Monday, 6 September 2010

Richard Brautigan

The 4th portrait in my Unsung Heroes series is American poet and writer Richard Brautigan. Richard grew up in poverty in the Pacific Northwest, his father leaving his mother 8 months before his birth. As a young man, he threw rocks at a police station window in order to be sent to prison and fed - instead he was committed to a mental hospital where he received 12 electric shock treatments. He moved to San Francisco to become a writer in 1954 - a huge ambition for someone of his social class. Richard's involvement with the 60s counterculture saw him give away much of his early writings on the street for free. His works employ a stark simplicity, black humour and hauntingly beautiful innocence, and are both an important cultural account of the 60s and priceless pieces of Americana. He often mentioned suicide to his daughter, Ianthe, and after falling from favour, he shot himself in 1984.

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