Robert Hayden was born in Detroit, Michigan, on August 4, 1913. His natural parents were Asa Sheffey... and Ruth (born Gladys Finn) Sheffey... Their marriage was unsuccessful, and the couple parted before the birth of their son. His mother gave him over to be raised by another couple, William and Sue Ellen Hayden, and left for Buffalo, New York... tensions existed in Hayden's relations with his foster father, William Hayden, a laborer and sternly devout Baptist... In 1943, Hayden achieved an entree of sorts into the poetry mainstream when his poem "O Daedalus, Fly Away Home" was published in Poetry magazine. In that same year, through his wife's influence, he became a convert to the Baha'i faith... In 1975, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets... he was appointed to a two-year term as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress (the position now known as the poet laureateship), the first African-American writer to hold that post.