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February 22, 1990 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-22

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Thursday, February 22, 1990
Poet Hayden



A S a young poet, poetry was for
him no doubt an escape, a release.
It was a way of discovery, discov-
ery of self and the world. It was too,
he often thought when older, the ex-
orcism of personal demons who
must leave the spirit when their
tormented unwilling host learns to
say their names... Ah, yes, he knew
their power to hurt or heal. Nigger.
F ur-eyes, sissy.
-excerpt from the first and only
chapter of The Life, Robert Hay-
den's intended autobiography
It is time to observe and celebrate
Robert Hayden. Hayden was a poet
of profound integrity and intense
righteousness; he was as. lyrical 'as
he was just. This weekend marks the
10th anniversary of the death of this
former University professor, and he
will be remembered in a four-day
conference titled "Words in the
Mourning Time."
Hayden wrote on the Black expe-
rience yet extended his craft to

sundry topics, always making clear
that he was not only a Black poet.
"He was an American poet writing
out of the totality of life's experi-
ence, part of which was racial,"


Such appeal was the product of
an arduous ascent that began in De-
troit in the notorious, ironically
named Paradise Valley. "Respectable
people," wrote Hayden, "shunned it
as the devil's." He was a precocious
child, always reading, and one day,
Hayden later wrote, "this scared,
hopeful, bedeviled boy from a family
none of whose members had ever
finished grade school, became a
freshman at Detroit City College"
(now Wayne State). Thereafter he re-
ceived his M.A. from the University
(where he won two Hopwood
awards) and began teaching, eventu-
ally accepting a professorship at
Fisk University, where he taught for
23 years. He joined the University
English department in 1970 and
taught for 10 years, where he was,
according to ProfessorLaurence
Goldstein, "an ideal teacher - in-
spiring, a wonderful artist and
craftsman." Throughout his life
Hayden amassed numerous presti-
gious awards, including being named
Poet Laureate of Senegal and Poetry
Consultant at the Library of
Congress for two terms.

The conference is an amalgama-
tion of creative, literary and schol-
arly approaches to Hayden's poetry,
beginning on Thursday at 4 p.m. in
Rackham with Iowa professor Dar-
win T. Turner's Keynote Address and
ending on Sunday at 8 p.m. in the
Power Center with Angle of Ascent,
a multi-media presentation featuring
music, dance and drama. Pulitzer
Prize-winning poets Gwendolyn
Brooks and Rita Dove will give read-
ings of Hayden's poetry.
Turner says that Robert Hayden
was a poet "very concerned with the
idea of the need for people through-
out the world to love each other." In
that sense, Williams wrote that
"This man... lived in such a way
that we must be grateful. I cannot
mourn the ending of a life that was
lived so well."
DOVE will read at Rackham at 8
p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday,
respectively. All sessions. are free
and open to the public. Call the
English Department, 764-5272, for
information on other events.



Robert Hayden
writes Pontheolla T.Williams.
Michael Harper, friend and corre-
spondent to Hayden, simply states,
"He is a poet with universal appeal."


Confusion reigns supreme
Average guy Klestakov (James Ludwig) has a run-in with some foul
soup in the University Players production of Nikolai Gogol's Inspector
General. This farce, about mistaken identity in a small Russian town,
'was intended by Gogol as political criticism of the czarist era. A while
back, it was made into a movie starring Danny Kaye. The Inspectori
Generalwill be performed at the Mendelssohn Theatre in the League
tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5
Z-- . . -. - .." Ir1 ln - a - aAd7. .+I - -

Music legend Mose
Allison overcomes
Daily insensitivity

M OSE Allison is a bona fide jazz
and blues legend and he deserves top
coverage in this rag they call a
newspaper, but unfortunately, Ter-
rance Simien and Ministry are
somehow more relevant, so this is
the reduced version. Also quite irri-
tating is the fact that you won't be
getting any direct quotes from the
man, so it's the generic version as
Allison's songs have been cov-
ered by the Who, Bonnie Raitt, and
John Mayall, so even if your idea of
jazz is Kenny G, you probably know
his stuff anyway. He started his ca-
reer as a trumpeter; and yeah it'd be
great to get his perspective on how
he switched to becoming a pianist,

but oh well. Over his 20+ year span
of popularity, he's played country,
jazz bebop and yeah, the blues. In
the '50s he played with Al Cohn,
Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan and Zoot
Sims. His cleverly sardonic and cyn-
ical lyrics have garnered him critical
acclaim, and his voice is twice as
charismatic as Michael Franks'. His
personal style of piano playing is a
wondrous show of dexterity and mu-
sical showmanship, so check him
out while he's here.
MOSE ALLISON plays at the Bird
of Paradise tonight through Satur-
day, at 8 and 10 p.m. each night, at
the Bird of Paradise, 207 S. Ashley.
Tickets for tonight are $5; Friday
and Saturday they're $5 students,
$8 others. Early shows are all ages,
late ones 21 and over.

for students with ID, $10 and $7 others. rs ,
Son of Fame crew
has faith in funw$
"THERE are a lot of plays out there that make a statement, but we're
sick of plays that have to change the world. So we said, 'Fuck it! Let's just,
hang out in the theater and have an hour and a half of fun,"' said Alicia
Aiken, director of the Basement Arts production Son of Fame.
And that is what this play is all about - pure fun. Son of Fame, written
by University theater student David Kosky, is about the understapding and
lack of understanding between fathers and sons. Boom Boom Czevrnowski,
a lively, flamboyant, retired football legend, pays a once-a-decade visit to his
son Chris, a conservative, introverted workaholic, in an attempt tdmold his
grandson into his own image.
But upon Boom Boom's arrival, an old conflict between him and Chris
is revived. The quarrel is classic: father wants son to be a chip off the old
block; son doesn't. As the disagreement continues, Chris faces another prob-
lem: his own son, Peter, is looking up to Grandpa Boom Boom more than
he is to Chris. Of course, Chris does everything within his power to get rid
of the bad influence, while Boom Boom does the same.
"Each of them argue that they are unlike one another, but they arg very
much alike. They react the same way, tell the same lies. And the wife (of
Chris) just mediates the arguments throughout the play," said Aiken.
In general, the plot is straightforward and easy to follow, with interesting
twists here and there, and of course, a happy ending. It isn't meant to be
moralistic or even intelligent at that. But the point is that it's fun. And
And here is a word for the wise from Kosky himself: "A play shouldn't
be cast off as unimportant just because it doesn't make a point."

Jazz and blues legend Mose Allison is playing all this weekend at the
Bird of Paradise. Maybe you'll get a chance to talk to him.

all 1e3O3t


Make a

SON OF FAME is playing today, tomorrow and Saturday at S p.m. in the
Arena Theatre in the Frieze building. Admission is free.




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