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Hayes Betts

For Immediate Release:

Date: September 15, 2011
Contact: Carla Du Pree
Phone: 443.518.4568
Fax: 443.518.4153
Email: hocopolitso@yahoo.com

HoCoPoLitSo Presents

“The Promise of Poetry with Terrance Hayes and Tara Betts”

HoCoPoLitSo, Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, will open its 37th season with The Lucille Clifton Poetry Series with “The Promise of Poetry with poets Terrance Hayes and Tara Betts” on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 7:30 p.m., in the Monteabaro Recital Hall, the Horowitz Performing & Visual Arts Center, on the campus of Howard Community College.  Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and students with valid student ID.

Contemporary poets Hayes and Betts will read and discuss their work followed by a question and answer period.  A reception, book sale and signing will follow.

For ticket purchases send a check payable and mailed to HoCoPoLitSo, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Duncan Hall-239, Columbia, MD 21044. Credit card orders accepted at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/189722.  For more information visit and become a fan of HoCoPoLitSo on Facebook, phone 443.518.4568, or email information@hocopolitso.org.

Student, teacher and writer, Hayes was stunned when he learned he had won the 2010 National Book Award for his 4th poetry collection Lighthead. Hayes’ poems are “drawn to and from the well of history,” he says. “I’m interested in the relationship between private, local history and broader, cultural history. Metaphor is a wonderful tool … It shrinks the distance between the past and the present, us and them, you and me.”

An accomplished athlete and scholar, poet and artist, Hayes came to poetry after a growing concern about the
African-American culture. Muscular Music was his first poetry collection, focusing on the dominant culture’s impact on African-American identity. Black Issues Review called this work “an original, provocative read” which speaks to an “evolving male self.” The promise of his first book won Hayes the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.  Hip Logic, selected as a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, pays tribute to Robert Hayden, among others, and playfully redefines traditional poetic forms, while the cover sports an original painting. Fanny Howe says “Terrance Hayes knows why a poem stops; why it turns; why it laughs and sits down….” His third collection Wind in a Box deemed him an adventurous “poet in love with poetry,” writes Goodreads.

Hayes is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, among others. “God bless the rage in us,’ Terrance Hayes affirms. “It’s how we know each other, “ writes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Ashbery.

Of Hayes poetry, Cornelius Eady has said: “First you’ll marvel at his skill, his near-perfect pitch, his disarming humor, his brilliant turns of phrase. Then you’ll notice the grace, the tenderness, the unblinking truth-telling just beneath his lines, the open and generous way he takes in our world.”  Hayes currently teaches creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University.

Celebrated Cave Canem fellow Tara Betts, whose debut collection is Arc and Hue, has been featured and is highly noted for her compelling readings and discussions at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Betts, a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award, twice represented Chicago at the National Poetry Slam. “A true champion of poets,” she calls herself. Betts was named one of Essence Magazines “40 favorite Poets.” Betts has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the Black Family Channel series Spoken with Jessica Care Moore, and has performed around the world.

“A poet for the people,” writes theDefendersOnline. Betts “creates a disturbing narrative of poverty that might just express more about class in a few lines of verse than an entire scholarly book ever could.” Poet Afaa Michael Weaver proclaims, “The arc and hue of Betts’ aesthetic is an infinite compassion, where hope lives.”

Her work has been published in several literary journals and anthologies. Betts is an active promoter of literacy and empowering girls. She is the cofounder of GirlSpeak, a writing and leadership workshop for young women, and is recognized for her work in the schools, community centers, Ms. Foundation, and was one of the writers performing in girlstory, an intergenerational, multi-cultural women’s performance collective. She currently teaches creative writing at Rutgers University, and has coached and mentored teen writers in the Brave New Voices and Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry series. Martin Espada says, “Tara Betts is a poet who pays exquisite attention to the world. It’s high time the world repaid the favor.”

HoCoPoLitSo, Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, has been enlarging the audience for contemporary poetry and literature since 1974.

HoCoPoLitSo is supported by the Howard County Arts Council through a grant from Howard County government, the Maryland State Arts Council through the State of Maryland and the Department of Business and Economic Development, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Columbia Foundation, Howard County General Hospital: a member of Johns Hopkins medicine, and Friends of HoCoPoLitSo.

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