Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Haiku: This Other World” as Want to Read:
Haiku: This Other World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Haiku: This Other World

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  219 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Richard Wright discovered haiku through a volume of English translations of the great Japanese masters of the form. Fighting illness, and frequently bedridden, Wright became so excited about the discovery that he began writing his own haiku, in which he attempted to capture, through his sensibility as an African-American, the same Zen discipline and beauty in depicting man ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 30th 1998 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Haiku, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Haiku

Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Stand by Stephen KingThe Complete Novels by Jane AustenI Know This Much Is True by Wally LambThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Books you'll preserve if doomsday happens
44th out of 270 books — 37 voters
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Two Towers by J.R.R. TolkienThe Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Return of the King by J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My Favorite Books Ever
87th out of 87 books — 9 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 567)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jenny
This is an excellent collection of haiku. I've never read anything by Wright before, but I enjoy his voice, which is lively and melancholy. It's nostalgic and sad but beautiful and evocative. I read most of the haiku rather quickly, but some of them made me pause and linger over the beauty of the words, the ingenuity of the alliteration, and the poignancy of the images. I wrote a few down that stood out to me the most.
The introduction by Wright's daughter is well-written and informative. She als
...more
Eric
Feb 22, 2010 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Richard Wright used haiku to grapple with a string of tragic human personal lose and his own illness.

Richard Wright's daughter, Julia Wright described her father's work as "self-developed antidotes against illness, and that "breaking down words into syllables matched the shortness of his breath." They also offered her father “a new form of expression and a new vision, with the threat of death constantly before him, he found inspiration, beauty, and insights in and through the haiku form. The dis
...more
howard
Richard Wright's style of haiku may not be one for the purist, but if you can appreciate poetry without the need for neat little categories, you might just enjoy it. Wright uses the familiar 5-7-5 style bemoaned by many experts, but styles, like book covers, are hardly worthy of judgment.

If you're looking for something other than the same traditional haiku that have existed for centuries, this is a nice departure. Wright's moments are simple and straightforward. I have found myself rereading thi
...more
Jo
One of my favorite poetry books, this is Native Son and Black Boy author Richard Wright's posthumously-published volume of haiku written during the last 18 months of his life in what his daughter calls "his French exile". He would hang newly written haiku on sheets of paper in his Paris apartment like laundry, and count syllables sitting in cafes. This is life closely observed through Wright's eyes and heart and crafted with a Japanese, Zen-like precision. These are wonderful.
Crystal
I had read a review of this book when it was first published, but I didn't get around to buying it until I came back to Japan and joined an English haiku circle.
Now I'm a huge fan. The images are beautiful and Richard (as we call him in my haiku circle) strictly follows the 5-7-5 form. I reread this book whenever I need to recharge.
Nothing like an African-American in France writing haiku in English to help put everything in perspective.
Kate
I learned that I am incapable of reading large quantities of haiku at one time.
Christopher
This collection contains 800+ haiku written toward the end of Richard Wright's life. I love his novels, and I enjoyed much of this collection, though in many ways it's a great example of why people writing haiku in English shouldn't strive to fill 5-7-5 syllables. Many of Wright's haiku would have been much better if they were more succinct. In many cases it feels like he used unnecessary words or clunky tenses to fill the syllable pattern. A few examples of this:

On winter mornings
The candle sho
...more
Vicky
Two passages from the afterward to Haiku: This Other World by Richard Wright.


"The intent of all haiku and the discipline of the form is to render the haiku moment, to express the 'ah-ness.' In linking directness and paradox, the essential aspects of haiku indicate that the poet needs to look straight at things and to transform the perception into words that do not depend upon metaphors or symbols. Rather, the poet should present the event or object nude, so as to form a doorway for the mind. The
...more
Alicia Bernal
HAIKU by Richard Wright

His is a precise pattern of seventeen syllable, that is- 5-7-5. It has too take the gentlest soul to count every single heartbeat that lived out to share the sublime experience of his poetry.

Imagine then his coming to life in the book speaking of the haiku of nature you longed to hear in order to understand the everyday life far more deeply:

“Dewdrop joins dewdrop
Till a petal holds a pool
Reflecting its rose.”
~Richard Wright
Lynn
Moving Haiku poems from the beginning of the book until the end. These poems were written at the end of Wright's life as he was in self exile in Paris. When he died, his family found these poems written on scraps of paper, in diaries and other assorted places for writing. They are quite beautiful and a moving tribute to the writing of Richard Wright.
Carol Peters
I read it twice, the first time I didn't like it much, the second time I liked it a lot more, I suspect by the fourth or fifth time I'll be rating this a 4- or 5-star.
Jonathan
Love this book! Most people are familiar with his books "Native Son" and "Black Boy." Wright was also a poet. This is a nice collection of haiku he wrote over a period of time while he basically lived in French exile. He wrote about four thousand haiku. Wright selected 817 for this collection in 1960 the year he died. There are also copious notes in this book that help put these poems in historical and cultural context
Terra
This i was my second time reading this volume. The first in Halifax on vacation and the second a page or so a day in the morning over many months. I know I will read it again in years to come. It inspired me to buy several more books of haiku and now I can't start the day without a few haiku; a morning ritual.

Look, look,look!
These are all the violets
Left by last night's rain!
Michael McDonough
I liked this perhaps better than my review indicates. Wright is a better novelist than a poet, but this book reveals his gentle, melancholy side, and his thoughts about nature without the usual extended sociological/Freudian lectures. 17-syllable Freudian lectures? Sometimes, grasshopper, sometimes.
Jim
Lovely Haiku. I put this under "currently reading" because you do not devour some 700 or so (unsure of number, I am not with the book) Haiku bang bang bang all in a row. You savor them one at a time.

I'll read more of this
Beautiful book of Haiku
savoring like wine

Will
That Richard Wright spent the last years of his life writing hundreds of haiku is one of my favorite literary facts. This is worth checking out even just for curiosity's sake, but many of the 800 poems in here are excellent, and a good introduction to serious haiku.
Lori
This was written during the last months of Richard Wright's life. The haiku is meaningful and adheres to the strict 5-7-5 pattern. I highly recommend this book; I usually peruse this collection once a year.
SuzAnne
I borrowed this from the library, and fell in love--with the poems, the essays...I even love its shape. I'm buying myself a copy now; that's how much I love it.
Vanessa
The imagery is amazing, I just wish I had more time to disect the poems before returning this book to the library.
Sherrie Gingery
It's amazing the beauty that the writer was able to see, feel and articulate at the end of his life.
Katu Khan
A lovely collection of poetic vignettes that range from the mundane to the sublime. Yet all have a meaning.
Vittorio
I've never encountered any haikus this vivid or delicious from any other Westerner.
January Nicole
What a capable and prolific haiku poet! A thoroughly enjoyable read!
Rich
A very different side to the man who created Bigger Thomas.
El-Jahiz
No American ever wrote haikus better than this...
Vasha7
A few quite striking poems in here.
Mary-Marcia
I love this book. Turn to it often.
Joseph
Many beautiful haiku.
Lauren Lopez
Lauren Lopez marked it as to-read
Dec 26, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Fourth Quarter Book Review 1 3 Jun 16, 2014 05:16PM  
  • GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys
  • The Haiku Anthology
  • That's That: A Memoir
  • Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami
  • IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq
  • Our Kind of People: A Continent's Challenge, A Country's Hope
  • The Road to Woodstock
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa
  • Raising Cubby: A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives
  • The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology
  • Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent
  • Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War
  • Finding Florida: The True History of the Sunshine State
  • Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors
  • A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York
  • Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life!
  • Middle Men: Stories
  • Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
9657
Richard Nathaniel Wright was an African-American author of powerful, sometimes controversial novels, short stories and non-fiction. Much of his literature concerned racial themes. His work helped redefine discussions of race relations in America in the mid-20th century.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Richard Wright...
Native Son Black Boy Uncle Tom's Children The Outsider Eight Men: Short Stories

Share This Book