"In 1959, he (Richard Wright) was introduced to haiku by Sinclair Beiles , a young South African poet who loved its form. Beiles was living in Paris and associating with other poets of the 'Beat generation' such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Gary Snyder. Beiles's and the Beat poets' interest in Zen led Wright to the knowledge of haiku. Because the Beat Hotel was in the Latin Quarter and Wright lived very close to the hotel, Wright often frequented the hotel bar....Wright borrowed, from Sinclair Beiles, RH Blyth's four volumes on the art and history of the haiku and its relationship to Zen philosophy and settled down to rediscover his old dream of oneness with life..."
(from The Richard Wright Encyclopedia, Jerry W Ward, Robert J Butler)