Richard Wright, Haiku, and Fatherhood

Thinking about my dad, my children, and their haiku dad

Jason McBride
5 min readJun 16, 2024

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Illustration by Jason McBride

My father was not a poet, and my love of poetry was just one of a thousand barbed branches that blocked the space between us.

Most of the written communications he sent my way were either spare and emotionless or dripping with passive-aggressive angst.

Jay McBride wasn’t an internationally admired writer, but he was one of the best integrated-circuit layout design engineers of his generation. An integrated-circuit layout design engineer is a kind of architect of microchips. Where an architect would work to maximize airflow and natural light with window placements, Jay and his colleagues would move resistors and capacitors around on their drafting tables (and later computer screens) to optimize for speed and memory while minimizing energy consumption.

He was a narrow kind of genius, and for me, that’s part of what made him a difficult father.

Richard Wright was a broad genius, and I get the sense from both Julia Wright’s poignant introduction to her father’s posthumously published Haiku: The Last Poems of an American Icon, and other biographic details, that Richard Wright was also a kind of difficult father.

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Jason McBride

Freelance Writer & Illustrator | Poet & Visual Essayist | Amateur Human | he/him https://weirdopoetry.com