Pontheolla T. Williams: On "Elegies for Paradise Valley"

"Elegies for Paradise Valley," is a poetic treatment of some slice-of -life ghetto characters he knew. The poem alludes to the taproot of his personality. The eight-part elegy sets forth his meditations upon his life in Detroit during the twenties and thirties. In it, he reflects upon the end of a place, a time, a people. It was a place where, as a boy, he saw a iunkie die in the maggot-infested alley beneath his "bedroom's window," and it was a place where he recognized the "hatred ... glistening like tears in the policemen's eyes." Instead of the planned and gentle introduction of children to the best in a cultural environment that is alluded to in the "Pestalozzi's fiorelli" phrase, the children in his ghetto were dependent upon "shelter" that the ordinarily unusual alliance of "Godfearing elders" and "Godless grifters" jointly provided.

Among these "protectors" was his Aunt Roxie's friend, "Uncle Crip, " who was a frequent visitor in the Hayden households.


Title Pontheolla T. Williams: On "Elegies for Paradise Valley" 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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