Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan (January 30, 1935 – September 1984) was an American writer.

He was born in Tacoma, Washington and is best known for the works he produced while living in San Francisco in 1960s, where he became Poet-in-Residence at California Institute of Technology in 1967.

Richard Brautigan committed suicide in Bolinas, California at the age of forty-nine.

Brautigan’s prose and poetry often delt with the tenuous and often impossible relationships a person tries to form with the world. Whether it is by history (A Confederate General from Big Sur), geography and time (The Tokyo-Montana Express), or memory (Sombrero Fallout), Brautigan’s gentle protagonist/narrators often find their plans thwarted by the sometimes inexplicable vicissitudes of existence. Sometimes solace can be found in either a new love (The Abortion) or just a casual participation in the world (In Watermelon Sugar) which can offer a kind of stability to living.

Brautigan’s writings are also characterized a remarkable and often humorous imagination. The permiation of very inventive metaphoric approximations lend even his prose works the feeling of poetry. Brautigan’s work became identified with the counterculture youth movement of the late 1960’s. Brautigan’s eccentirc appearance and manner did not help to dissuade this conception of him and his work but the designation, “hippie author” doesn’t seem to fit a writer whose work is so full of melancholy and a preoccupation with death and change. The critical backlash of the late 1970s and early 1980s did much to hasten his suicide. Brautigan once wrote, “All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.”