American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poets)

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9780143133186: American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poets)
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Finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

One of the New York Times Critics' Top Books of 2018

A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America's most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award-winning author of Lighthead

"Sonnets that reckon with Donald Trump's America." -The New York Times


In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country's past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered--the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning.

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About the Author:

Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books are Wind In a Box, Hip Logic, and Muscular Music. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship. How To Be Drawn, his most recent collection of poems, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award and received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

Sometimes the father almost sees looking
At the son, how handsome he'd be if half
His own face was made of the woman he loved.
He almost sees in his boy's face, an openness
Like a wound before it scars, who he was
Long before his name was lost, the trail
To his future on earth long before he arrived.
To be dead & alive at the same time.
A son finds his father handsome because
The son can almost see how he might
Become superb as the scar above a wound.
And because the son can see who he was
Long before he had a name, the trace of
His future on earth long before he arrived.

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