Few critics have given Robert Hayden’s poetry the careful reading it deserves and demands. As a result, his work has almost inevitably been misinterpreted and misunderstood. A more significant result is that the dramatic tension in his work has often been mistaken for personal ambivalence and confusion with regard to both his ethnic identity and his beliefs as a Bahá’í. However, an accurate and careful reading of his work in light the unmistakably clear allusions in poetry to his beliefs as a Bahá’í reveal neither ambivalence nor confusion, but a clear pattern of consolation that unites both of these points of view.
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Copyright © 1990 John S. Hatcher