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Keeping up with Terrance Hayes

The poet, professor, and MacArthur grant recipient on what it means to follow your bliss

Terrance Hayes '94 is often asked for advice. When you’re an award-winning poet teaching college classes in creative writing, it kind of comes with the territory.

His favorite response is short: “Follow your bliss.” It’s a popular Joseph Campbell quote, and those three simple words really resonate with Hayes. “If you do the thing you love, success will always follow,” he says. “Of course,” he adds, “you’ve got to really love it.”

At 11 p.m. on weeknights most people would be at home either sleeping or enjoying downtime after a long day at work.  Not Coker College Adult Learners Program for Higher Achievement (ALPHA) student Gloria Mack – she is in her professor’s office discussing a biology lesson.

“He stayed and patiently helped me understand the lesson to the point where I was the one suggesting it was getting late,” Mack says.

When Briana Lotan talks about musical theatre, she doesn’t have to tell you how much she loves it. One look at the way her face lights up says it clearly enough.