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Books

Robert Hayden on JSTOR Daily

For JSTOR Daily, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I wrote about a new book on Robert Hayden that illuminates his relationship to the Black Arts Movement. Many people know that Hayden was once accused of being an “Uncle Tom” because he said he didn’t want to be known as a “black writer.” I’ve written about this before in a Poetry Foundation essay on “Middle Passage.” I admit, I still wondered if the whole controversy was overblown, and if we would ever get past talking about it in relation to Robert Hayden’s work. However, I saw a video of Hayden at the Brockport Writers Forum in 1975 that made me realize how deeply Hayden was affected by all of this. In Derik Smith’s new book Robert Hayden in Verse: New Histories of African American Poetry and the Black Arts Era, he convincingly argues that this controversy, which started at a conference at Fisk University in 1966, was actually an important discussion about art and politics, and that Hayden should be read as part of the Black Arts Movement, despite, and even because of, his disagreements with some artists in the movement.

Read “Robert Hayden’s Relatable Fatigue” on JSTOR Daily.

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Books New York

Samuel R. Delany’s “Atlantis: Model 1924” and the Origins of Blackness

I have a new post up on the Modernism/modernity blog “The Discipline” (edited by Laura Heffernan). “Samuel R. Delany’s Atlantis: Model 1924 and the Origins of Blackness.”

delany atlantis

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Books

Podcast on Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage”

hayden
Robert Hayden c. 1958

Curtis Fox at Poetry Foundation invited me to do a Poetry Off the Shelf podcast on Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage.” We listened to excerpts from Hayden’s reading of the poem and talked about some of the details.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/audioitem/5448

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Books

Life Upon These Shores: Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage”

hayden

My latest essay, “Life Upon These Shores,” an analysis of Robert Hayden’s poem “Middle Passage,” has just been posted on the Poetry Foundation site.  Click over there and check it out.