The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan
I loved Trout Fishing and a couple friends talked up these poems, so I was like Okay.
I highly admire Brautigan's gusto to push forms, to think outside of the norm, to not be afraid to say something.
One question: at what point does a short, funny piece cross the line (either way) between a poem and a joke?
I'm not accusing Brautigan of anything negative. I did really enjoy these poems.
He is a master of the short form it seems, prose or poetry, because of his ability to turn hints into statements.
A good example of this:
A Widow's Lament
It's not quite cold enough
to go borrow some firewood
from the neighbors.
I often have trouble letting a feeling or image stand alone in my poems, wanting to mesh it with others, wanting it to be fun and moving and fast and energetic.
In this book, I realized, when done right, something this simple can be heavier than thou.
Last night, I went to Indianapolis to see Bob Hicok read. (BUTLER HAS SUCH A SWEET READING SERIES)
I've read a few Hicok books and the things he publishes in the journals I read. I'd call myself a good-sized fan (165 POUNDS OF POETRY LOVIN' DUDE), especially of his style. The humor-to-get-to-the-heavy-stuff feels so real life to me, like how we usually start out social interactions, even ones with big complications like a breakup, with jokes or light conversation. Read also: the repetition and discursiveness.
I was surprised by his reading style. Maybe naively, I expected more energy and more talk between pieces. Instead, he read as calmly as anyone I've seen, especially when I take into account the fact that it wasn't boring. HE WAS A DELIVERER.
Oh yes, it was a fabulous experience, me doing my weird headshake, scribbling in my notebook, trying to muster up the courage to ask a question. I DIDNT, though I had a few.
I did talk to him after, about Virginia Tech (a school to which I'm applying), his new book, and (ashamedly?) myself. I kept going back and forth about telling him I'm applying to VT, but I did it, I told him, and he was like OUR STIPEND IS GREAT. Also, he wrote in one of my books, "Good luck getting into a school." LOLZ.
DO I ADD THIS CLUMSY LIVING TO THIS WEEK'S READINGS? OR TOO SOON?
Another great reading with my cool set of pals, Tyler, Sara, and Cody.