Correspondence between Terrance Hayes and Paul Mennes
The Post Gazette Covers City Of Asylum Pittsburgh’s Exchange
For the first time this summer, City of Asylum created an exchange with Passa Porta, a literary organization in Brussels. It brought Paul Mennes, a Belgian writer, here and delivered Terrance Hayes, a National Book Award poet from Pittsburgh, to Brussels.
The two men exchanged letters about their experiences, and Henry Reese, co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, shared them with the Post-Gazette. Each writer anticipated that the other would be disappointed with his city.
“Just as you feared I’d find Brussels provincial, I feared you’d find Pittsburgh small and uninteresting,” Mr. Hayes wrote after their meeting.
“I didn’t expect much of Pittsburgh,” wrote Mr. Mennes. “The city has a reputation. … Someone described your home as ‘hell without a lid.’
The letters were published Friday in a Belgian newspaper, Standaard der Letteren and in the Post-Gazette online version.
Read also Diana Nelson Jones’ City Walkabout published yesterday in the Post-Gazette printed version.