Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brautigan Goes Fishing and Gary Hotham Lands One

Cover by Harland Ristau

I have a favorite poem from one of the books suggested for the Near Perfect Books of Poetry list: it's from Silence in the Snowy Fields, which I read this week:

"Taking My Hands"

Taking the hands of someone you love,
You see they are delicate cages ...
Tiny birds are singing

In the secluded prairies

And in the deep valleys of the hand.
Robert Bly

Gary Hotham's "Modest Proposal" chapbook, Missed Appointment, has been featured in a posting from David Giacalone's f/k/a, my favorite blog of haiku and legal issues (you read that right). A nice selection of five poems from the chap that's worth a look see. As mentioned in a previous post here, Gary's book has been awarded an honorable mention in the Haiku Society of America's annual Kanterman Memorial Book Awards. Copies are available for the always low price of $3.00.

In what's got to be the odd news of the week comes a report that a fishing video, circa 1974, going by the name Tarpon, has just been released. Perhaps it's not so odd that a fishing video from 1974 should come out on DVD, considering the monumental environmental shifts that have occurred in the last 35 years. What is odd is that the video features Thomas McGuane, Richard Brautigan, and Jim Harrison.


Well, yeah, it's true. Here's a review of the DVD release posted at the blog of, featuring a great Brautigan quote. The other review at MidCurrent posits that this is some of the only film footage of Mr. B., which I can't confirm but sounds about right to me (a quick check of the Internet Archive came up a zero; at youtube, lots of folks have put Brautigan audio to their own films but no actual B footage). Collectors, dust off those credit cards!

In a biggish British brouhaha over poetry, I believe I'll come down on the side of AB FAB actress Joanna Lumley. Seems to me that as far as "The Poets" are concerned, it's all just hard cheese.

John Harter is still on my mind. Here's his obit from the Everett Washington Herald:

"December 1940 to May 2008

We have lost a great N.W. artist, John Harter, and we will miss him. He is survived by two sisters; and one brother; plus many other family members and friends.

A Celebration of his Life and Art will be held starting at 3 p.m., on July 19, 2008, in his sister's garden."

We should all be remembered so well.

Some back issue news. In a moment of clerical inspiration, I decided to hypertext the back issues featured in the (mostly) Thursday weekly postings here at IUH, plus the postings from the old Beneath Cherry Blossoms blog and index them on the Lillput Review Archive page at the Lillie website, to come up with a one stop MegaArchive. Ok, the name's a tad hyperbolic but at the link you can find sample poems from 55 back issues of Lilliput Review, somewhere between 150 and 200 poems.

The plan now is to continue to index these weekly samplings on that page and provide a portal to some fine short poetry. Right now, I'm going to start filling in some issues I've missed in the transition between blogs and then resume the countdown, which is pausing at #81, when that's finished.

So, this week's feature issue is #102, from January 1999
, and it starts with a mix of metaphor (as opposed to a mixed metaphor) and philosophy:

Thirst Logic

All poems
should have blood.

If not blood,
water. If not

water, a mouth,
some teeth, a voice,

a predilection
for love.
Ken Waldman


Dangerous kisses
pull us closer to heaven
Nowhere left to go
Kate Isaacson


Fact of Life

driven into green wood
will loosen
and back out.
Graham Duncan




Charles Gramlich said...

Really like the Ken Waldman piece. Something especially strong in the first lines.

Anonymous said...


Well, that was interesting. The "Tarpon" DVD can be ordered from; I didn't go so far as to check the price, but I think I'll have to order it.

In McGuane's "The Longest Silence", there is some rather extended commentary concerning the youthful fishing exploits of Brautigan, Buffett, Harrison and McGuane himself; the four of them gathered regularly to fish the Florida Keys for tarpon, permit, bonefish, etc. McGuane owned the boat. Aside from that, McGuane's "The Longest Silence" is already considered a classic in the genre of sports writing and flyfishing in particular.

I enjoyed your favorite Bly poem from "Silence In The Snowy Fields". It's a wonderful piece. In that same volume, I think "With Pale Women In Maryland" was quite influenced by Brautigan's style. I am reminded of Brautigan and "The Pill vs The Springhill Mine Disaster" whenevernjx I read it.



Issa's Untidy Hut said...


That's funny - when I reread this one getting ready to post it, I thought about you and vampire haiku, which of course, never would have occurred to me previously.


Courtesy of a regular reader, I've posted an update to this post which will point you to a page at that has a 30 second clip from the movie with Mr. B. enthusiastically lyrical, as always.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Went back and read "With Pale Women in Maryland" and it is indeed a very fine piece.