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Haiku: This Other World
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Haiku: This Other World

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  275 Ratings  ·  35 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)
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Apr 26, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent collection of haiku. I've never read anything by Wright before, but I enjoy his voice, which is lively and melancholic. 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 al
Aug 15, 2010 Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paris, poetry, city-living
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.
Robert Hobkirk
Jan 09, 2016 Robert Hobkirk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haiku was written not long before Wrigt's death, and what a treasure it was to be left to his family and the world. All the haiku are in the disciplined seventeen beats, 5/7/5 line construction. He spent over a year writing haiku and nothing else. These haiku show what a sensitive beautiful soul Wright was. While reading them I thought, "Wish mine were as good."
Feb 22, 2010 Eric rated it it was amazing
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
May 28, 2009 howard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alicia Bernal
Oct 02, 2015 Alicia Bernal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HAIKU by Richard Wright

His is a precise pattern of seventeen syllable, that is- 5-7-5. It has to 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
Nov 22, 2009 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 18, 2011 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: skimmed
I learned that I am incapable of reading large quantities of haiku at one time.
Dec 21, 2011 Christopher rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, haiku
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
Dec 19, 2010 Vicky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
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
Kathleen Brown
This book is not to be rushed through. Each haiku ( there are 817) is like a small picture in time, yet timeless in the contemplation of it. Richard Wright's heightened observations of the everyday world around him are exquisitely painted in the simple, spare form of haiku. A meditative read.
Jun 07, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic collection. A real breath of fresh air. I had never read any Richard Wright before, and I'm not sure if/when I'll pick up other books by him, but these haiku are really, really nice. Some obviously more so than others, but they frequently exemplify the traditional characteristics of haiku (the split, the seasonal reference) and give a fresh perspective on the mundane. I haven't been reading this book in order, so I don't think I've actually read all of the poems, but I've read a ...more
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.
C.B. Wentworth
Jan 04, 2015 C.B. Wentworth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful collection of haiku that straddles the line between traditional haiku and senryu. Overall I enjoyed Wright's imagery and subtle humor as he explored the natural world and the human psyche.
Mar 15, 2015 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
cannot unsee "horse piss scalds a nest of ants" Richard why
Jun 24, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 21, 2011 Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, haiku
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
Jan 03, 2010 Michael McDonough rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 25, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

Aug 07, 2007 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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.
Jan 02, 2012 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 11, 2011 SuzAnne rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, acpl, 2011
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.
Sep 23, 2013 Vanessa rated it really liked it
The imagery is amazing, I just wish I had more time to disect the poems before returning this book to the library.
Sherrie Gingery
Mar 11, 2009 Sherrie Gingery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's amazing the beauty that the writer was able to see, feel and articulate at the end of his life.
Katu Khan
Sep 09, 2013 Katu Khan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely collection of poetic vignettes that range from the mundane to the sublime. Yet all have a meaning.
Oct 29, 2007 Vittorio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never encountered any haikus this vivid or delicious from any other Westerner.
January Nicole
Mar 07, 2014 January Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a capable and prolific haiku poet! A thoroughly enjoyable read!
Mar 20, 2009 Rich rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A very different side to the man who created Bigger Thomas.
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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.
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