Carol Forsloff–Robert Hayden one of America’s most famous poets is being honored by the United States post office for his poetry with a 45 cent stamp issued to recognize his achievements.. This honor recognizes the contribution of this African-American man, who preferred to be known as an American and representative of some of America’s best literature. His poetry has universal appeal, for his philosophy expands beyond the borders of his native country to embrace the world.
This gifted poet began his life in poverty in a ghetto in Detroit, Michigan, according to his biography. He was raised by his parents and eventually a foster family and struggled valiantly to move forward in his life, through periods of depression. After securing a scholarship, Hayden attended Detroit city College, later obtaining a Master’s degree at the University of Michigan. There he studied under the famous literary giant W. H. Auden. He went on to become a university professor in the area of literature.
Hayden’s first poetic works was called Heart-Shaped in the Dust, published in 1940. His second important work, The Lion and the Archer, was widely celebrated as one of America’s best. Many of his poems received major prizes for poetry at festivals around America. In 1976, he was designated consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a title later called poet laureate.
The background and context for much of Hayden’s great works comes from his deep appreciation for the larger world of humanity. His vision goes beyond the provincial to embrace that element of man common to us all. His spiritual guidance comes from his religious beliefs within the Baha’i Faith. That religion focuses on the universality of spiritual message and all of mankind as brothers sharing a common purpose to celebrate the oneness of man.
With the honor bestowed upon Hayden by the United States post office comes the recognition of this great man’s service to the United States and to all those who love poetry and believe in the values of the spirit from which such great works arise.