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April 11, 1980 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-04-11

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, April 11, 1980-Page 7
U-M prof lives on in poetry

i
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BY DOUGLAS FELTNER
The recent death of Robert Hayden
*arks the end of a long poetic journey
that had some of its beginnings here at
Michigan when he won the Hopwood
Award for poetry in 1938 and again in
1942. Hayden was remembered by his
family and friends in a memorial
program held at the Michigan League
Ballroom last Saturday afternoon. The
program featured prayers from the
writings of Baha'u'llah, the prophet of
the Bahaii faith, remembrances, some
*usical pieces and several of Hayden's
poems.
The poet Michael Harper, a close
friend of Hayden's, read "The Year of
The Child", a poem 'written for
Hayden's grandson, and "The Night-
Blooming Cereus" a poem that Harper,
in a separate interview, said "opens up
vistas of consideration . .. religious,
personal."
"He touched ,many, many people in
very singular ways," Harper commen-
d. "I loved and admired his poetry
'ven before I met him here in 1970. As a
poet, he had his powers even in his 60's

and that's unusual. I think he had more
left to say."
HARPER CALLED Hayden's poem
"Those Winter Sundays," one of three
poems read at the program by Alexan-

dra Aldridge, an example of Hayden's
ability to resurrect historical poetical
forms and to speak through them. "At
the same time," Harper said, "it
crystallized a moment of his historic
and personal past."
Hayden uses even, measured
language in the poem, filling it with
sound that heightens the effect of the
images. "Sundays too my father got up
early/and put his clothes on in the
blueblack cold,/then with cracked han-
ds that ached/from labor in the week-
day weather made/banked fires blaze.
No one ever thanked him." While a hint
of social criticism may exist in "No one
ever thanked him," the poem is chiefly
a quiet reminiscence - a love poem.
Hayden recalls his father's love for him
and understands it more fully in
retrospect. He asks, "What did I know,
what did I know/of loves austere and
,lonely offices?"
In "Frederick Douglass", also read
by Aldridge, Hayden elegizes both the
great black leader and the drive for
freedom that Douglass embodied. The
poem, written circa 1944, immediately

Robert Hayden

GRIFFIN AND COLE

Boptill you drop!

The winter jazz season in Ann Arbor
is far from finished. Two of the
foremost proponents of the bebop sax
tradition, veteran Johnny Griffin and
new hope Richie Cole; will bring their
respective groups to the Michigan
Theatre tomorrow, April 12, for one
show at 8: 00 p.m.
'This is Johnny Griffin's first local ap-
qarance since he stole the show at the
978 Jazz Festival and, if his recent
recorded output is any indication,
should at least be equally thrilling.
Griffin's career stretches back to
Lionel Hampton's big band of the for-
ties and has included gigs with
luminaries such as John Coltrane,
Hank Mobley and Thelonious Monk.
AFTER A fifteen year hiatus in
Europe, Johnny Griffin returned
triumphantly, touring with fellow for-
er expatriate Dexter Gordon. The
dimunitive Griffin and long, lanky Dex-
ter worked together beautifully in con-
trast, spurring each other on to fresh
peaks in swinging solos and tight inter-
play. Griffin is now touring with his own
quartet, including Ronnie Matthews on
piano, Ray Drummond on bass, and
session vet Idris Muhammed.
While Johnny Griffin has stalwartly
upheld the standard of hard bop, New
Jersey-born alto saxophonist Richie
ole has breathed new life into it. After
serving a musical internship (as
featured soloist) with the Buddy Rich
Big Band in the sixties, Cole struck out
on his own. He is perhaps best known
for his long and fruitful collaboration
with the great jazz vocalist Eddie Jef-
ferson. Cole led Jefferson's band
throughout his mid-seventies resurgen-
ce until the scat master's tragic death
in 1979. Cole's current group, "Alto
adness," should enhance their
treaders' already solid reputation. Plen-
ty of good seats are still available and
probably will be up until show time.
Bop lives!

lets the audience know that that
freedom has not been attained yet. The
repetition of similarly constructed
phrases 'creates an insistent tone that
forces the reader to feel the need for
that freedom himself. "When it is
finally ours, this fredom, this liberty
this beautiful/and terrible thing, need-
ful to man as air. .. when it is finally
won .. . this man/shall be remem-
bered. . . with the lives grown out of
his life, the lives/fleshing his dream of
the beautiful, needful thing."
The music for the program was selec-
ted by Hayden's wife Erma. Included in
that music was a performance of the
poem "In Memorium" by the bass
vocalist Willis Patterson. Patterson's
clear, strong voice resounded through
the ballroom, leaving much of the
audience nodding their heads in ap-
proval. The poem was written by Paul
Lawrence Dunbar, a poet who Hayden
admired greatly.
One poem that was not read during
the service was the heavily an-
thologized "Middle Passages." The
poem, one of Hayden's longest,
recreates the voyage of a slave trader
from Africa to the United States along
with the subsequent rebellion of the
slaves. The poem presents an account
of man's inhumanity to man. The
decrepit conditions that the slaves in
the hold must endure are described
with language that is vivid in detail. "A
charnel stench, effluvium of living
death/spread outward from the hold,/
where the living and the dead, the
horribly dying,/lie interlocked, lie foul
with blood and excrement."
The poem is a '"voyage through
death" characterized by everything
that is evil in men: lust, greed, and
"unlove." But the poem does not end in
death, for this death, this history of
black suffering, is only a "Middle
Passage" between two lives. The first
is, of course, Africa before the days of
the slave traders. The second may be
the .Baha'i heaven, or America infused
with the freedom that is twice
described as "The deep immortal
human wish,/the timeless will . ..
The figure of Cinquez, the black African
prince who led the revolt, becomes a
symbol for the freedom struggled for by
the Afro-American race.
Gordon Mitchell, Secretary for the
National Spiritual Assembly of the
Baha's of the United States who gave
the other remembrance at the
program, may have had "Middle
Passage" in mind when he said that
Hayden's "verses reflect the pain of
black people, but appeal to all people."
Hayden tried to appeal to everyone
with his poetry. He discussed his poetic
philosophy in "Interviews with Black
Writers." He said, "I am convinced
that if poets have any calling, function,
raison d'etre beyond the attempt to
produce viable poems - and that in it-
self is more than enough - it is to af-
firm the humane, the universal, the
potentially divine in the human
creature."
He did. just that with a poetic voice
that rose out of his personal experien-
ces and the experiences of his Afro-
American race and stretched beyond
them, touching all of us.

764-5418 or 662-4567

Public invited!

The Ann Ar r Film Cooperet Presents at MLB: $1.50
Friday, April 11
VIP MY BROTHER SUPERMAN
(Bruno Bozzetto, 1968) 7 & 10:20-MLB 4
A satirical and humorous take-off on all classic "superhero" stories, Super
Vip and Mini Vip, two brothers, stumble upon an evil plot for world domina-
tion, engineered by a warped female tycoon named Happy Betty. The two
famous brothers manage to protect humanity against aggression and carry off
the girls they love in triumph. Great fun from the creator of Allegro Non Toppo.
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH
(Chuck Jones, 1970) -:40-MLB 4
A San Francisco youth disillusioned with reality, journeys into the fantastical
present, engaging in a fantasy world of letters, numbers, sound and music. A
highly entertaining animated feature. Directed by Chuck Jones and Bugs Bunny
and Road Runner fame.
Tomorrow: Woody Allen's EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW
ABOUT SEX-BUT WERE AFIfAID TO ASK and Martin Ritt's THE FRONT, star-
ring Woody Allen at MLB 3.
Also showing tomorrow: Ken Russel's WOMEN IN LOVE at MLB 4.
Next Wednesday: Robert DeNiro in THE DEER HUNTER at Aud. A, 6:30 and
9:30.

ANN ARBOR
POW WOjW
Featuring: Traditional Native American dances,
dance contests, booths for arts and crafts & food.
APRIL 12 & 13
Saturday - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Sunday - 2 p.m.
Huron- High School
Donations: Adults - $3.00, Students (with I.D.) - $2.00
Children (12 and under) - $ .75

Bebop saxophonist Johnny Griffin, appearing at the Michigan theatre with
fellow reedman Richie -Cole. If you think bop began and ended with Charlie
Parker (or even Dexter Gordon) you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

U U

C4MPk4MARAC
Good Summer jobs still
available at Brighton
and Ortonville, MI.
IntealewingApr. 17
SUMMER PLACEMENT
Call 764-7456
for appointment
Open house for 1980
staff, 7:30 pm Hillel
Fresh Air Soci
6600 W. Maple Rd.
W. Bloomfield, MI 48033
313/661-0600
Call or write for further °
information

This Summer
Earn College Credits in
New York City
at
eSOS

I

'.

_ l

This summer come to New York and
study in Greenwich Village, at a
school famous in the art world as well
as in a city world famous as a cultural
and art center.
Parsons School of Design offers a
series of summer courses designed for
college students who wish to supple-
ment their art studies. These courses
are taught by some of New York's
most distinguished professionals and
run from July 7th thru August 1st,
Monday thru Thursday. They allow
students ample time to see how theory
is put to practical application in the
great arts capital of New York. Each

Dormitory space and scholarships
are available.
For more information on courses,
registration and accommodations
mail the coupon below or call
(212) 741-8975.

&he
IseIgsd
is preserved on

Courses of study include:
Drawing
Painting
Graphic Design
Illustration
Environmental Design
Photography
Fashion Design

I

I nrPrriC d A P~tc I 1 0

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