CBR11BINGO: Not My Wheelhouse (BINGO! I Love This! corner to Award Winner corner)
I read across a lot of genres, but I haven’t read poetry since I was in college a million years ago. Taking “Not My Wheelhouse” to mean something that I’m curious about but don’t tend to pick up, I landed on a poetry. I also landed on a poet who is not my wheelhouse. BlackRaven reviewed this a while back and said it best, I think: “I am sorry to say, I am probably not the target audience. And yet, everyone is the audience. ” Well said, BlackRaven.
This slim volume holds a lot. There are 70 poems all sharing the same title, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. Hayes wrote each poem during the first 200 days of the Trump Presidency and they are, in some part, his reaction to that. Hayes blends hip-hop, Greek mythology, Dr. Who and a multitude of literary and historical references (that I, shamefaced, had to Google often) into a whirlwind examination of America: “the land of a failed landlord with a people of color complex.”
His poems here are lyrical but in no way superfluous. Hayes bends language. That’s the best way that I can describe it. Just when you think you have figured out what he’s getting at, another read through turns up something else. It was refreshing to flex a particular intellectual muscle that I haven’t used in a long while. I’m sure that a thousand different people could write more intelligently about this book of poetry than I can. I just know that his words will stay with me a lot longer than it took me to read them.