Richard Brautigan’s poetry was anything but academic. When he was not trying to write koan-like lines – “I learned Buddhism by watching”, he reported – he was always good for a nonsense verse. Several poems with titles above white space combine these approaches.
In The Amelia Earhart Pancake he talks about his vain efforts to write a poem that relates to the title. The five lines were included in the collection Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork (1976) and subsequently made many readers smile and some honorable literary critics raise eyebrows.
In 2021, two German guys, Timo Brandt and Petrus Akkordeon, had an idea: Why not help Brautigan out posthumously. They posted the idea on Facebook, and before long, poems started to roll in, and they decided to publish an anthology. They read, they arranged, Petrus made very nice illustrations, and miraculously they found a publisher – drum roll, please: Moloko’s Ralf Friel.
And now the book is out, two hundred pages of reactions to Brautigan’s writer’s block. Many pick up the original proposition with due respect for the author; others talk directly to him or take his lines as a pretext for ramblings about Amelia Earhart’s last flight.
While most of the poems are in German, some, like Gerald’s lines that utilize the pilot’s firsthand account about being hungry during long flights, are in English.
Timo Brandt / Petrus Akkordeon (Hg.): Der Amelia Earhart Pfannkuchen, Moloko plus, Schönebeck 2022.