Richard Brautigan

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The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.
Thomas Carlyle
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Richard Gary Brautigan (Jan 30, 1935 - Sept 1984) was an American novelist and poet associated with the Beat Generation.


The Pill Versus the Springhill Mining Disaster

Dell Publishing (Delta), 1968; (Some poems in this edition first appeared elsewhere.)

  • A friend came over to the house
    a few days ago and read one of my poems.
    He came back today and asked to read the
    same poem over again. After he finished
    reading it, he said, "It makes me want to write poetry."
    • "Hey! This Is What It's All About"
  • I like to think
    (it has to be!)
    of a cybernetic ecology
    where we are free of our labors
    and joined back to nature,
    returned to our mammal
    brothers and sisters,
    and all watched over
    by machines of loving grace.
    • "All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace"
  • if a girl likes me a lot
    and starts getting real nervous
    and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
    and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
    and she says things like,
    "Do you think it's going to rain?"
    and I say, "It beats me,"
    and she says, "Oh,"
    and looks a little sad
    at the clear blue California sky,
    I think: Thank God, it's you, baby, this time
      Instead of me.
    • "It's Raining In Love"

Rommel Drives on deep into Egypt

Dell Publishing (Delta), 1970; (Some poems in this edition first appeared elsewhere.)

  • Forsaken, fucking in the cold,
    eating each other, lost
    runny noses,
    complaining all the time
    like so many
    that we know
    • "Donner Party"
  • Thinking hard about you
    I got on the bus
    and paid 30 cents car fare
    and asked the driver for two transfers
    before discovering
    that I was
    • "30 cents, Two Transfers, Love"
  • Everybody wants to go to bed
    with everybody else, they're
    lined up for blocks, so I'll
    go to bed with you. They won't
    miss us.
    • "-2"

Trout Fishing In America

Dell Publishing (Delta), 1967; (Some chapters of this novel first appeared elsewhere.)

  • There are seductions that should be in the Smithsonian Institute, right next to The Spirit of St. Louis.
    • Epigram at the end of the table of contents. (Underlining in source.)
  • Everything smelled of sheep. The dandelions were suddenly more sheep than flower, each petal reflecting wool and the sound of a bell ringing off the yellow. But the thing that smelled the most like sheep, was the sun itself. When the sun went behind a cloud, the smell of sheep decreased, like standing on some old guy's hearing aid, and when the sun came back again, the smell of the sheep was loud, like a clap of thunder inside a cup of coffee.
    • Page 50
  • ... the Coleman lantern is the symbol of the camping craze that is currently sweeping America, with its unholy white light burning in the forests of America.
    • Page 73.


  • All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.
  • I'm in a constant process of thinking about things. I'll think about things for thirty or forty years before I'll write it.
  • Probably the closest things to perfection are the huge absolutely empty holes that astronomers have recently discovered in space. If there's nothing there, how can anything go wrong?
  • It's strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult.
  • I didn't know the full dimensions of forever, but I knew it was longer than waiting for Christmas to come. --So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away, p.38

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