Terrance Hayes, a poet and professor at Carnegie Mellon University, won the National Book Award earlier this week. Here, he reads a poem from his award-winning volume called "Lighthead."
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And finally tonight: a poet who earlier this week won the National Book Award.
Terrance Hayes is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. His award-winning volume is titled "Lighthead."
Earlier this evening, he read a poem from that collection for us from a studio in Pittsburgh.
TERRANCE HAYES, 2010 National Book Award Winner: This is a poem I wrote in response to Hurricane Katrina, "Fish Head for Katrina."
"The mouth is where the dead
Who are not dead do not dream
A house of damaged translations
Task married to distraction
As in a bucket left in a storm
A choir singing in the rain like fish
Acquiring air underwater
Prayer and sin the body
Performs to know it is alive
Lit from the inside by reckoning
As in a city
Which is no longer a city
The tongue reaching down a tunnel
And the teeth wet as windows
Set along the highway
Where the dead live in the noise
Of their shotgun houses
They drift from their wards
Like fish spreading thin as a song
Diminished by its own opening
Split by faith and soaked in it
The mouth is a flooded machine