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The Pill vs. the Springhill Mine Disaster

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,622 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Brautigan's poetic style is often surreal, often tender, with touches of humor. The poems are written in clear, straightforward free verse. Here is an example of his style from "The Chinese Checker Players": "When I was six years old/I played Chinese checkers/with a woman/who was ninety-three years old."

Recurrent themes in the book include love, sex, loss & loneliness. Inc
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Paperback, 108 pages
Published November 5th 1970 (first published 1968)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  2,622 ratings  ·  137 reviews


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lisa z
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to lisa z by: the boy with the words
Shelves: poetry
i was 17, i had dropped out of high school that day. i walked out of the cold dead building with a sense of complete freedom and sarcasm. i loved telling everyone there and my parents that this education would clearly not do, the beginning of a litany of bad decisions i would make over the course of the next several years. i was convinced there was something more moving and educational out there for me though i had no clue of where or how to go for such things. it was the first perfectly warm sp ...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"I feel horrible. She doesn't
love me and I wander around
the house like a sewing machine
that's just finished sewing
a turd to a garbage can lid."

The instagram poetry of its time! I'm unsure whether or not I enjoy it on an ironic level!
...more
Sarah
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2011
Of the load of books I read on my 2-week vacation this summer, this is the one I enjoyed most. It's a collection of mostly short poems that are overall funny and endearing. Anyone who writes a poem called "Haiku Ambulance" has already scored points with me. I also like the "versus" poems - "The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster," "General Custer versus the Titanic," etc. I like the "Galilee Hitch-Hiker" poems and also "The Wheel" and "I Lie Here in a Strange Girl's Apartment." My very fav ...more
Julia Drabczyk
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brautigan quickly became my favorite poet as soon as I read a few poems from this book. I know some people do not like the poems that seem "lazy" but those are the poems that make me love him even more. There are some that will really make you nod your head in contentment, and there are some that will make you cock your head to the side and stare. He proves that you can truly write a poem about anything. Everything is poetry as long as you think it is. Some are so simple, and the mere fact that ...more
Darwin8u
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
UNEVEN POEMS/reviewed unevenly

Brautigan's words jump
like a funky beat poet
in ways I can support
I loved TFiA and see seasons of potential
on the table of this book,
but many
poems casually
rolled
onto
the floor (for me)

uneaten.
...more
Bud Smith
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Beautiful Poem” is a top of the mountain of all his poetry.

Today I read A Confederate General From Big Sur and this and also Rommel Drives On Deep into Egypt ... the poems from 1958 when he was living in Big Sur and forming in his mind the material that would become A Confederate General from Big Sur are amazing, how they line up with that novel. Brautigan is brilliant, a really great poet, but I think he is truly amazing in his prose. What he brought to stories, storytelling, his odd sens
...more
Rhys
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only started reading Richard Brautigan four years ago. I became such an instant fan that I have read most of his books:- all the published prose works and much of his poetry. Needless to say, I plan to read all the poetry. I want to 'do' Brautigan complete!

This doesn't mean that I regard him as a perfect writer. Far from it! His poetry especially can be very uneven, and this fact is demonstrated very clearly in what is perhaps his single most important (and comprehensive) book of verse, The Pi
...more
Mat
A mostly superb and seminal collection by Brautigan.

Brautigan's poetic style is deceptively simple, singular and charming. At times it carries the simply dignity of a haiku, at others it's a small surrealistic or dadaist masterpiece.

The Pill Vs. The Springhill Mine Disaster is essentially a collection of the poems that Brautigan had written up until the late 60s and, indeed, showcases some of his strongest work.

I have heard that Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork contains even stronger work and
...more
framptonhollis
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
'It's Raining in Love' is probably my all time favorite single poem at the moment as it is one of the most relatable things I have ever read (*cries socially awkward, shy, timid tears*). As for the rest of this collection, it remains quite consistently entertaining, humorous, and amusingly surreal throughout, which is not at all surprising considering these are all poems straight from the brilliant comic mind of Richard Brautigan, one of the strangest and funniest writers I have ever come acros ...more
Maya Day
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Best poetry I've ever read. His metaphors borderline between completely bizarre to beautiful. Sometimes hit or miss, but when it hits, it hits so hard. ...more
sensitivejess
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Richard Brautigan like he loves the simile
Morgan
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, fiction, poetry
In the mood for poetry. My mom has a few collections of poems from the 60s. These are okay, but dated at times. I don't mind them though because they are quick reads. ...more
Courtney Johnston
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Nine of my favourite Richard Brautigan poems (god, how I love this collection)

THE PILL VERSUS THE SPRINGHILL MINE DISASTER

When you take your pill
it's like a mine disaster.
I think of all the people
lost inside of you.

From THE GALILEE HITCHHIKER (Part 4: The Flowerburgers)

Baudelaire opened
up a hamburger stand
in San Fransisco,
but he put flowers
between the buns.
People would come in
and say, "Give me a
hamburger with plenty
of onions on it."
Baudelaire would give
them a flowerburger
instead and the people
...more
Navid Lambert-Shirzad
Dec 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-americans
A friend of mine had a glance at this book and said something that gave me an idea: if they had twitter back then, Brautigan's tweets would be like the poems you find in this book!

I usually don't read poetry. I started reading this book because it is a Brautigan book and found quite a few of its poems brilliant. As nothing is perfect, this book has plain and mediocre poems as well.
...more
M. Sarki
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read this book again today after more than a thirty year distance from the last time we visited. Not so hotsy totsy. But it was "ok". Unfortunately, by reading this a second time around old Richard lost a star in my ranking. I think his novels will hold up better. ...more
Matt
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite all-time poetry reads. Brautigan's poetic worldview is unique, uncluttered, and remarkably non-pretentious.... and sticks to your ribs all the more for it. ...more
Michael John
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first run in with Mr. Brautigan. I picked up this slim book from a free book cart at the public library. I read the poems a few at a time. There are great moments here. There are metaphors that are sometimes unexpected and poems that turn in surprising directions. Some of the short poems resonate in meaningful and insightful ways. Others left me wondering what the hell he was talking about. One sentiment I liked "If I were dead/ I couldn't attract / a female fly." One of my favorite p ...more
Cooper Renner
The collection would be twice as good with half as many poems—if the right half were selected—but even so it’s easy to read, breezy, humorous, sometimes trite. The best have a sly humor, sharp imagery (occasionally reminiscent of Robert Bly’s), and/or deep humanity. Akin to the Beats, and the deep image poets, and probably Rod McKuen if I knew what he wrote like.
Kent Winward
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death by mine disaster vs. conception denied by chemistry, neither win as life and its vagaries triumph in Brautigan's poetry. ...more
DeadWeight
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Richard Brautigan's The Pill vs. The Springhill Mining Disaster was the first book of poetry I ever truly loved — perhaps the first I ever truly *read* — introduced to me by my grade 9 English teacher, an early Gen X-er bitterly wrestling against lost time. So man, the speed with which I grabbed up this week [ed: this review was initially written in 2018] an insidiously underpriced $1 first edition copy of the book simply cannot be measured. I trembled with the feeling that I was getting away wi ...more
Heirloom Books
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something about reading Brautigan that reignites my flame for poetry. I'll be on a poetry kick for the next week. ...more
Simon Robs
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
A book of poems, the best of which (for me) are the titles funny, clever, quirky. They are mostly love poems and/or paeans to his long blonde lover. There was a fun series of nine or so poems with Baudelaire as central character; and, a few with Hamlet, Ophelia, too. It is a Beat style collection more free flow riffs than anything. The kind of poems to pass around between friends reading aloud at campfire whilst getting high on whatever. Just fun.
Amanda
I live in the Twentieth Century
and you lie here beside me. You
were unhappy when you fell asleep.
There was nothing I could do about
it. I felt helpless. Your face
is so beautiful that I cannot stop
to describe it, and there's nothing
I can do to make you happy while
you sleep.
...more
Nate D
Am I much of a poetry reader?
No, I am not.
But this, nonetheless, is easy to enjoy.
Jackson
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Re-read after about 10 or 15 years -- probably more, actually. Some good poems, many not-so-good, but it's over quick and overall entertaining. ...more
Sabine Berzina
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
5, since I couldn't rate it lower because of "Star Hole" ...more
Phillip Bost
Jul 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
I don't have anything nice to say about this. ...more
Ju$tin
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
2.5

eh

some of these were good-great

most were just ok-bad
tortoise dreams
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Brautigan's first commercially published book of poetry (at age 33), including new poems and works collected from his earlier alternatively published books.

Poetry Review: The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster collects poetry from 1957 to 1968, including previously unpublished poems. Published the same year as Woodstock, the collection embodies the spirit of the Sixties while capturing personal, emotional moments and predicting the poetry of the future. Richard Brautigan (1935-84)
...more
Nickolette
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I was reminded to look for Brautigan again, of all people, by Harry Styles and his Watermelon Sugar. What a cool guy. Brautigan that is. So San Francisco.

On the cover of The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster is one of his lovers, Marcia Pacaud. He put three of his lovers on different book covers. I like that. Love is important.

As for the poems, like any compilation of works, some you love, some you don't care about, a few you don't even understand. As a whole, they are easy, fun, opening
...more
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Richard Brautigan was an American novelist, poet, and short-story writer. Born in Tacoma, Washington, he moved to San Francisco in the 1950s and began publishing poetry in 1957. He started writing novels in 1961 and is probably best known for his early work Trout Fishing in America. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1984. ...more

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“Boo, Forever

Spinning like a ghost
on the bottom of a
top,
I'm haunted by all
the space that I
will live without
you.”
139 likes
“I saw thousands of pumpkins last night
come floating in on the tide,
bumping up against the rocks and
rolling up on the beaches;
it must be Halloween in the sea”
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