Saturday, 6 August 2011

Richard Brautigan ( 30/1/35 - 14/9/84) - And the world is still yawning.

Cult figure for sure, like an American Ivor Cutler, been listening to a C.D of him reading recently, I needed something poignant and surreal in my life , two funerals in a week, but hey gotta keep on keeping on.
Brautigan one of my favourite writers, their are many....... it's Brautigan I return to more often than not when  I want to smile, he also liked a drink or two or three,four and in his later work because of this  it began to get dark...... The 60s were his hey day and he was one of the most prominent to emerge from its counterculture. Born in Tacoma, Washington where he spent most of his childhood and teenage years. In the mid 50s he moved to San Fracisco where he publishe his first volume of poetry and became involved with other writers of the emerging Beat movement. The Beatles loved him, not that that in itself means anything,were they not into most things. I personally discovered him through the works of that wonderful Welsh Band, Gorkys Zygotic Mynci , that's another story , but  I would recommend all his books though, wonderful, can make you wonder, giggle  and laugh out loud, the 60 odd stories contained within Revenge to the Lawn  I would say is his masterpiece , heres a few  of them , hope you enjoy. Contained within one of my favourite short stories, it's also one of the smallest in my library. Prose poetry of the highest order.
Sadly he was found dead in 1984, aged 49, beside a bottle of alcohol and a .44 calibre gun. We all cast long shadows.
Hauntingly his work still  magically shines for me.

Women When They Put Their Clothes  on in the morning

It's really a very beautiful exchange of values when  women put their clothes on in the mornig and she is brand-new and you've never seen her put on her clothes before.
You've been lovers and you've slept together and there's nothing more you can do about that, so iy's time for her to put her clothes on.
Maybe you've already had breakfast and she's slipped her sweater on to cook a nice bare-assed breakfast for you, padding in sweet flesh around the kitchen, and you both discussed in length the poetry of Rilke which she knew a great deal about, surprising you.
But now it's time for her to put her clothes on because you've both had so much coffee that you can't drink any more and it's time for her to go home and it's time for her to go to work and you want to stay there alone because you've got some things to do around the house and you're going outside together for a nice walk and it's time for you  to go home and it's time for you  to go to work and she's got some things that she wants to do around the house.
Or ...maybe it's even love.
But anyway:It's time for her to put her clothes on and it's so beautiful when she does it. Her body slowly dissapears and comes out quite nicely all in clothes. There's a virginial quality to it. She's got her clothes on, and the beginning is over.

Banners of My Own Choosing

Drunk laid and drunk unlaid and drunk laid again, it makes no difference. I return to this story as one who has been away but one who was always destined to return and perhaps that's for the best.
I found no statues nor bouquets of flowers, no beloved to say: 'Now we will fly banners from the castle, and they will be of your own choosing,' and to hold my hand again, to take my hand in yours.
None of that stuff for me.
My typewriter is fast enough as if it were a horse that's just escaped from the ether, plunging through silence, and the words gallop in order while outside the sun is shining.
Perhaps the words remember me.
It is the fourth day of Marcg 1964. The birds are singing on the back porch, a bunch of them in an aviary, and I try to sing with them: Drunk laid and drunk unlaid and drunk laid again, I'm back in town.


I'm haunted a little this evening by feelings that have no vocabulary and events that shold be explained in dimensions of lint rather than words.
I've been examining  half-scraps  of my childhood. They are  pieces  of distant life that have no form or meaning. They are things that just happened like lint.

The Scarlatti Tilt

' It's very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who's learning to play the violin.' That's what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.

Ernest Hemingway's Typist

It sounds like religios music. A friend of mine just came back from New York where he had Ernest Hemingway's typist do some typing for him.
He's a successful writer, so he went and got the very best which happens to be the woman who did Ernest Hemingways typing. It's enough to take your breath away, to marble your lungs with silence.
Ernest Heminway' typist!
She's every writer's dream come true with the appearance of her hands which are like a harsichord and the perfect intensity of her gaze and all to be followed by the profound sound of her typing.
He paid her fifteen dollars an hour. That's more than a plumber oran electrician gets.
$120 a day! for a typist!
He said that she does eveything for you. You must hand her the copy and like a miracle you have attractive, correct spelling and punctuation that is so beautiful that it brings tears to your eyes and paragraphs that look like Greek temples and she even finished sentences for you.
She's Ernest Heminway's
She's Ernest Hemingway's typist.

All above selections from
Revenge of the Lawn, Jonathan Cape 1972.

Other masterpieces are

Trout Fishing in America,
Sombrero Fallout,
A Confederate General from Big Sur,
and In Watermelon Sugar.

I would also strongly recommend a book of memoirs by his daughter Ianthe Brautigan, ' You can't catch death'.  A fascinating glimpse into Richard Brautigans life and shedding light on some of his own ghosts.

All watched over by machines of loving Grace
Taken from the Adam Curtis series of the same name
-A short poem by Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan
(a 5 minute presentation)

Richard Brautigan reads from Trout Fishing in Watermelon Sugar

wiki link on Richard Brautigan

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