D’s Poetry : Haiku 73 : Richard Wright

D’s Poetry is a living archive of all poetry penned by me, Divvya Nirula. Join me on this journey today as we discuss the life and work of Richard Wright.

c’est une part le juste
Le jardin, le plus grande, fois deux
Chez du bien et mal

Divvya Nirula

Richard Nathaniel Wright was born in 1908, in Mississippi, United States. His grandparents were born into slavery. And Wright’s parents, especially his father, worked hard to break away from the shackles of a similar fate.

Given his family history, it is no surprise that when young Richard took to writing, he wrote around themes of race. The Civil War was over, and in theory, slavery had been abolished. But the discrimination and violence that African Americans faced in America was still rampant. They were still perceived as outsiders. Their very existence was seen as a threat to white Americans. Wright explored all these themes and more through his works. He penned Uncle Tom’s Children (1938), The Outsider (1953), White Man, Listen! (1957). His Rite of Passage (1994) and A Father’s Law (2008) were published after his death.

Late in his career, Wright also began writing haiku poetry. He is said to have written over 4,000 haiku. Some of these were published in 1998, in Haiku : The Last Poems of an American Icon.

Below are some of Wright’s haiku.

I am nobody:
A red sinking autumn sun
Took my name away.

Richard Wright

I give permission
For this slow spring rain to soak
The violet beds.

Richard Wright

With a twitching nose
A dog reads a telegram
On a wet tree trunk.

Richard Wright

You are invited along on this journey of discovery and writing. For more poetry and verse by Divvya Nirula, please visit the archive for D’s Poetry.