Charles Bukowski

getdownonit said:
No love for Factotum? Of course Post Office and Ham on Rye are his best works, with Women mostly good as entertainment. Haven't yet read Pulp.

I haven't done Factotum yet. I've heard good things though. So far I've done "Women", "Post Office", and "Ham on Rye", plus some random poetry.

I think he was a good writer, great at what he did. So many people read his stuff and think they could write something just as good, but it's harder than it looks to come across as sincere.

Any big Bukowski fan should check out John Fante(my avatar). "Ask the Dust" is his best work and inspired Bukowski to begin writing.

Also my favorite poem by him is "To the Whore Who Stole my Poems",

some say we should keep personal remorse from the
poem,
stay abstract, and there is some reason in this,
but jezus;
twelve poems gone and I don't keep carbons and you have
my
paintings too, my best ones; its stifling:
are you trying to crush me out like the rest of them?
why didn't you take my money? they usually do
from the sleeping drunken pants sick in the corner.
next time take my left arm or a fifty
but not my poems:
I'm not Shakespeare
but sometime simply
there won't be any more, abstract or otherwise;
there'll always be money and whores and drunkards
down to the last bomb,
but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much
poetry.
 
His best poetry collections were Burning In Water Drowning In Flames, and The Last Night Of The Earth Poems. My favorite from Burning was

a literary romance

I met her somehow through correspondence or poetry or magazines
and she began sending me very sexy poems about rape and lust,
and this being mixed in with a minor intellectualism
confused me somewhat and I got in my car and drove North
through the mountains and valleys and freeways
without sleep, coming off a drunk, just divorced,
jobless, aging, tired, wanting mostly to sleep
for five or ten years, I finally found the motel
in a small sunny town by a dirt road,
and I sat there smoking a cigarette
thinking, you must really be insane,
and then I got out an hour late
to meet my date; she was pretty damned old,
almost as old as I, not very sexy
and she gave me a very hard raw apple
which I chewed on with my remaining teeth;
she was dying of some unnamed disease
something like asthma, and she said,
I want to tell you a secret, and I said,
I know: you are a virgin, 35 years old.
and she got out a notebook, ten or twelve poems:
a life's work and I had to read them
and I tried to be kind
but they were very bad.
and I took her somewhere, the boxing matches,
and she coughed in the smoke
and kept looking around and around
at all the people
and then the fighters
clenching her hands.
you never get excited, do you? she asked.
but I got pretty excited in the hills that night,
and met her three or four more times
helped her with some of her poems
and she rammed her tongue halfway down my throat
but when I left her
she was still a virgin
and a very bad poetess.
I think that when a woman has kept her legs closed

for 35 years
it's too late
either for love
or for
poetry.
 

Tokyo Joe

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Bump.

Only a handful of Bukowski's poems ever truly moved me, but this one has a shine and strikes me as fitting for the RVFer -- who you might say is almost defined by his commitment to beating the death-in-life. (Youtube clip of a recitation by Tom Waits follows the text.)

The Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.


 

Lucky

Pelican
Gold Member
ElJefe said:
I just read Women. I didn't like it as much as Post Man and Ham on Rye, the plot was way too thin. Basically it's just a long list of field reports where he gives us a clear view of the virtue of pre-selection (by other females) and how little appearances matter when a girl has decided you're attractive. If she likes you, it becomes more a game of "don't fuck up" then anything more sinister.

I tried to read Women a couple of years ago and basically had the same opinion. I got about halfway through and just couldn't get into it.

What Bukowski book would you guys most recommend?

I'd like to try some of his other work.
 

RockHard

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I recently picked up "Pulp" at the library and thought it was awful. Like a bad Elmore Leonard ripoff.

A friend in college was really into Buk and got me turned on to his poetry. I haven't read any of his novels yet, Pulp was crap.

A tip: Spotify has a bunch of his spoken word recordings. It's something else to hear him read his own shit: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3F8lOwDiDfocMHdEorwWWH
 

Honorable Man

Woodpecker
He's my favorite poet, and maybe my favorite writer too. What a badass. I love Women, and it was my first exposure to him, but everyone frustrated at the lack of a plot should start with Ham on Rye and then continue to Post Office.
 

Robert JS

Pigeon
I make music and over the years I've spent many nights alone in tiny rooms, hunched over my instrument, working on my craft.

This Bukowski poem is about the creative struggle. It really resonated with me. It was featured in the film about him with Matt Dillon, right at the end in scene at the stripper bar.

roll the dice

if you're going to try, go all the
way.
otherwise, don't even start.

if you're going to try, go all the
way.
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
mockery,
isolation.
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you'll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you're going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
that.
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with
fire.


do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is.

- Charles Bukowski
 

AManLikePutin

Kingfisher
i've gone back to reading Bukowski after 4 years in this quarantine. Previously read woman and notes of a dirty old man. now Listening to audio book of his short stories "Most Beautiful Woman in Town and others"...

but damn, found this YouTube channel yesterday that has his poems with perfect narration and videos. Very powerful, what a genius...every line has a juice!





 
Robert JS said:
I make music and over the years I've spent many nights alone in tiny rooms, hunched over my instrument, working on my craft.

This Bukowski poem is about the creative struggle. It really resonated with me. It was featured in the film about him with Matt Dillon, right at the end in scene at the stripper bar.

roll the dice

if you're going to try, go all the
way.
otherwise, don't even start.

if you're going to try, go all the
way.
this could mean losing girlfriends,
wives, relatives, jobs and
maybe your mind.

go all the way.
it could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
it could mean freezing on a
park bench.
it could mean jail,
it could mean derision,
mockery,
isolation.
isolation is the gift,
all the others are a test of your
endurance, of
how much you really want to
do it.
and you'll do it
despite rejection and the worst odds
and it will be better than
anything else
you can imagine.

if you're going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
that.
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with
fire.


do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is.

- Charles Bukowski

Bump
 
Post Office/Women/Factotum are all very good - Ham on Rye not so good IMO.

Short stories: The most beautiful women in town ; Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness

Poetry : The days run away like wild horses over the hill
 
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