Wordsworthian nature poetry, ashanti culture, and Richard Wright's haiku
this other world
R. H. Blyth offers similarities between English nature poetry and Japanese haiku in his two-volume book, A History of Haiku. Blyth illustrates several of William Wordsworth's poems and makes several references to his work while explaining the art of haiku.1 While Blyth wrote this and other haiku texts from the 1940s through the 1960s, it is interesting to note that few critics since have made reference to Wordsworth and the writing of haiku by American poets. I perceive Blyth's analysis as a standard description of haiku and its properties; hence, I use Wordsworth's poetry as a standard for measuring successful haiku. Furthermore, Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's initial disillusionment resulting from the failure of the French Revolution led to their subsequent vision to revolutionize and transform the individual human spirit by using nature as a means to understand human existence. The Romantic notion of the totality of nature and humanity reflects the tenements of Zen philosophy2 noted from Gautama Buddha's statement "Seek within, you are the Buddha," as well as in the structural elements of haiku. Richard Wright explained this philosophy in regards to his experiences with the Ashanti culture of Africa in Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos, observing, "in the African primal outlook upon existence, a person's consciousness … corresponds to the spirit of nature" (Other World 296).
Landino, P. (2011)., Wordsworthian nature poetry, ashanti culture, and Richard Wright's haiku: this other world, in Y. Hakutani (ed.), Cross-cultural visions in African American literature, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 45-63.
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