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Haikus By Richard Wright

by Joseph Spence, Sr.

While attending a haiku session at a local college, the teacher who is a Methodist minister, mentioned Richard Wright's book as a wonderful haiku book. I looked through his copy and read several pages during the class break. What I read was awesome! He also read some of his favorite haiku poems from the book and used them as illustrations to emphasize his teaching points. The session was excellent and I purchased a copy of the book the following day.

First of all, let me say that it's unfortunate about what happened to Richard Wright. He was an awesome writer and a great literary figure on the American landscape. I have read the book twice already and still keep it handy and close by as a reference source. His haiku reflects some of the things he has experienced in life-some positive and some negative.

Most of all, I love the imagery he projects in his haiku poems. He was very observant as any writer and poet should be. Listen to the words in this haiku poem based on his observation and attention to details:

Hands behind his back,

An old priest on the seashore

In the autumn sun.

Additionally, his sense of hearing was quite attentive as he picks up the slightest sound in his surrounding and makes sense out of what he heard. Imagine this haiku:

A newspaper boy

Shouts "Extra!" in the cool night:

Spring wind flaps his coat.

Listening to the spring wind flapping the coat of the newspaper boy over his shouts of "Extra" is being very attentive to the sense of sound. These are excellent images presented in fine details.

The sense of smell also plays an important part in the life of a poet and author. The imagery regarding smell is critical to the effectiveness of a poem. Think about this haiku and how it addresses the sense of smell:

Heading toward the sea,

Drifting into the cold rain,-

How strong the smell is!

These are just exceptional images captured by the senses and articulated on the pages. This book by Richard Wright is just packed with a variety of great haiku poems. It would make a wonderful addition to any library collection and a great future reference source. The haiku poems are written in the traditional 5/7/5 version with seventeen syllables.

© Joseph S. Spence, Sr., 8/14/09

© All Rights Reserved

Submitted by "Epulaeryu Master."

Joseph S. Spence, Sr., is the co-author of two poetry books, A Trilogy of Poetry, Prose and Thoughts for the Mind, Body and Soul, and Trilogy Moments for the Mind, Body and Soul. He invented the Epulaeryu poetry form, which focuses on succulent cuisines and drinks. He is published in various forums, including the World Haiku Association; Milwaukee Area Technical College, Phoenix Magazine; and Taj Mahal Review. Joseph is a Goodwill Ambassador for the state of Arkansas, USA, and is an adjunct faculty at Milwaukee Area Technical College. He has completed over twenty years of service with the U.S. Army.


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