Category: Writers

Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan was born January 30th, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington. Little is known about his childhood except that it was a troubled one. It was something he didn’t discuss. It’s rumored that he didn’t know who his father was and that his father wasn’t aware that Brautigan was his son until the announcement of his death. It’s also rumored that at around the age of twenty, he threw a rock through a police station window and as a result was committed to Oregon State Hospital where he was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and given shock therapy treatments.

He moved to San Francisco, California in 1955 where he became part of the Beat movement almost immediately. “The Second Kingdom,” his first known poem, was published in 1956 and his first book, “Lay the Marble Tea”, a collection of 24 poems, was published in 1959. These two publications “bookended” his marriage to Virginia Dionne Adler in Reno, Nevada, June 8, 1957

In the late 1960s Brautigan’s work was gaining popularity and was the period when he published some of his most well-known works, such as “Trout Fishing in America” and “In Watermelon Sugar”. In 1972, he moved to Pine Creek, Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park, where he allegedly refused to give lectures or interviews for eight years.

In December of 1979, at a meeting of The Modern Language Association in San Francisco, Brautigan participated in a panel discussion concerning Zen and Contemporary Poetry with Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Robert Bly, and Lucien Stryk. He published his last book, “So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away”, in 1982.

On October 25, 1984, friends broke into Brautigan’s house in Bolinas, California to find his body next to a bottle of alcohol and a .44 caliber gun. It was assumed that he had committed suicide.


The Wait

It seemed
like years
before
I picked
a bouquet
of kisses
off her mouth
and put them
into a dawn-colored vase
in
my
heart.

But
the wait
was worth it.

Because
I
was
in love.


The Moon Versus Us Ever Sleeping Together Again

I sit here, an arch-villain of romance,
thinking about you. Gee, I’m sorry
I made you unhappy, but there was nothing
I could do about it because I have to be free.
Perhaps everything would have been different
if you had stayed at the table or asked me
to go out with you to look at the moon,
instead of getting up and leaving me alone with
her.


I Live in the Twentieth Century

I live in the Twentieth Century
and you lie here beside me. You
were unhappy when you fell asleep.
There was nothing I could do about
it. I felt hopeless. Your face
is so beautiful that I cannot stop
to describe it, and there’s nothing
I can do to make you happy while
you sleep.