Mystery Poem

In the realm of Tacoma based oddities I discovered this bit of video from a lead by artist Chris Sharp. At 3:10 in this clip the Tacoma born poet Richard Brautigan reads a little mystery story he titled Dashiell Hammett a la Mode. The novelist, poet and short story writer found celebrity while living in San Francisco during the counterculture 60’s but as a boy growing up in Tacoma in the late 40’s he devoured mystery novels and pulp fiction. The minimal spare storytelling voice of the pulps was a characteristic of Brautigan’s hallucinogenic literary style. What makes this poem so interesting is the intersection of Brautigan and Hammett, both writers who found Tacoma in their own travels and in the stories they told. Something for the file on Tacoma books and letters.





For background on Dashiell Hammett and Tacoma Noir and pulp fiction check out earlier stories.

A Shooting


Tacoma Noir

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This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.

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