Trout Fishing in America/The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan

Mike’s review of Trout Fishing in America/The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster

This is a compendium and In Watermelon Sugar is in here too, but I don’t think I care.

“He created his own Kool-Aid reality and was able to illuminate himself by it.” Do we all do this? I mean, the metaphor is that we all do, but seriously. Did I ever figure out that less sugar meant less sweet Kool-Aid? I think I just followed directions exactly. Seems like me.

“‘It was only a war love. You loved only yourselves, loving each other in Spain during the war.’” Youth…

The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster

When you take your pill

it’s like a mine disaster.

I think of all the people

     lost inside of you.

I want her to have my babies. I want our family. I want us. I want her. (She’s left me since I made that note, not that my feelings have changed.)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include

Love Poem

It’s so nice

to wake up in the morning

     all alone

and not have to tell somebody

     you love them

when you don’t love them

     any more.

How can Brautigan be so devastating in such short spans? I think my answer is because he’s largely ineffective. There’s so much silliness and quirkiness for the sake of quirk (for God’s sake, the back cover is red with the word “mayonnaise” on it). You’re lulled into complacency and then he fucking stabs you with Love Poem and you’re just a complete and total wreck afterwards. My poor analogy is if someone gives you a massage and then punches you in the stomach. That punch is going to feel worse (though it’s actually no harder) than a straight up punch without the good stuff before.

I also have a note that says “Looking @ you” No idea what that means. I looked for a poem of that title and didn’t see one. It’s scribbled on the side of my paper like an afterthought. Beats me.

Valerie’s response

“How can Brautigan be so devastating in such short spans?” you ask. The analogy of getting punched in the stomach is right on – the sentiment, I think, not the feeling. He is master of the non sequitur. Comes at you out of nowhere in these brief bursts of agony and lonelienss and honesty and truth. The metaphor are often absurd, WAY out there… part of my attraction to his writing is the randomness of it. You can float along, wondering where the fuck it all comes from, or just enjoy the ride and appreciate the wacky genius of his insights. I wouldn’t say the silliness makes me complacent. I think it makes me more aware of the edges of imagination, looking foward to the next weirdness. In Brautigan’s work I see new wildernesses of meaning to be explored in his little vignettes. Hey, can I borrow this book from you?

Mike’s response

Really? I see this book everywhere, all the time. It’s like John Grisham and shit. I’ll try to mail it to you before the post office collapses.


I don’t get out much.


One thought on “Trout Fishing in America/The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan

  1. Pingback: Revenge Of The Lawn by Richard Brautigan | The Heart of Literature

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