Al Poulin Jr.
Read the Transcript of the Interview (228 KB)
Hayden talks about being a poor teenager in Detroit trying to write poems like Cullen and Hughes and about his later shift away from specifically African American themes. He sees a parallel between his life and Yeats's life as an Irish poet; both worked to not be limited by their heritages. Hayden uses folk motifs drawn from his own experiences, but seeks inspiration from other sources as well. Hayden bemoans the fact that African American poetry is often treated as sociological writing instead of as literature, and notes a continuation of the "literary ghetto" that African American writing has long been consigned to. Works discussed include "Words in the Morningtime," "Full Moon," Selected Poems, How I Write, and Kaleidoscope. Works read include "A Ballad of Remembrance," "Those Winter Sundays," "Night Death in Mississippi," "Electrical Storm," "Belsen, Day of Liberation," "Sub Specie Aeternitatis," and "Frederick Douglass."
Date of Forum
Length of Video
Hayden, Robert and Poulin, Al Jr., "Robert Hayden: 03-03-1975" (1975). Writers Forum Videos. Video 38.