To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight
Author: Terrance Hayes
Publisher: Wave Books (2018)
In these works based on his Bagley Wright lectures on the poet Etheridge Knight, Terrance Hayes offers not quite a biography but a compilation “as speculative, motley, and adrift as Knight himself.” Personal yet investigative, poetic yet scholarly, this multi-genre collection of writings and drawings enacts one poet’s search for another and in doing so constellates a powerful vision of black literature and art in America.
"As is the case throughout Hayes’s work, To Float in the Space Between is a meditation on family; from the first, Hayes has fingered the grain of black families, whether linked by blood or duty or sexual tension or aesthetic kinship. “To Float” movingly bridges these concerns... The 19 sections in Hayes’s book take their titles and focus from phrases in Knight’s most celebrated poem, “The Idea of Ancestry.” Thus this collection offers a deep textural (as opposed to textual) encounter between two important and mercurial minds."
"Working in a kind of essayistic confessional style, Hayes considers political poetry, black masculinity, the end of marriage, absent biological fathers, the affections that fathers hold for sons, the beginning of love, kinship, and dream song. At each turn, one feels Knight pulsing in Hayes’ self-interrogations."
Winner of the Poetry Foundation's Pegasus Award in Poetry Criticism
Finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism