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A Visitor Complains... (1 Viewer)


Founding member
fuck, Erik, you oversniped me :D I was hoping to get this one, I really did. It'd be my first collector's item. Too bad!

[Old eBay link.]

Actually, my idea is NOT to collect B stuff. I have 99% of the things published up to 1969, but after that there are a lot of things which were not available at the UCSB, Tucson, etc. So my idea is to get them, xerox them and sell them back at the same price I bought them, more or less. I mean, I'm no collector and I have no money for collecting seriously, and this item is pretty rare and usually much more expensive than those $132. Note Billy bid $100 on this one!

congrats, Erik. Could you please send me a Xerox of the poem? :D That's all I want, really.
:D :D :D :D

Yeah, i'm happy!
I thought it would go for a lot more and there would be no chance that I'd win.
It's funny, I tried to buy this title from Billy years ago, but he was pretty firm with the price and I wouldn't do it.

Will certainly e-mail you scan of it,...
I don't know the poem either.
Just pray to the Printer/Scanner gods ;)

I was mighty afraid somebody here was going to mention this item,
Didn't she sneak on and off e-bay quietly! (well on anyway)
You're not going to like me if I tell you,
Or I should say, You'll be kicking yourself in the bum.....
Suffice to say that 3 is my lucky #,
And no, it wasn't $333 or $233,
But you're getting close :>
Yeah, I was only going up .40 more!

Ah see some things are better left unsaid,
And yes,
I'm grateful to the smiling e-bay gods :>
cirerita said:
I was meant to be overbid by less than a goddamned dollar! oh, well...
Ha. Well, I won one by $0.99 the other day, but I've also lost them by less than a buck, so it swings both ways.
I just got this little book today....
I've been talking a bit (via e-mail)
With the seller and it turns out the seller is the publisher!
Really cool sounding guy,....
I directed him to this site->
I hope he joins.
I will type out this poem, A Visitor Complains_____ in a bit,
But man, what a nifty publication.....

000_warhol pics + 001.jpg
Here is some of the e-mail he sent me, he said it was okay to post here....

>> Hey Peter,
> Or should I call you Mr Publisher?!?!?!
> It suddenly dawned on me as I was opening the book...
> Why didn't you say anything?
> Nifty little production by the way,
> I hope you are still in the business,
> You are obviously very talented.

Thanks for the kind words. I haven't done much publishing since the late 80s when my kids made the transition from talent to solid food.

But it's true I published that book. And owing to various difficulties including not finding enough of those little dollhouse door knobs, the collapse of my publishing empire, losing my day job and other things, a few copies of the book never got circulated and that's how I was able to send you one--it's been warehoused for 20 years. I still have 1 or 2 that came back from bookstores damaged or from wrong addresses and such, and one other pretty good one that I posted on Amazon yesterday. After that, there's no more where they came from.

I ran into the photographer Michael Montfort at the post office in Hollywood when I was mailing one of the books, and he told me Bukowski loved it and had just shown it to him at his house. But I didn't talk to Bukowski about it after the book came out, because after it came out John Martin took umbrage and felt that it violated his lifelong deal with Bukowski, and suddenly I was negotiating with Martin and I don't remember Bukowski entering into the discussion.

I had developed cordial relations w/ Bukowski through publishing many of his poems in various littles magazines before that, and from having hooked him up with my friend Patrick Roth who made the first feature film from Bukowski's work, a pilot for German TV I think (Bukowski appeared in it, kind of like Alfred Hitchcock introducing the story. After its premiere in Hollywood I never heard anything else about it but it was quite good. I think the story was called "The Killers".)

As I started publishing books I would ask Bukowski if he'd care to do a chapbook of some kind but he always said no until one day he said yes. But somehow, in making the deal with Bukowski, I flew sideways around John Martin. His lifetime contract with Bukowski was not yet legendary. In other words I had been a fool rushing in where angels feared to tread. So Martin wouldn't let Bukowski sign the endsheets.

I put the book out anyway, having already gone to the expense of printing it. Martin asked me to send him 10% of of the edition (i.e., about 25 copies) so that he could sell them to his best customers with Bukowski's signature on them, and both of my kneecaps are intact to this day.

> Thanks again,
> And I hope to hear from you,
> Eric (here is a great forum, I would think you could contribute some
> valuable knowledge.... Click here: Charles Bukowski

That's a great site--had never seen it.

The manuscripts section reminded that I published and accepted some poems from Bukowski in the 70s and 80s whose eventual fate I never learned. A couple of them I never did get around to publishing, and some may not have ended up in books. I'm not enough of a Bukowski scholar to know.

I published a magazine in 1980 called "Orpheus" whose first issue included a 4-page solid unindented virtually unpunctuated slab of primo Bukowski from 1978. When I Googled the title just now, which is "kuv stuff mox out," I expected to see what book it got reprinted in but there are no references to it. I sold the manuscript for $100 about 10 years ago in a state of desperation, a state which has lasted to this day despite the hundred bucks. But I do have a couple of copies of the issue which I'm now inspired to put on eBay.

> You know you could have gotten a lot more for A Visitor ____
> If you said that you were the publisher and the book was uncirculated
> etc.
> (I even see a copy on ABE where the price is jacked up $100 because
> you signed it)

That I didn't know. I signed it? Hmm. I do remember someone asking me to sign one. I think it was a local bookseller to whom I also sold a Bukowski mss. That's pretty exciting. Right now, even if I signed a check for $100 it wouldn't be worth $100. But as I say, I'll think of something.

> I hope you asked more on Amazon, I haven't checked.

I think I listed it at $200. I'm not really clear on how that works so I don't know what their cut is or whether I have to sell it if they find a buyer.

> You ought to introduce yourself on that Buk forum,
> I am sure you would find many buyers,
> And certainly many ears.

Ears I don't need. As for buyers, I don't need many more of them either as I handed over most of my archives to USC Special Collections and don't have much left to sell. I do uncover things once in awhile.

Every time I drive past Bukowski's childhood house, which is in a strangely invisible and out-of-the-way pocket of L.A., neither Hollywood nor Southcentral nor Westside, I wonder if someone should buy it and start a Bukowski museum. A syndicate of concerned fans.

> Looking at this book, man,
> The world certainly is unfair
> If you aren't currently publishing.

This was all before the internet. It would be easier now to communicate w/ one's niche audience for such books. So I might start up again someday. On the other hand, In those days I made a living as a typesetter and printing broker so I had access to the means of production but now, with everybody doing their own graphics and printing, those skills are not in demand and it would cost me more out-of-pocket. The list price for the series of books that included Visitor was something like $15.

> I've heard that John Martin is a prick.....

I would have preferred that he take up his issue with Bukowski instead of me. What he paid his lawyers to shake me down could have been put to better use in some other way. But that was my only contact with him. I'm in the middle of putting on eBay a long Bukowski poem I published in 1980 that includes this: "...I don't even use a major commercial publisher and I used to live off of one nickle candy bar a day typewriter in hock I printed my stuff with a pen and it came back..." So obviously John Martin had a role to play and played it well. Here, I'll attach to this the scan I made for eBay.

Okay, I am totally in awe, maybe it's just me (probably just me) but how depressing is this?!,... ANybody else out there have a copy of this title? If not, quick, go to Amazon!
thanks for sharing this... zoom man, would you mind scanning the poem itself? :D

the poem "kuv stuff mox out" remains uncollected, indeed. I do have a copy of the original -held at Tucson- and I told the publisher of Orpheus to post it here and then I'd post mine... for research purposes, of course.
Hi all,

Not to start bad blood on this great forum, but I must say this...

Those that know John Martin will stand by the fact that he is a good man and a great friend. I have never had anything bad to say about him. I see a bunch of people saying unkind things. If he had done something to hurt you personally, then you certainly have cause. Otherwise, you are just talking. John Martin's business grew with Bukowski's fame, but it was very much Buk's great writing AND John Martin's publishing and business sense that allowed this. Even with the great work that Loujon did with Buk's work, they were not able to get him to the level that John Martin did. As Buk grew, so did Black Sparrow. Buk certainly appreciated the relationship. A few flame outs over letters during a 28 year friendship does not mean that they were not quite close and appreciated what each did FOR each other.

That is my two cents.

All best,
bospress.net said:
If he had done something to hurt you personally, then you certainly have cause.
Well, that was the case with me. Just as you have nothing bad to say about him, I have nothing good to say about him. My interaction with him, that is. Which has nothing to do with Martin and Bukowski's relationship.

I think it's good to get all sides of the story. I welcome the posts here that paint Martin or Bukowski in a less than perfect light. Because the truth is John Martin isn't a saint and he isn't a prick. He's somewhere between, like all of us.

There will be more than enough positive input to far outweigh the negative.
mjp said:
Isn't this the same poem?

a visitor complains
The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain - pg. 97 - 2004

Almost,... it's interesting the differences.
Small really, but quite noticeable.
The poem in The Flash of Lightning
Is more polished, sort of, but wordier,
It sounds less like Buk and more like someone trying to make it more accessible
If that makes sense.
I wish I could let you all see them side by side
zoom man said:
It sounds less like Buk and more like someone trying to make it more accessible
If that makes sense.
Yes, it makes sense. Martin would often go over the previously published poems and make revisions before the Black Sparrow editions were put out.

Bukowski wrote about his unhappiness with the first proof of Women, which was apparently full of Martin's "improvements," which Bukowski made him remove. Seems to me, as someone who has read 95% of Bukowski's work, published and unpublished, that the later collections have many changes that are not in keeping with Bukowski's own revisions. In other words, more Martin "improvements."
that's why it's interesting to compare the original publications with the Ecco ones.

snapshots of the original publication, courtesy of zoom man





Here is more mail I rec'd from the publisher of A Visitor....

On Apr 7, 2006, at 2:28 PM, [zoom man] wrote:

> In a message dated 4/7/2006 5:00:21 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> pshneidre writes:
>> > I hope you asked more on Amazon, I haven't checked.
>> I think I listed it at $200. I'm not really clear on how that works so
>> I don't know what their cut is or whether I have to sell it if they
>> find a buyerMan I would yank it,....

Well, there doesn't seem to have been any action on it. Of course, I don't know how it works, or whether anyone finds it there who isn't searching directly for it by title. So, notwithstanding your excellent p.r. work on the Bukowski forum, I'm not sure how many potential buyers there are right now even though there seems to be an acknowledgment that the item is worth something.

Yes, I did find the Bukowski.net thread you started, though a couple of days later when I checked again, it seemed to have disappeared.

On the issue raised there about John Martin's character: whatever he or anyone else is like as a person, which doesn't fall within my area of interest or expertise, there might have been a bit of goodcop/badcop in his repping of Bukowski. In the Visitor Complains incident, Bukowski remained strangely silent as if he'd been caught in a misdemeanor by a big brother he didn't want to further upset. Obviously, Martin couldn't have allowed just anyone to put out Bukowski product, since he was perfectly capable of flooding the market himself. So in time-honored fashion he took on the bad-cop role, thus freeing Bukowski to be more of a saint. Or, what's harder, a poet.

Publishers aren't just middlemen between the genius and the customer. They shape the vision quite a lot and can be just as inspired or obsessed as any author. As with authors, you have to take them or leave them.

Regards and thanks again,

P. Shneidre

don't forget: shneidre.org

zoom man said:
In the Visitor Complains incident, Bukowski remained strangely silent as if he'd been caught in a misdemeanor by a big brother he didn't want to further upset.
This makes me laugh,
Sounds both very like OUR MAN and very anti him

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