Pitt poets finalists for National Book Award


Terrence Hayes' book "How to Be Drawn" has been nominated for a National Book Award. Heather Tennant | Staff Photographer

By Jack Trainor / Culture Editor

Pitt is well represented in this year’s 20 National Book Award finalists.

Pitt English professor Terrance Hayes was nominated Wednesday for his assortment of linguistic and investigative poems, “How to Be Drawn,” published by Penguin Books in March.   

Ross Gay, another Pittsburgh poet, was also nominated for his “Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude,” which the University of Pittsburgh Press published in January.    

This is Hayes’ second nomination for the award, which only one other finalist of the 20 has achieved — Young People’s Literature genre author Steve Sheinkin. He won the award in 2010 for his previous poetry collection, “Lighthead.” Hayes was also a guest editor for the 2014 edition of the annual “Best American Poetry” series, which collects the best contemporary American poetry of each year.

Speaking about winning The National Book Award for “Lighthead” in a 2010 interview with The Pitt News, Hayes credited his professors for his continued interest and success in writing.

“I remember my three poetry professors: Ed Ochester, Lynn Emanuel and Toi Derricotte,” he said. “They were three distinct poets and teachers. Each was encouraging and engaging. I try to be a poet that combines all they taught me about mind, body and spirit.”

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