“Derik Smith has written an important and original work of scholarship with implications for how we read the last half-century of African American poetry. The book achieves both the critical intimacy of focused work on a single subject and the more sweeping significance of a book that aims to define an age. After reading Robert Hayden in Verse, the canonical accounts of the period no longer suffice. This is a book pulsing with vitality, both in its lively prose and in its tenor of critical engagement.”
—Adam Bradley, author of Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip-Hop
“Makes important contributions to the discourse on Hayden, Black poetry studies, and contemporary African American poetry. Readers familiar only with Hayden’s anthologized poems will find the close readings of other poems particularly useful. It also provides arguably the most in-depth treatment of the importance of Hayden’s Bahá’í Faith.”
—Howard Rambsy II, author of The Black Arts Enterprise and the Production of African American Poetry
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