Richard Wright | Poetry Foundation
Richard Wright is recognized as one of the foremost novelists and essayists of the 20th century. He is most famous for writings describing the harsh realities of life for African-Americans in the Jim Crow-era South: the collection of short stories Uncle Tom’s Children (1938); the best-selling novel Native Son (1940), a Book of the Month selection, the first by a black writer to win the distinction, and produced by John Houseman and Orson Welles on Broadway; and his autobiography, Black Boy (1945).
wright was born in mississippi, the son of an illiterate sharecropper and a schoolteacher. His father left the family when Wright was five years old and spent time in an orphanage before moving with his mother to Jackson, where he was raised in part by his strict Seventh-day Adventist grandparents. Books were not allowed in the house, and Wright nurtured his dreams of becoming a writer in secret. He dropped out of high school to work odd jobs before moving to Chicago in 1927. In Chicago, Wright became involved with the Communist Party and worked for the Federal Writers’ Project. He moved to New York City in 1937 and became editor of the Daily Worker and co-editor of the Left Front. Wright published numerous poems in front of left, the partisan magazine, and new masses. According to Bill Mullen, the radical politics and importance of these poems have not yet been understood. “Wright’s imagery, language, and manner,” notes Mullen, “reconstruct poetic convention into a more militant version of… ‘dialect of modernism.'”
when wright published native son, he became the most famous and respected african american author in the united states. he had a great influence on younger black writers such as james baldwin and was an important forerunner of the black arts movement. During the 1940s, Wright wrote a sociological account of the great migration, 12 Million Black Voices (1941), with photographs collected by Edwin Rosskam.
wright moved to france permanently in 1947. his decision was guided by the intolerable racism he faced in the united states. In the 1950s, he spent time in Ghana working with African liberation movements. His later works include the novel The Outsider (1953), the sociopolitical narratives Black Power (1954) and The Colored Curtain (1956), the collected lectures White Man, Listen! (1957), and another novel, The Long Dream (1958). By the end of his life, Wright wrote an estimated 4,000 haiku. Collected in the volume Haiku: This Other World (1998, republished as Haiku: Richard Wright’s Last Poems in 2012), the poems helped Wright overcome illness and grief over his mother’s death and reconnect with the natural world. with which he had long been associated. southern violence. According to his daughter Julia, who wrote the foreword to Haiku: This Other World, “a form of poetry that links the seasons of the soul with nature’s cycle of moods allowed him to reach the black boy, a part of himself still stranded in a south”. that he kept living in his dreams.”
wright died in paris. Posthumous editions of his work include the short story collection Eight Men (1961), the novels The Law Today (1963) and American Hunger (1977), and the unfinished novel Wright was working on at the time of his death, the law of a father (2008). ).