Hayes graduated from Coker in 1994, where he was a standout student-athlete excelling in the classroom and on the basketball court as a member of the Cobra men’s team. An Academic All-American selection in 1994, Hayes is a talented and gifted writer. He received the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry for his book Lighthead, is his fourth collection of poetic works.
Hayes’ previous poetry collection, Wind in a Box, was named one of the Best 100 Books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. His other books of poetry are Hip Logic, which won the National Poetry Series Open Competition and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and Muscular Music, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His other honors include a Pushcart Prize, three Best American Poetry selections, a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Currently, he is a professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and lives with his family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.