I'm almost done with Richard Brautigan's anthology of Trout Fishing In America, The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster and In Watermelon Sugar.
Trout Fishing in America is a series of collected prose in which the title ectoplasms as either a character, a place, a sensation, a story, an activity or even as spontaneous and whimsical as the phrase itself in word, Brautigan inspires a sense of child-like wonder as Trout Fishing In America transcends the facade of matter chapter by chapter and leaves you wondering as to what other guises will our hero here takes on the next time you encounter him.
In In Watermelon Sugar, a nameless narrator shares about his world in which the sun shines a different colored ray every day of the week and they make watermelon sugar to the color of the day the watermelons are harvested. He also talks about his stay at the ridiculously-named iDeath, (which i believe is an isolate for crazy people-shy intellectuals) where books are seldom written, and where he is constantly prodded by his peers to do so- his relationship with a girl named Pauline and where the Tigers are feared.
The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster is a collection of over fifty short randomized poems with the title piece going:
When you take your pill
it's like a disaster.
I think of all the people
lost inside of you.
I'm currently reading Oprah-approved Carson McCuller's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I'm about 50 pages through it and am pretty excited about getting into the whole Southern Gothic movement. The only other American Gothic literature I've read was Shirley Jackson's famous short story The Lottery.
Ah that story! What a twist at the end.. it'll make Old Boy look like a wet snail.
Anyway here are some reasons why I think Carson McCullers is an interesting person.
- She looks like a sensitive soul.
- She wrote Heart is a Lonely Hunter when she was 22. We are ashamed.
- She suffered throughout her life from several illnesses such as rheumatic fever, strokes.
- Female writers are usually really good
Updates on the book soon. John Singer has made me more quiet in the room.
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But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
This poem is really hip. It’s totally black out wicked tongue-in-cheek manic depression. Like a secret suddenly blurted out and stoically defended against no one in particular.
Some have said it’s a call for help but I didn’t see it that way. It’s more about the difference between appearance and reality. A secret life of sorrow and instability hidden behind a facade of ‘larking’.
It’s not so much a desperate plea but a calm acceptance of chronic emotions along with a depth of alienation that couldn’t possibly be easily communicated to others. There’s some unintended antisociality in this individualistic sorrow; Hey, I wasn’t waving to you .. I was bloody drowning.
A fanpage for Stevie Smith. Link
Stevie Smith Bio, links and poem. Link
Stevie does great illustrations for her book of poems. I’ve recently got her last volume of poetry, Scorpion and Other Poems and they’ve got little cute melancholic kiddie-ish doodles in it.
Some Illustrations by Stevie