Pontheolla T. Williams: On "The Dogwood Trees"

"The Dogwood Trees" is faintly reminiscent of Whitman's Calamus poems in its use of phallic symbols, especially trees, and the male comradeship theme. The dramatic action in this poem is set against the backdrop of violence that took place in this country during the sixties. As the speaker and his companion drive to their rendezvous, they do so with "bitter knowledge" of the "odds against comradeship." Nonetheless determined, they "dared and were at one." The note of ambiguity introduced by the phrase "crooked crosses flared" cautions against a too-strict promotion of the Whitman-like theme. Given the violent backdrop and the tenor of black-white relations, the implication would be different.


Title Pontheolla T. Williams: On "The Dogwood Trees" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Pontheolla T. Williams Criticism Target Robert Hayden
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 14 Jun 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Robert Hayden: A Critical Analysis of His Poetry
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