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ClassIntellectual

Founding member
As a college student who is technically studying mathematics & physics, but who has taken classes on everything from 19th century French literature to Shakespeare to poetry to intro chemistry to whatever else I made a mistake on....
I've never encountered Bukowski.

Is that a problem?
or a blessing?

---Brendan
 

SamDusky

Founding member
I feel somewhat qualified in answering your question, having begun my academic career as a physics major; then taking detours thru philosophy, music, computer science, and ending up in publishing (a professional student; in it for the pussy and drugs, if I were to be honest).

The blessing is that he will open your eyes to a view of the world that finds the sublime in the slime; heart in the midst of madness, chaos and bullshit; a compelling view of genius to be found in the simple and mundane. (I hate to get academic on you, but that?s your name.) The curse is that you run the risk of becoming addicted to his writing; and then you?ll want to read everything he ever wrote, and wonder why the world isn?t building statues to him in parks everywhere. And he?s one of the most honest people that has ever lived; even when he?s lying thru his teeth.

SD
 
sam
he lied more through what we 'believed' of his writing - i do not recall any covenant requiring agreement/blind faith - he 'lived' in all the states and all the cities and all the towns - he puked and cursed and screwed that which he chose...all fodder for his prose...i think of charles bukowski as a poet's "santa claus" - he might have been real once upon a time...but because he was 'alive' in the media does not excuse the need for 'proof' of his being...he's got to fill more than a few poet's stockings...gyrate and swear down many poet's chimmneys...fart on my christmas tree! in short...prove his mettle...

rrat
 

SamDusky

Founding member
riverrat said:
i do not recall any covenant requiring agreement/blind faith

You mean that you weren?t sworn in properly by mjp when you joined the site; signed the oath that you would always be true, upright and steadfast in your worshipful manner to the ideals of Bukhood; and never violate the code by leaving a bar sober, or a finely-turned knee untouched?
(Sorry, about that; this line was too good to leave alone; don?t get me started.)

riverrat said:
he 'lived' in all the states and all the cities and all the towns - he puked and cursed and screwed that which he chose...all fodder for his prose...i think of charles bukowski as a poet's "santa claus" - he might have been real once upon a time...but because he was 'alive' in the media does not excuse the need for 'proof' of his being...he's got to fill more than a few poet's stockings...gyrate and swear down many poet's chimmneys...fart on my christmas tree! in short...prove his mettle...

You are on a roll, my man?riff on, riff on; it?s music to my ears.

SD
 
not to me but maybe to you,you sound like the man at the party who has to have his say on eveything regardless of his knowledge on the subject . hey your not george bush are you
 

SamDusky

Founding member
You, my good man, did not make it explicit as to whom you were addressing with this little diatomous-tribe, but if, in fact, I was the intended recipient; I must say, I resemble that remark? and good on ya. [there is such a thing, my excellent fellow, that is termed, in some circles, as ironic parody; and this you would know, I?m sure, so weal just leaf this coptic missive as is; and pray for our most venerable and able president; whom you referenced. Have a sensational day, and welcome from the wood work.]

SD, knower of all Thongs
 
Did Bukowski become a Parody if himself, his style was compact and succint...or, dare I say, deceptively simple?

He used this simple still to pummel every corner of american society. All people become parodies...it just so happens most don't write it down.

Here is a pretty harsh critiscism of Buk and a view other writers by James Ellroy...

You know, I despise sordidness and minimalism. I hate Bukowski and William Burroughs and Jim Thompson, and "” Who else are they always bringing up? "” Hunter Thompson. I hate that kind of writing, I hate to be compared to these guys, because look at the hugeness of my work. Look at the formalism. Look at the layering. Look at the plot structure. Look at the complexity.
 
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hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
...look at the hugeness of my work. Look at the formalism. Look at the layering. Look at the plot structure. Look at the complexity...

Geewiz James E. You are a humble one aren't you. :eek:
 
Sure there is arrogance in his tone...Bukowski was hardly the most modest of opinion holders...I think Ellroy simply wants to distance himsefl from these 'guttural' writers...dare I say beat writers...they achieve different things with their words, they want different things...Bukowski lived in the gutter, Ellroy survived it. Honestly, in terms of hardship, I am pretty sure Ellroy wins hands down. But in the end every person has their own boat load of shame and horror. I agree with Ellroy's comments...but I also read most of those writers he trashes. Maybe I'm just one of those slugs who like's a bit of everything from the most suppoedly low brow and the most suppoedly complex highbrow.

Everything is a matter of taste and tasting - Nietzsche
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
Sure all artists can display their arrogance, its the nature of the beast. Yes Bukowski was guily of it too. I've read Ellroy a couple of times. Books is books to me. But is Bukowski really low brow? I don't know, to me a low brow book is the Helen Fielding or Dan Brown - the book that the masses go mad for and read on the tube. But then thats the snob in me crawling out.
 
O, would love to hear a bit more about your meeting with Ellroy? What was the situation, did you have decent banter? He seems like a solid guy - i.e. with a bit of substance, as you'd expect.

Hank Solo - It might be the snob in you...but I tend to agree with you....but then again...perhaps we just love to think of oursleves reading something that is 'rare and only for he very few' (and by and large I think good readers ARE rare) but then again Bukowski has sold millions....so has Dan Brown...but that's the only similarity.
 
olaf
remarks of ellroy notwithstanding...bukowski wrote of the fortitude not the form - bukowski had a gut hanging over his belt larger than any body of ellroy's pennings...
suffering? hardship? are you understanding bukowski's material? do you labor under the misconception that life as a 'bukowski' was a cake walk? ellroy & his 'hardships' are no cause for a group pity party - if you disagree please allow my invitation to be lost in the mail...make my circle of friends an eliptic...a bukowski orbit is one i prefer...

vinden pacific
rrat
 
I see your point wide and clear, riverrat.

Both writers are very different and Ellroy makes valid criticims.

Bukowski is more in my Orbit than Ellroy but I have time for both.

Regards my comments on harship: both writers wrote by an large from conseqeunce of FORTITUDE...most strong writers do.

I just don't think any writer is ABOVE a critical eye!
 

cirerita

Founding member
Ellroy was in Spain promoting one of his books -can't recall which one- and my partner works as an interpreter for a very important publishing house in Spain -the same one we translate the books for. Over the years, she has met quite a lot of interesting writers, among them Ellroy. They usually give her ALL or most of their books signed & inscribed. Sometimes -if I feel the writer is worth checking as a person- I go with her and meet the writer, chat with him for a while and then I leave them alone so the TV & newspaper people can interview him. As it turns, most media people in Spain can't speak English, that's why they need an interpreter.
 

ClassIntellectual

Founding member
popularity

Olaf said:
....but then again...perhaps we just love to think of oursleves reading something that is 'rare and only for he very few' (and by and large I think good readers ARE rare) but then again Bukowski has sold millions....so has Dan Brown...but that's the only similarity.

This exact thinking is how I got into the Velvet Underground. After first hearing "Loaded" and then moving backwards to discover the completely different "White Light/White Heat" and "VU & Nico," I discovered how amazing they were for covering such a wide range of song styles in a very short career. And I kept wondering why nobody ever bought their records when they were together!
Would I like them as much if they were the most popular band in the country? Maybe not. I might not even put in the effort to get to know them just out of the principle that the masses are generally dumb as a whole.

I mean, what if we suddenly saw "Post Office" right next to "The DaVinci Code" and both of them flying off the shelves? Would anyone rethink their own opinions of Buk?
 

SamDusky

Founding member
ClassIntellectual said:
...I might not even put in the effort to get to know them just out of the principle that the masses are generally dumb as a whole.

I mean, what if we suddenly saw "Post Office" right next to "The DaVinci Code" and both of them flying off the shelves? Would anyone rethink their own opinions of Buk?

Not a whit, my friend, not a whit. It would signal the beginning of a new utopian era of joy and drunken revelry the likes of which has not been seen since the liberation of Middle Earth. Good taste would suddenly be in vogue; writers with a little style might have a chance; music would experience a renaissance (the concept of tune and harmony would come back); a golden decade of free love would ensue (poets & authors everywhere would get laid, and often); humor and honesty would enter into the national vocabulary; countries would quit bombing each other; there would be dancing in the streets; rivers of wine would flow in the San Gabriel Wash; DUIs would be illegial; (I could go on...). Bring it on, bring it on.

SD
 

mjp

Founding member
I think a lot of people who wave the Bukowski flag would be upset if Post Office - or any Bukowski book - suddenly became ridiculously popular.

There is something about the underground and the underdog that attracts people to writers like Bukowski and obscure bands who sell 50 copies of each one of their records. And when the masses start dancing to that band, those 50 people who bought their records for years typically abandon them in search of the next great unknown thing.

I was a musician for 15 years and I saw it happen all the time. I can't think of a literary comparison though, so who knows. But something tells me many of Bukowski's most ardent admirers would be put off by seeing Post Office in the back of a soccer mom's minivan (or a mass market paperback copy of Crucifix in a Deathand)...honestly, I think it would depress me. I don't know why, it just would. It would be like the secret society was absorbed by the Elks Lodge or scientology or something.

Kind of like when Madonna "discovered" Frida Kahlo.

;)
 
Reading something you love has more to do with how you percieve it
rather than
how five million other poeple do

I have many mass market paperback copies of Buokwski.

But I'm not a mass market man.
 

ClassIntellectual

Founding member
mjp said:
There is something about the underground and the underdog that attracts people to writers like Bukowski and obscure bands who sell 50 copies of each one of their records. And when the masses start dancing to that band, those 50 people who bought their records for years typically abandon them in search of the next great unknown thing.

There is much truth to that statement, and it makes me wonder about why I enjoy certain songs/bands or poems/novels/writers or films/actors etc. etc. etc. I almost find myself trying to justify my interest in the VU despite the fact that none of the members were very good musicians, per se.
With Bukowski, though, I feel justified, because I was introduced to him randomly by my own roving hands in a dusty bookstore. I read a few poems and knew I liked him, before the image of an underselling genius emerged. Or perhaps that image emerged while I read....
Shucks, these thoughts never end!
 
Tombs of the Ancients

Just a thought on academia. It's not the sincere investigative
reseach that I usually find wanting, and useful, but some of
the conclusions based upon that research as seen through the
dry, objectified, academic mind"”as if any writer's life could
ever stand up to such dry mental scrutiny and not become
tedious or boring. But the facts and figures without the over-
arching conclusions"”yes. A contribution to flesh out the past
and perhaps put a new wrinkle in the present. "”Poptop.
 
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I guess I agree with Ellroy's desire not to be lumped in with Buk and Thompson, as they are my two favorite writers and the little I read of him seemed totally void of interest.
 

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