Robert Hayden (1913-80) and Dudley Randall (1914-2000) are two of Wayne State University’s most famous alumni. Through their poetry, they brought attention to the city of Detroit and the accomplishments of African American culture and history. In recognition of National Poetry Month, WSU will honor the Robert Hayden/Dudley Randall Centennial with several on-campus events April 2 and 3.
A symposium will be held from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2 at the WSU Law School’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, featuring roundtable discussions about the poets and their work. Film clips and conversations about The Black Unicorn: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press and a preview of Austere and Lonely Offices: The Poetry of Robert Hayden will be shown.
A stellar lineup of poets and scholars will discuss the works and impact of Robert Hayden and Dudley Randall on their own work and on American literature. Al Young, Melba Joyce Boyd, Frank Rashid, Todd Duncan, Laurence Goldstein, Frederick Glaysher, Tony Medina, Kevin Gaines, Terry Blackhawk, Bill Harris and jessica Care moore will each present their perspectives on the poets and engage in a roundtable discussion during the symposium.
A poetry reading will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 3 in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library’s Bernath Auditorium. Poets Naomi Long Madgett, Adrian Matejka, Caroline Maun, and M.L. Liebler will join the previous day’s panelists to recite poems and comment on personal and aesthetic connections to Hayden and Randall. Jazz bassist Marion Hayden will accompany Young and Boyd, the Magic Poetry Band will perform with Liebler, and students from the InsideOut Literary Arts Project will perform as part of this celebration.
Both events are free and open to the public, with receptions following each day’s activities. For more information, call 313-577-2321 or visit http://clasweb.clas.wayne.edu/haydenrandall100.
Cosponsors for the centennial celebration include: WSU’s Departments of Africana Studies, English, History, Urban Studies and Urban Planning, and Labor Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights in the WSU Law School; WSU Libraries; WSU’s Humanities Center; the King Chavez Parks Fund in the Office of the Graduate School; the WSU Academy of Scholars; WSU’s Office of the Vice President of Government and Community Affairs; Marygrove College’s Department of English and Modern Languages; and the Institute for Detroit Studies.
# # #
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students.
Al Young is a native Detroiter, and his many books have been widely translated. His poetry, fiction, essays, anthologies and musical memoirs have received many awards. From 2005 through 2008, he served as California’s poet laureate. Other honors include NEA, Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships; The Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence; and the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Award.
Adrian Matejka is the author of The Devil’s Garden, which won the 2002 New York New England Award, and Mixology, a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. His most recent book, The Big Smoke, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award and for the 2014 Grub Street Book Prize in Poetry. He is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Lannan Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Frederick Glaysher is the literary executor of the Hayden Estate. He studied writing under a private tutorial with Robert Hayden at the University of Michigan. The author or editor of several books, he edited Hayden’s Collected Prose and Collected Poems. Robert Hayden is a character in Glaysher’s epic poem, The Parliament of Poets, partly set at the lunar landing site of Apollo 11.
Bill Harris is a playwright, poet, critic and an emeritus professor of English from Wayne State University. He received the 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award. He formerly served as chief curator at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. His most recent publication is Booker T. & Them: A Blues.
Laurence Goldstein, editor of Robert Hayden: Essays on the Poetry (coeditor with Robert Chrisman, 2001) is professor of English at the University of Michigan. He is author or editor of several books on American poetry and poetics. His most recent publications are Writing Ann Arbor: A Literary Anthology and A Room in California.
Tony Medina, two-time winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, is the author/editor of 17 books for adults and young readers, including I and I, Bob Marley; My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (2011 Paterson Poetry Prize finalist); Broke on Ice; An Onion of Wars, The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems and Broke Baroque (2013 Julie Suk Award finalist). His poetry, essays and fiction appear in over 100 publications. The first professor of creative writing at Howard University, in 2013, Medina was awarded The Langston Hughes Society Award, the first African Voices Literary Award and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Frank D. Rashid is professor of English at Marygrove College, where he teaches American literature and Detroit literature. He is former chair of the English department and a founding member of the Institute for Detroit Studies. He has published essays on the poetry of Robert Hayden, Lawrence Joseph and Emily Dickinson and is editor of the online Literary Map of Detroit. He also researches and writes about Detroit history, culture and politics.
Terry Blackhawk is the author of six poetry collections, including Escape Artist, winner of the John Ciardi Prize, and The Light Between. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies as well as online at Verse Daily, Poetry Daily and The Collagist. She founded Detroit’s acclaimed writers-in-the-schools program, InsideOut Literary Arts Project in 1995, shortly before retiring as a creative writing and English teacher from Detroit Public Schools.
Naomi Long Madgett is the poet laureate of the City of Detroit. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Michigan Governors Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the Kresge Eminent Artist Award. She is professor emeritus from Eastern Michigan University, where she taught English. She is the publisher and editor of Lotus Press.
jessica Care moore is an internationally renowned poet/ publisher/ activist/ rock star/ playwright and actor. She is a five-time Showtime at the Apollo winner; has featured on hip-hop mega-star’s Nas’ Nastradamus album and was a returning star of Russell Simmon’s HBO Series, Def Poetry Jam. In 1997, she paved her own path and launched a publishing company of her own — Moore Black Press — which released her first book, The Words Don’t Fit In My Mouth, printing several thousand copies. A few years later, she followed up with her second collection of poetry and essays, The Alphabet Verses The Ghetto.
Todd Duncan is a lecturer in the English and Africana Studies departments at Wayne State University and teaches a seminar on Detroit writers, which includes a focus on the poetry of Robert Hayden and Dudley Randall. Duncan also conducts oral histories of Detroit natives and teaches a course on Detroit Old Timers.
Caroline Maun is an associate professor of English at Wayne State University.
She teaches creative writing and American literature and is the coordinator of creative writing. She is the editor of The Collected Poetry of Evelyn Scott and author of Mosaic of Fire: The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle. Her poetry publications include The Sleeping, What Remains and two chapbooks, Cures and Poisons and Greatest Hits.
Melba Joyce Boyd is a distinguished university professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Wayne State University. She is the convener of Hayden/Randall centennial events in metropolitan Detroit. Boyd is the author or editor of 13 books, nine of which are poetry. She received the 2013 Michigan Notable Book Award for her latest collection of poetry, Death Dance of a Butterfly; the 2010 Michigan Notable Book Award and 2010 Independent Publishers Award for Poetry for Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall; and the American Library Association’s Black Caucus Honor Award for Nonfiction for Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press.
Kevin Gaines is the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. He is author of Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture During the Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 1996), which was awarded the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association. His most recent book, American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era (UNC Press, 2006), was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.
M.L. Liebler is an internationally renowned Detroit poet, university professor, literary arts activist and arts organizer. He is the author of 13 books, including Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream (Wayne State University Press 2008), which won the Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence and The American Indie Book Award for 2009. He is founding director of The National Writer’s Voice Project in Detroit and the Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization. His literary anthology Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking Out the Jams (Coffee House Press 2010) received The Michigan Library Notable Book Award for 2011.