, shining a light on the influential works of African American poets. Each of the six sections are titled with provocative questions, such as, “How old is contemporary poetry?” and “How many of your muses rest in peace?” The mix of illustrated micro-essays, graphic book reviews, biographical prose poems, and nonfiction sketches by Hayes enrich the reading experience and imagination of readers. Through personal essays laced with challenging questions, Hayes guides readers through the literary landscape of contemporary poetry so that they can map their own routes. “Like any guidebook, this book should leave the curious reader with more questions than answers,” writes Hayes in the preface.   


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