Dear Terrance Hayes,

My name is David and I am a freshman in high school. With it being Poetry Month, our class has been listening and watching readings of poets’ poems, and your “Barberism” poem was one that we saw. Reading the poem back to myself, I know that I life it; even though I don’t fully understand it.

Over the last couple of days, I have been writing poems. Not for school, but on my own accord. I find myself writing poems by starting with a random title that comes to mind, and then seeing a picture in my head that I structure the entire poem from. From there, it all just spills from my mind. Was this a similar case to your creation of “Barberism”? Or, any poem for that matter? The narrator covers his father-in-law as well as his son; was this inspired by your own life? Or did you have a vision? I have found that many of the poems I free form have direct relations to thoughts or feelings on what is happening in my life. How much time is spent on a poem? Do you look back on poems and wish to change them? How long do you tinker with a poem to adjust it after you’ve first finished it? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, but I have never known what is a typical process for poets.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this. I don’t expect all my questions to be answered, as that may take a hefty letter’s response, but a response of any will be satisfactory.

Best regards,

Grade 9
Danbury, Connecticut

read more 2018 dear poet letters