What is not to love about a title called: American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin? It screams out “I am different” and “Please read me.” I was excited to dive into the seventy different poems. April is poetry month, so this was the perfect time to start. I then realized that every one of the poems all have the same title (American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin). Different, but not impossible, I figured.
Ah… I am sorry to say, I am probably not the target audience. And yet, everyone is the audience.
How is that possible? Terrance Hayes explores themes we all can understand: being American, love and just people in general. All poems are in the sonnet format. Some of the current and historical events he speaks about, I personally missed. However, the well-read, news-informed reader will pick up on them. The poems were written in the first two hundred days of Trump’s presidency. And Hayes’ feelings on the subject are very clear.
Hayes mixes the past and present; the good and not-so-good and the truly bad. His language is all colors and shapes and tastes when reading. The words can be sharp to your minds-tongue and they can be smooth. You feel something, even if you are not completely sure what that is. The words of Hayes can be dense at times.
Even though anyone could read this, does not mean everyone should. The new to poetry or someone who is not a fan of poetry should not pick this as their first fore into the poetic world.