Brautigan > Please Plant This Book

This node of the American Dust website (formerly Brautigan Bibliography and Archive) provides comprehensive information about Richard Brautigan's poetry collection Please Plant This Book. Published in 1968, this collection of eight poems printed on seed packets placed in a folder was Brautigan's sixth published poetry book. Publication and background information is provided, along with reviews, many with full text. Use the menu tabs below to learn more.



Richard Brautigan's Please Plant This Book consisted of eight poems printed on seed packets. Four of the poems were about flowers. The other four were about vegetables.

Text on back of each seed packet read
Packed for 1968-1969 season
California Native Flowers:
Plant seed directly in the open where plants are to remain in well prepared soil after all danger of frost is past. In frost-free districts seeds may be planted in the fall. Mix seed with several times its bulk of fine soil and sew broadcast, preferably in an open sunny location. Cover any exposed seed very lightly, not over 1/8 inch and press soil down firmly. When plants are well established thin out to stand 6 inches apart as crowding produces inferior plants. Keep ground moist with fine spray until plants are well up. If allowed to remain, the plants will reseed year after year.

By default the poems are listed in random order. Use the checkboxes above to list the poems in alphabeical order or to reverse the direction of the listing.

"California Native Flowers"
California Native Flowers

In this spring of 1968 with the last
third of the Twentieth Century
traveling like a dream toward its
end, it is the time to plant books,
to pass them into the ground, so that
flowers and vegetables may grow
from these pages.

Selected Reprints
San Francisco Express Times, vol. 1, no. 9, 21 Mar. 1968, p. 1.
Learn more.

"Shasta Daisy"
Shasta Daisy

I pray that in thirty-two years
passing that flowers and vegetables
will water the Twenty-First Cent-
ury with their voices telling that
they were once a book turned by
loving hands into life.

My friends worry and they tell me
About it. They talk of the world
ending, of darkness and disaster.
I always listen gently, and then
say: No, it's not going to end. This
is only the beginning, as this book
is only a beginning.
"Sweet Alyssum Royal Carpet"
Sweet Alyssum Royal Carpet

I've decided to live in a world where
books are changed into thousands
of gardens with children playing
in the gardens and learning the gen-
tle ways of green growing things.

I thank the energy, the gods and the
theater of history that brought
us here to this very moment with
this book in our hands, calling
like the future down a green and
starry hill.

The time is right to mix sentences
sentences with dirt and the sun
with punctuation and the rain with
verbs, and for worms to pass
through question marks, and the
stars to shine down on budding
nouns, and the dew to form on

Selected Reprints
San Francisco Express Times, vol. 1, no. 9, 21 Mar. 1968, p. 5.
Learn more.


I think the spring of 1968 is a good
time to look into our blood and
see where our hearts are flowing
as these flowers and vegetables
will look into their hearts every day
and see the sun reflecting like a
great mirror their desire to live
and be beautiful.

The only hope we have is our
children and the seeds we give them
and the gardens we plant together.
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