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Robert Hayden Portrait

Robert Hayden
4 August 1913 – 25 February 1980

was an American poet and educator.
He grew up in a Detroit ghetto nicknamed "Paradise Valley. Since he was a young boy, Hayden read so much to develop a proper sense of critic for literature.

He was raised as a Baptist, and later became a member of the Bahá'í Faith.
He is one of the best-known Bahá'í poets and his religion influenced much of his work.

Hayden was elected to the American Academy of Poets in 1975. From 1976 - 1978, Hayden was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, absolutely the first African American to hold that post.

"Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?"

Robert Hayden

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