Brautigan, Richard

Alternative names
Birth 1935-01-30
Death 1984-09-25

Biographical notes:

Biographical Information

Richard Gary Brautigan, 1935-1984

American novelist, short story writer, and poet.

  • 1935: Born 30 January in Tacoma, Washington, oldest child of Bernard F. Brautigan and Mary Lull Brautigan. Very little is known about his childhood, which he refused to discuss. Some sources say that Brautigan never knew his father, others say that his father never knew of him until Brautigan's death was announced
  • 1955?: Allegedly committed to Oregon State Hospital after throwing rock through police station window, diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and given shock therapy treatments. Left home soon after release from hospital.
  • 1955 - 1958? : Moved to San Francisco and became involved with the Beat Movement.
  • 1956: The Second Kingdom, first known poem, published.
  • 1957: Married Virginia Dionne Adler in Reno, Nevada, 8 June.
  • 1957 - 1958? : The Return of the Rivers, a single poem, published.
  • 1958: The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, a single poem, published
  • 1959: Lay the Marble Tea published, collection of twenty-four poems.
  • 1960: The Octopus Frontier published. Daughter Ianthe born, 25 March.
  • 1961: Spent summer camping with family in Idaho's Stanley Basin and wrote Trout Fishing in America on a portable typewriter alongside the trout streams.
  • 1964: A Confederate General from Big Sur published. Involved with the Diggers and the hippies of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district and often gave away copies of his poems on the streets.
  • 1966 - 1967 : Poet-in-residence at California Institute of Techonolgy .
  • 1967: Trout Fishing in America published All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace published.
  • 1968: Awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In Watermelon Sugar and The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster published. Please Plant This Book also published: eight seed packets, each containing seeds, with poems printed on the sides.
  • 1969: Trout Fishing in America,The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar published in collection.
  • 1970: Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt published. Divorced from Virginia, 28 July, in San Francisco. The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 published.
  • 1971: The Revenge of the Lawn published.
  • 1972 - 1973? : Establishes a residence in Pine Creek, Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park. Allegedly refuses to deliver lectures or grant interviews for the next eight years.
  • 1974: The Hawkline Monster published.
  • 1975: Willard and His Bowling Trophies and Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork published.
  • 1976: Sombrero Fallout published.
  • 1977: Dreaming of Babylon published.
  • 1978: June 30th, June 30th published. The Abortion,The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster,Trout Fishing in America,Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt, and A Confederate General from Big Sur banned in Union Hills High School in northern California. ACLU case decided in favor of Brautigan and his publisher.
  • 1979: At December meeting of Modern Language Association in San Francisco, participated in a panel discussion concerning Zen and Contemporary Poetry with Gary Snyder,Philip Whalen,Robert Bly, and Lucien Stryk.
  • 1980: The Tokyo-Montana Express published. Begins lecture/promotion tour.
  • 1982: So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away published.
  • 1984: Commits suicide in house in Bolinas, California. Body discovered 25 October.

Chronology excerpted from Richard Brautigan: an Annotated Bibliography, by John F. Barber. (McFarland & Company, Inc., 1990)

For more information on Richard Brautigan see the website Brautigan Bibliography and Archive: The Works and Life of Richard Brautigan, by John F. Barber at

From the guide to the Richard Brautigan Papers, 1942-2003, (bulk 1958-1984), (The Bancroft Library.)


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