A 50th Anniversary Reinterpretation of Richard Brautigan’s
Please Plant This Book
Coming March 20, 2018 exclusively through The Head & The Hand Press to support
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“One of the superpowers of the artist is the ability to speak with the dead, to braid the voice of a departed beloved in with their own. In this collection, Francis Daulerio and Scott Hutchison have captured that bit of essential magic, braiding their unique collaboration with the spirit of Richard Brautigan’s seminal 1968 Please Plant This Book. The effect is staggering, gorgeous, essential. In one of Brautigan’s original poems, he wrote ‘The only hope we have is our / children and the seeds we give them.’ In your hands you hold both the children and their seeds—what an impossible luck. As Daulerio writes in the final poem of this collection: ‘We exist for a season / then turn our soil / over to new blooms.'”
– Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf
“The best poetry collections invite us to read and reread, taking away some new sweetness each time we revisit the work. Please Plant This Book does that and more—it invites us not only to savor these poems, but to share them in the most tangible of ways, in ‘places full of bright, growing life.'”
– Kelly Davio, author of It’s Just Nerves
“Francis has written a beautiful collection of poems about a subject I would do well to immerse myself more fully in. Of all the superlatives I could proffer, I am stuck on but one. It is the perfect read for a 30-degree and cloudy Monday morning. A book that encourages a thoughtful and positive approach to the beginning of something new.”
– Richard Edwards, Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset
“Francis Daulerio is a masterful poet, but more so, a callus-handed gardener, slowly peeling back the layers of the simple and often unseen beauty of the human experience.”
—Gregory Alan Isakov, The Weatherman
“With poems like “German Chamomile” and “Berlicum Carrot,” plant names that are poems themselves, this book is a beautiful companion to Richard Brautigan’s 1968 original: spare, relaxed, wise, and true. What is this feeling washing over me as I read these poems? My god, it’s happiness. I’d almost forgotten it. As Daulerio writes, in “Henry Wilde Sunflower”: “There is still room for us here. // Do not let your eyes adjust / to the darkness.” I’m grateful to this book for the light it’s shining. Just imagine what will grow in that light.”
—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones
It’s been awhile. Hopefully you’ve been keeping warm. There’s still snow here in Pennsylvania, but spring is out there somewhere, feeling around in the dark for a place to set its roots and bring us all back to life. I’d like to tell you about a new sort-of-book that will be coming out next year, on the first day of spring in 2018.
Richard Brautigan released Please Plant This Book in 1968 as a collection of seed packets printed with poems. Hand-made and passed out around the San Francisco Bay Area, the poems talked about hope for the future, growth, and represented an important point in the career of a man who would go on to release what I believe is some of the most beautiful contemporary writing in this country. Sadly, Richard’s career was cut short when he took his own life in 1984 after a life-long battle with depression.
Fast forward 32 years.
After teaching a class on contemporary poetry and asking my students to analyze some of Brautigan’s poems, I spent my long commute home thinking about how I might pay tribute to someone who has been so motivating for me. I’d been working for almost a year on a second collection, but it was floundering and didn’t feel much like something I’d care to release. So on that drive down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the wheels, as they say, started turning.
As the darkening afternoons of fall set in, I sent emails out across the country to farmers, agricultural companies, and small presses I thought might be interested in helping with a recreation of Please Plant This Book, which happens to be turning 50 next year. Over the course of the next six months, we developed what will be a new release of poetry and art in an unusual format.
On March 20, 2018, we will release the 50th Anniversary Reinterpretation of Please Plant This Book, a collaboration between Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, MIDCO Global Agricultural Supply, and The Head & The Hand Press. I’ve partnered again with Scott Hutchison to create eight poems and illustrations, which will be printed on eight varieties of vegetable, flower, and herb seeds. There will only be five hundred, hand-numbered bundles sold, and thanks to generous donations from our sponsors, all of the proceeds will be donated to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Scott and I are hoping this will be a large amount, so we’ll also be selling a few limited packages with some interesting extras. More on that later.
Preorders will begin next winter, so get your gardens ready.
Until then, do not let your eyes adjust to the darkness.