Who Is Terrance Hayes's 'Barberism'?

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Terrance Hayes’s “Barberism” is a poem that reflects on the relationship between a speaker and his father-in-law. The speaker deliberately uses descriptions of the senses to aid the reader in envisioning the scene of the poem; a barber cutting his client’s hair. It is through the speaker’s careful choice of words that the reader is capable of picking up the tone of the poem and empathizing with the speaker. The speaker uses the relationship of a barber and his client in comparison to the relationship that he has with his father-in-law. The first and foremost thing that a reader will notice about Terrance Hayes’s poem is the title. The title is a play on the term barbarism, which according to the Oxford Dictionary is “an absence of culture and civilization.” The title is the reader’s first impression of what the poem will be about is that the job of a barber is in some way uncultured and…show more content…
For whatever reason the father-in-law may have the speaker of the poem acknowledges that he may be responsible for his wife’s passing. When sharing this poem, I can only imagine that Terrence Hayes wanted to stress the importance of family. The dead space between the speaker and the father-in-law resonates a feeling of sorrow with the reader and enforces the idea that you should remain united with the people you love. The comparison of a barber cutting his clients hair in relation to his relationship with an immediate family member is a sad way to see your family. In human civilizations and in just about all cultures, the importance of family is in some way stressed as being a top priority. The relationship between a father and son should no be entirely based off of the physical interaction between them, and bond is also made spiritually. Family makes a person stronger and to deny or turn your back on your family can in a way be seen as an “absence of culture or
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