An interview with John Martin

zobraks

Moderator
A.D.: Authors are known to be touchy, especially when it comes to editing their books.
J.M.: I rarely had to drastically edit anyone’s book. My authors knew what they were doing.

There were many big publishers that wanted Bukowski.
Let’s say he’d gone to Random House. What do you think they would have done to his books when they edited them? They would have squeezed all the juice out! As a publisher, you had to give Bukowski plenty of leeway to do what he wanted to do. It would have been a terrible mistake for him to go to a commercial publisher.
Bukowski, all the way back to that first book, At Terror Street and Agony Way in 1968, never bothered to select the poems for his own books. He would send me everything he wrote, by the week. I would keep his manuscripts on file. Then once a year I would go through the manuscripts, pick out two hundred pages, three hundred pages worth of poems, put them in order, do whatever small editing was necessary, and send Hank the proposed manuscript. He never changed a thing.
Interesting indeed.
The question remains: Who squeezed (all) the juice out then?
 
Very interesting.

He brought up the decline of books as part of his decision to sell out, which is shrewd. I, for one, continue to buy paper books because they're simply easier to read than a screen. Plus, I can sell or give a book away when I'm done with it. When I look at book reviews online there are constant complaints about the quality of the text, typos, etc.
 
Debritto: "Bukowski used to complain that you didn't put out more books per year [...]"
John Martin: "Really? He never complained to me."

Maybe Martin should have a quick look at 'On Writing', like, say the letter Bukowski wrote to him on March 5, 1986:

"My energy is being mutilated for your simple profit motive.
You keep holding back on me while my readers are in a rage for a taste of more.
My loyalty to you began as a fair and even matter.
All I want to do is to type this shit. And you only allow the people to see maybe one-sixth of my energy.
This is murder. You are killing me."
 

zobraks

Moderator
Maybe Martin should have a quick look at 'On Writing'...
Or maybe Debritto should have pointed out the letter you quoted to Martin (or rubbed his nose into it) during the interview. That would've been even better.
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
The idea of asking Martin a question about, or showing him obvious examples of, his destructive editing is pointless - and it's been done. Trying to get some sort of confession out of him is a waste of time. He will stick to his story until he croaks. You will never get "proof" from him.

The proof is in the pudding. And what happened is obvious to anyone who can read. Or as our friend Mark put it, Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? I think he said that right around the 8:18 point of the video, or whatever.
 
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