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Richard Brautigan
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    (January 30, 1935-September 16, 1984)
    Born in Tacoma, Washington
    Novelist and poet
    Wrote the novels ‘Trout Fishing in America’ (1967), ‘In Watermelon Sugar’ (1968), and ‘Willard and His Bowling Trophies: A Perverse Mystery’ (1975)
    Poetry collections include ‘The Return of the Rivers’ (1957), ‘The Octopus Frontier’ (1960), ‘All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace’ (1967) and ‘June 30th, June 30th’ (1978)
    Published the short story collection ‘Revenge of the Lawn’ (1971)
    He was arrested for disorderly conduct after throwing a rock through a police station window, then was sent to Oregon State Hospital after he behaved erratically (1955).
    He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression and underwent electroshock therapy.
    He was an alcoholic.
    Although ’Trout Fishing in America’ made him a favorite author of the 60s counterculture, he despised hippies.
    During the 70s, he largely withdrew from the public eye, rarely accepting invitations to lecture (with the exception of teaching at Montana State University for a year in 1982) and refusing to be interviewed.
    After he committed suicide in his house, his body went undiscovered for over a month.
    One of his stepfathers was a violent alcoholic who abused his mother.
    He grew up in abject poverty and recalled his mother sifting rat feces out of their supply of flour before making pancakes.
    When he was six, his mother left him and his two-year-old half-sister unattended in a Montana hotel room for two days.
    He incorporated themes from Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture into his work.
    He received a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts (1969).
    Reflecting its embrace by the counterculture, Trout Fishing in American became the name of several communes, a free school, and an underground newspaper.
    The industrial rock band Machines of Loving Grace took their name from one of his poems.

Credit: C. Fishel

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