Robert Hayden (1913-1980) was one of the most important African-American poets of the twentieth century. He left behind an exquisite body of work, collected in this definitive edition, including American Journal, which was nominated for a National Book Award in its first publication. An introduction by Arnold Rampersad provides a biographical portrait of Hayden and a critical context in which to understand his poetry.Robert Hayden was a fellow of the American Academy of Poets, a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, and a professor of English at the University of Michigan. He received numerous awards for his poetry in his lifetime, among them to Hopwood Awards, the Grand Prize for Poetry at the First World Festival of Negro Arts, and the Russell Loines Award for distinguished poetic achievement from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Arnold Rampersad is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature at Princeton University.