Robert Hayden was an American essayist, poet and educator who was born on 4th August 1913 in Detroit, Michigan, United States as Bundy Sheffey and later changed his name. Hayden served as a consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from the year 1976 to 1978 as a role known as US Poet Laureate. In his early life, Hayden had spent his majority of childhood with his foster parents, Willian Hayden and Sue Ellen Westerfield. Witnessing frequent physical and verbal bouts between his foster parents during his childhood had resulted him to experience spurred periods of debilitating depression. He found solace in writing, embracing his passions for literary genres. He joined Wayne State University after finishing high school. In 1936, he dropped out of school to work for the Federal Writers’ Project and Hayden spent time at this position researching African American history and tradition, subjects that would both influence and influence his literary writing.
Robert Hayden examined poetry at the University of Michigan and then lectured at Fisk University and Michigan University. Hayden also was one of the most well-known African-American authors of his time, with masterpieces such as “The Middle Passage” and “Those Winter Sundays” surviving the passage of time. At the age of twenty-seven, he published his first book of poems, Heart-Shape in the Dust, in 1940. He joined in the University of Michigan’s graduate English literature degree, where he learned under W. H. Auden. In the evolution of Hayden’s writing, Auden became an essential critique advisor. Hayden respected the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, such as Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer and Countee Cullen as well as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Hart Crane, Elinor Wiley and Carl Sandburg. He was interested by African American culture and used his writing to emphasize his concerns about racism. Hayden’s poetry received worldwide fame in the 1960s and his book Ballad of Remembrance received the grand prize for poems at the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, in 1966. While his views on social issues tainted his career, they did not prevent him from obtaining critical success or scholarly esteem and had also received numerous awards for his poems. In 1975, he was admitted into the American Academy of Poets. He became the first African American to function as the Library of Congress’ poetry consultant a year later, in 1976, a post that was eventually renamed “poet laureate.”
Robert Hayden poetry analysis can be reflected through the lines and can be seem mourning of all but the most basic of emotional content, certainly any type of emotions that can be characterized as powerful or excessive, the tone is courteous and even reluctantly praiseworthy. Where is the emotion in phrases as ordinary and plain as “Sundays too my father got up early” and “No one ever thanked him,” one would wonder. Those lines are not full of lightning and thunder but rejecting their significance leads to an interpretation of the poem as a wholly negative and destructive reflection of an absent parent. Hayden married Erma Morris in 1940 and released his first book, Heart-Shape in the Dust, after leaving the Federal Writers’ Project in 1938. Raised as a Baptist, he changed to the Baha Faith with his spouse in the early 1940s and nurtured his daughter, Maia in the same faith. Hayden rose to prominence as one of the most well-known Baha poets. Erma Hayden performed as a musical director in Nashville public schools and was a composer and pianist. Hayden worked under W. H. Auden for his master’s degree where he emphasized on problems of poetic form, method, and creative discipline. The mechanical pith of Hayden’s lyric shows Auden’s inspiration.
Hayden began to produce and publish poetry during his days as a professor, subsequently being one of the country’s best African-American poet. His writings commonly used his boyhood neighbourhood, Paradise Valley, to emphasize the suffering of African Americans. Hayden utilized black vernacular language, building on his expertise with the Federal Writers’ Project and his own expertise. He had spoken openly about social matters, such as the Vietnam War. Slavery and independence were an earlier practice, as demonstrated by poems like “Frederick Douglass.” William Meredith, a poet, defined Hayden’s career identity as follows: “When there was a moment and there was a considered intractable divide between the two positions, Hayden identified himself an American poet rather than just a Black poet, at a substantial loss in prestige. There is not a single statement of his that is not about a Black American perspective, up till now he would not give up the title of American writer for a far more limited identity.” In his lifetime, Hayden published nine volumes of poetry as well as a collection of short stories, essay and some children’s stories.
Hayden’s work had a wide range of perspectives and methods despite the fact that he wrote in conventional poetry genres. Robert G. O’Meally in the Washington Post Book World expressed that Hayden is a poet of several voices using variations of sardonic black common speech and a minimal, exuberant poetry diction in order to grab and chill his listeners. He constructs lifelike individuals while converting historical cardinal lines and timeless truths into extreme action and signifier. Turco stated that h His work is unconstrained in many ways not the least from which being the wide variety of methods open to him. It also helps him to leap with his thoughts and explore throughout human behaviour. Mann expressed that Hayden’s poetry were formal in an unconventional, organic way, strict but not simple and that they already had a hard-edged specificity of line that shapes what the intellect chose to produce in visually fine-chiselled fragmental verses that fit flush together with rightness of an image mystery. Hayden’s increasing with each succeeding volume of poem until, in 1976, when he was selected as a Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, he was largely considered as one of the country’s greatest poets.
When discussing his own lives or the lives of his people, critics frequently remark to Hayden’s remarkable idea of mixing the political and the personal. Gary Zebrun contended in Obsidian: Black Literature in Review new security speaker’s speech in Hayden’s best work contrivances and writhes its way out of anguish in trying to notify, or sing, narratives of American history in specific, the fearless and plaintive career high of Afro-American history and to fact sheet the poet’s own thoughts and emotions. Hayden is relentless in his pursuit of transcending, which must not be misconstrued for an escape from world history horrors or the solitude of individual existence but as an advance that changes the horror into a glorious solidity. He was professor at Indiana State University in 1967 and an able to visit poet at the University of Washington in 1969, Dennison University in 1972 the University of Connecticut in 1971and Connecticut College in 1974, in addition to his administrative duties at Fisk. Hayden could never understand Black secession as a devotee of his religion’s beliefs on humanity’s togetherness. As a result, Words in the Mourning Time’s title poetry concludes with a passionate cry in the behalf of all humanity.
Hayden was one of ten famous Twentieth Century American Poets featured on a pane of stamps released by the United States Postal Service in 2012. He was awarded the Academy of American Poets Fellowship in 1975 and in 1976 he was designated as the first Black American poet counsellor to the Library of Congress, subsequently known as the laureate. On February 25, 1980 he died in Ann Arbor, Michigan.