Thursday, November 16, 2006

Writer's Corner: Richard Wright

Born in 1908, the grandson of slaves, on a plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, Richard Wright is on e of the great American writer's. He two most important works are Native Son and his autobiography Black Boy. While Wright lived in Chicago in 1927, he was the editor of the Daily Worker, a communist newspaper. He continued his affiliation with the party until 1944 when he broke ties with them, but remained a liberal until he died in 1960. In 1946, after being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, Wright moved to Paris to finish out his life as an expatriate. Therefore, as an expatriate and a member of the Communist Party, I tend to think of him as a great writer and not a great American writer. He did focus his work on the American southern culture for most of his life, but he fundamentally disagreed with the American philosophy. Last in his life he became fascinated with the art of Haiku, and ending up crafting over 4,000 before he died. In 1998, 817 of his best were published, and they are great examples of an American take on Haiku.

"Trembling in the wall,
A yellow water shadow
From the lake outside."

For a full biography go here.
To purchase Richard Wright - Haiku: This Other World and Native Son