Are you between 5 and 25? If so, enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards NOW - click here for details...

book price comparison
Search our site
Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley Read the opening extract of the brand new Lucy Foley book before its publication on 19/03/2018

Richard Wright and Haiku by Dr Yoshinobu Hakutani


Richard Wright and Haiku by Dr Yoshinobu Hakutani

In the last years of his life, Richard Wright, the fierce and original American novelist known for Native Son and Black Boy, wrote over four thousand haiku. In Richard Wright and Haiku, Yoshinobu Hakutani considers Wright the poet and his late devotion to the spare, unrhymed verse that dwells on human beings' relationship to the natural world rather than on their relationships with one another, a strong departure from the intense and often conflicted relationships that had dominated his fiction.Wright was not the only famous American author to be attracted to the art of haiku. Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation novelist known for On the Road and The Dharma Bums, also explored the form and wrote many haiku. For guidance Wright and Kerouac both turned to the four-volume critical history and collection Haiku by R. H. Blythe. Wright went on to emulate such classic haiku poets as Basho, Buson, and Issa as well as the modernist Shiki. Richard Wright and Haiku is presented in two parts. In the first, Hakutani traces the genesis and development of haiku in Japan, discusses the role of earlier poets, including Yone Noguchi and Ezra Pound, in the verse's development in Japan and in the West, and deals with both haiku and haiku criticism written in English. He goes on to describe how Wright acquired the theory and technique of haiku composition and offers a historical and critical study of Wright's haiku. Integral to Hakutani's analysis is an exploration of what Wright in his Black Power: A Record of Reactions in the Land of Pathos called the African primal outlook upon life. Hakutani delves into how this view inspired Wright to turn to first the study of and then the writing of haiku.In the final chapter of the first part, Hakutani invites readers to try seeing Wright's haiku as senryu, or humorous haiku. This departure from the relentlessly serious lens through which nearly all of Wright's work is viewed by critics helps to expand readers' perspectives on the poems and on Wright himself.In part two, Hakutani presents a selection of Wright's poems from Haiku: This Other World. Each of the selected haiku is accompanied by a note that will provide assistance in interpretation and offers such additional information as definitions of critical or technical terms and bibliographical details.Richard Wright and Haiku is a valuable addition to the critical discussion of the life and works of Richard Wright as well as a welcome contribution to scholarship on haiku in the West.


Insightful and informative, Richard Wright and Haiku is a seminal work of impeccable scholarship, highly recommended reading for admirers of Richard Wright's novels, as well as students of haiku poetry in general. --Jack Mason, The Midwest Book Review Insightful and informative, Richard Wright and Haiku is a seminal work of impeccable scholarship, highly recommended reading for admirers of Richard Wright's novels, as well as students of haiku poetry in general. --Jack Mason, The Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Yoshinobu Hakutani is Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at Kent State University in Ohio. He is the author or editor of many books, including Richard Wright: A Documentary Life, 1908-1960, with Toru Kiuchi and Richard Wright and Racial Discourse (University of Missouri Press).

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

4th March 2014


Dr Yoshinobu Hakutani

More books by Dr Yoshinobu Hakutani
Author 'Like for Like'


University of Missouri Press


216 pages


Literary studies: poetry & poets
Literary studies: from c 1900 -



My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

Lovereading is an amazing place to be, the website is wonderful and to me if I'm sad I'll go here and it cheers me up!

Sophia Upton

Lovereading is pitched at just the right level for all the various types of people who enjoy reading in its many forms.

Pam Woodburn

Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright

Ever purchased a book, read a few pages & thought I'm not going to enjoy this? Honest book reviews mean you'll never have that problem again

Jill Peters

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale