Wednesday, August 6, 2008

R. Brautigan, E. Webster, and S. Stover

Here are three little shards of poems from the book "The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings" [Houghton-Mifflin 1999]. Though the book was published posthumously, it contains Brautigan's earliest work, which he had given to a friend (Edna) in Washington when he was about 20 years old, just before heading off to San Francisco.



is something.
is like,
a piece
of apple pie.

Nature Lover, or Something

I am
not particular.

I like whatever
the sky happens
to be doing at the time.

profound saying 4

People who
live in glass
have Chihuahuas
instead of

That last one reminds me of Smokey Stover, a cartoon strip my parents liked. One of Smokey's trademarks was taking aphorisms or phrases and making them slightly nonsensical. These often appeared in framed needlepoint on the wall of his house. One was "People who live in glass houses should foo in the barn." Another: "Notary Sojac." Smokey drove a fire truck. The license plate on the truck sometimes read "FOO E 2 U." My parents thought that was hilarious, which may explain some things.


Bleeet said...

First of all: Damn Twins.

Second of all: "Notary Sojac"

I'm not getting either one.

Jim H. said...


Yes, but what did you think of the poems?

Bleeet said...


Nothing much.

Now: "Notary Sojac"???

Bleeet said...

OK, you want my real opinion of the poems?

The second one is alright, nothing special.

The first and third... well, I've shat better poems and lines than that. (William Carlos Williams / e.e. cummings rip-offs) Sometimes we have to look at our literary heroes and demand better.

I think, overall, some of Brautigan's poems are brilliant, and some are trying just too hard for the deliberately strange, at the expense of quality.

And I love strange things. The problem with always saying unexpected or absurd things is that, eventually, everyone sees the unexpected and absurd as expected and rational.

There. You asked for it.

I like his novels - I read three of them many years ago - more than his poetry of which I've read some.

I will say that at least his poetry never seems to get overly sentimental or treacly. Give me absurd over sentimental any day.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Jim: I, too, enjoyed the second poem.

Don @Lilliput Review