Litkicks Message Board Archive

Brautigan's Birthday

Posted to WritersAndGenres




Today is Richard Brautigan's birthday. Snippett from Minnesota Public Radio's Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of poet and novelist Richard Brautigan born in Tacoma, Washington
(1935). Called by some "the last of the Beats," he became a
cult figure in 1960s literature. Growing up, hunger was a
constant threat. At the age of 20, he was arrested for
throwing a rock through a window inside a police station.
He explained that he wanted to go to jail so that he could
eat. Instead, he was sent to Oregon State Hospital, where
he was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, and received
electroshock therapy treatments. Upon his release, he moved
south to San Francisco, where he became involved with the
Beat Movement. He read poetry at psychedelic rock concerts
and helped to produce underground newspapers with activist
groups like the Diggers. He had a classic hippie look, with
long blond hair and granny glasses. His back was oddly bent
due to a severe case of scoliosis. In the summer of 1961,
he camped with his wife and young daughter in Idaho's
Stanley Basin. He spent his days hiking, and wrote Trout
Fishing in America (1967), his best-known work, on a
portable typewriter while sitting alongside the many trout
streams. He committed suicide in 1984, two years after the
publication of his last novel, So The Wind Won't Blow It
Away. He was famous for his whimsical, surrealist style. He
wrote: "The sun was like a huge 50-cent piece that someone
had poured kerosene on and then had lit with a match, and
said, "Here, hold this while I go get a newspaper," and put
the coin in my hand, but never came back."