All the Broken Fire Escapes to Heaven in One Room


My name is James Norman. I wrote a book of poetry about ten years ago and just got around to getting it published. Not sure what to do about finding an audience, but I can say thus far everybody keeps comparing it to Chuckles (my pet name for Bukowski.) So I thought I might try here.

I have mixed feelings about the comparison, same as I do about the man. In his more vulnerable moments, he was one of the best. At others, he was not much different than any other common alcoholic bully, and he reminded me more of my grandfather than anything else. in fact, these are the same kind of criticisms I often level at myself. But his attitude towards the institution of "literature" surely reflects my own. I learned more about writing holding a jackhammer still to caliche rock for an hour at a time in the hill country of Texas than I ever did listening to sycophants try to confuse each other into submission with numbing streams of meaningless jargon.

I had a lot of time to think between finishing this and publishing this. I spent a lot of time out round the sticks on a farm in Humboldt in isolation, drinking warm Olys for breakfast, washing them down with slightly more lukewarm Folgers. It was good for something, though I'm not sure what yet. I had a typewriter to keep me grounded, even when it felt like parody. And the stars at night were hot and bright, magnetic as any series of bad decisions. I leaned into it. Even when the weight felt enough to crush me. All the Broken Fire Escapes to Heaven in One Room was the result.

Anyway, here's a sample:

[Sorry, no poetry by forum members. -ed.]

I know this is shameless, but I also know it's hard to function outside of the establishment, both as an author and a reader. It has been incredibly difficult for me to find authors who speak to me personally, and damn near impossible to find any contemporary ones. Fortunately I found this publishing company, Zeitgeist Press, and after a long time of admiring the work they put out, I somehow managed to trick them into putting out a book of mine. Anyway, if you are bored, or feel like gambling, I suggest you check it out. Above poem is probably the closest I come to Chuckles - in a way it's almost a ripoff, as a few of them are - but I am confident my own voice rises above the derivative parts. I am still actively writing. I have five books done, all to be published over the next few years, and I am always working on the next project.

Also, if this isn't so much your speed, let me suggest a book I didn't write, which appeals to a lot of the same parts of the brain as Bukowski.

Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliot Chaze

It's hard boiled pulp, but he has a way with language I've only ever seen in Fante.

Or try Creezy by Felicien Marceau.

French Novel from the sixties about an affair that goes awry.

Or The Death of Artemio Cruz by Fuentes

An underrated Latin American Classic that can be difficult at times because of the stream of consciousness perspective of the fever-delirious narrator, but it filled with moments of uncomfortably beautiful writing.


And here's a link to zeitgeist press, where you can find my book.

Founding member
Over 500 posts
Are we posting excerpts from our books now? As a brand new member, for my very first post about supporting small presses on this site about Buk I'd like to post my first chapter... Let's see how that goes over.