Episode 42

Robert Hayden, Frederick Douglass


February 23rd, 2022

17 mins 58 secs

Season 4

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About this Episode

To read Hayden's poem, click here.

Thanks to W.W. Norton & Company for granting us permission to read this poem. Reginald Dwayne Betts's introduction to the Collected Poems of Robert Hayden is very moving, as is the afterword by Arnold Rampersad.

For a series of insightful observations about Hayden's sonnet, see Ross Gay, Aracelis Girmay, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Patrick Rosal, and Ira Sadoff, "Poets Respond: A Discussion of "Frederick Douglass" by Robert Hayden." American Poetry Review, 38.3 (2009): 25-28.

For a helpful close reading of the poem, see Fred M. Fetrow, "Robert Hayden's 'Frederick Douglass': Form and Meaning in a Modern Sonnet." CLA Journal 17.1 (September 1973): 78-84.