Ralph Ellison’s Faux Haiku

Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison’s friend, remembers a short poem, which I will call a haiku, from their days as students together: Murray recalls the author of Invisible Man as the smartest-dressed upperclassman at Tuskegee.  Murray was impressed that Ellison always seemed to check out the best books in the library, and he presented a “nascent elegance” in his two-tone shoes, bow tie, contrasting slacks, and whatever else the best haberdasher in Oklahoma had to offer.

Ralph Ellison In Harlem

“I even remember the poetry Ralph wrote,” Murray said:

“‘Death is nothing, / Life is nothing, / How beautiful these two nothings!’ “

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