Aspiring scholar. (1 Viewer)

Hello all,

I'm a new user to the site, and a (relatively) new fan of Bukowski. I discovered his works about 4 years ago when a friend of mine suggested that I read Post Office. It took me 3 years to get through the novel, but once I finished it, I read Ham on Rye, Women, and Factotum within the next month. I have also read his poetry collections "The Pleasures of the Damned" and "Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way" from cover to cover, and am working on "The People Look like Flowers at Last."

I really enjoy his works, some more than others, obviously. He has inspired me to write some poems of my own, and though I've written about 30 of them, I only consider 5 or so to be any good. That is the way it goes in writing, however.

That being said, I am a senior-level English major and am interesting in doing some graduate-level work on Bukowski once I finish my B.A. I've enrolled in a class dedicated to Faulkner, and as interesting as that may be, I'd rather be studying Bukowski. I have searched the internet for colleges which offer courses dedicated to his works and have come up empty handed. My advisor suggested that surely some schools in L.A. would have professors dedicated to Bukowski, but I'd like to know for sure.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
At California State University, Long Beach, they had Gerald Locklin, old friend of Bukowski, who was teaching English. He's Emeritus now, but maybe they still teach Bukowski.

Also Robert Sandarg at University of North Carolina at Charlotte does academic work on Bukowski. I don't know if he teaches him though.

Then there would be John Keating, but he has left Welton Academy long ago and I don't know, where he is now.
Wish I could help direct you properly. I, too, was an English major in college and what a terribly fucked up lot of profs I had. They pushed hush puppy poets and genital wringing writers at me with the added mix of deconstructing all lit that was worth a damn. My advice - read Bukowski's roll the dice and Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea and if you get the gist, then you'll buffer yourself to any damage these profs may do (or have already done). Ask the ugliest, fattest girl on campus out for lunch and hang on every word she says, go to a bar and pick a fight with the meanest mother you can find, go to a foreign country without a dime in you pocket, board a train parts unknown, etc. Now that shit will spice up your poetry.
I have searched the internet for colleges which offer courses dedicated to his works and have come up empty handed.
The type of writer who goes to the trouble to get a college degree doesn't typically appreciate Bukowski. I don't imagine there are a lot of professors who would want to teach an entire class on him - who would attend? And of the one or two that did want to teach him, I doubt there are many who have the pull to get it by the boards and committees that would have to OK it.

What would you teach someone about Bukowski in a college course? There's nothing to learn. You can tear apart his work and try to apply traditional poetic analysis to it. People have done that. The results are usually funny enough. Though I don't think any of them were aiming for humor.

Honestly, brah, there's nothing to learn. You're trying too hard. Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.
It's not so much that I want to come up with a doctoral thesis based around the life of Bukowski. It's that now that I've been in college for 6 years now and have decided that all I really want to do with my life is be a writer, I need something to show for the past few rings around the sun and the 100 grand I've thrown to the wind.

I'm not specifically a fan of all the work that goes into the deconstruction of literature, but if I have to do it, I'd rather do it over a writer I enjoy.

Thanks for all the replies, by the way.

Lockin may be exactly the man I'm looking for--and even if he is retired, the collection of his works would definitely be something worth looking into. I appreciate the help.
Welcome, americana! Compared to many here, I too have only recently discovered Bukowski. My first experience with him was "Sifting Through the Madness..." back in '03, I think. Since then, I've gobbled almost any poetry book I've ever seen on the shelf. And a couple novels, too. Factotum and Women. I think my next will be Post Office.
If you search through this very forum you may become enlightened about the great Bukowski. There is enough in here to exceed anything any university could offer about Bukowski. You will have to buy your own books and CDs and DVDs.

Read this thread, for example.
You have all been very helpful.

Could I get some more words of advice? I know that his newer poetry collections are all mostly rehashed from his older ones. Would it be best to go out and get copies of the ones released in the 70s?
[...] newer poetry collections are all mostly rehashed from his older ones.

that goes only for the latest one.
the others mostly contain poems that weren't collected in books before.
Still it might be a good idea to read some of those published while Hank was alive.
You have all been very helpful.

Could I get some more words of advice? I know that his newer poetry collections are all mostly rehashed from his older ones. Would it be best to go out and get copies of the ones released in the 70s?

What roni says is true; only a few of his recent collections contain "re-hashed" material, with the occasional previously un-published poem scattered in there. Other posthumous poetry collections include those poems generally not published during his lifetime for whatever reason.

But the answer to your question, from a pure perspective of "I'd like to get a better understanding of how Bukowski's poetry evolved" is an absolute yes.

Ask several people around these parts and you'll get several+1 different answers about different phases of his work; poetry in particular. No matter how you separate it, there was the earlier, wordier, somewhat more surreal style, that evolved into a still somewhat wordy but a bit more Earthly style, that evolved into a more succinct style that...well, you get it. There are more possible breakdowns within these categories, for sure. The following represents my own "off the top of my head" analysis and opinion. All of his periods demonstrate some of the prior and following, if you follow.

Good examples for not a lot of $$$:

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. 1974 - compilation, but the repeats are no longer in print except in a few cases in recent volumes. Forget what the book ranking to the left says, this may well be his best book period. A nice selection of works from 1955-1974. I've worn my copy out.

The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills. 1969. A transistional volume from the somewhat surreal to the visceral.

Dangling in the Tournefortia. 1981. This demonstrates more evolution, or devolution if you're a cynic.

You Get So Alone at Times that it Just Makes Sense. 1986. Fully developed into a much more terse style.

The Last Night of the Earth Poems. 1992. This one really ties a fair bit together near the end of his days.

I've left several out, and they are also very good. But to me, these map out a course that will give you a sense of what the hell happened. You should be able to find all of these on ebay in very good (a bookseller's term) or better for less than $10 if not less than $7 each.

I only post this because you seem genuine about your interest, and frankly, I haven't contributed nearly enough to this site as of late.
wow, poptop with paragraph breaks only better. Thank you P. Stickpin. I have to say I agree with your opinion, don't worry mjp is right around the corner.

Just a bit of scotch on the rocks..
Well, the [return] key continues to rest just underneath my right pinky; I don't find it so terribly difficult to hit it now and again.

I've also given up scotch for the time being. Only red wine and then some :eek: abstinence :eek: on the horizon.
Thanks for the in-depth reply, Purple Stickpin. I found an auction on ebay a few days ago, a collection of 10 books, which I hope I win. It contains several of the books you mentioned, as well as a few repeats of what I already have.

Suppose I could try to get somebody else into Bukowski by giving them as a gift.

If I win, I'll be the proud owner of Hot Water Music, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, Love is a Dog from Hell, The Days Run Away like Wild Horses Over the Hills, Mockingbird Wish Me Luck, and Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame.

Pretty excited really. I know one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but the bright orange of Burning in Water is very enticing.
Filmed almost entirely at St. Andrew's Academy in Middletown, DE.

We're a small state and need to get a shout out whenever we can.

Sorry to take this off topic.

[...] The Days Run Away [...], Mockingbird Wish Me Luck, and Burning in Water, [...]

'Burning' IS great. And since in its foreword he also talks about the earlier books that made the first 3 quarters of 'Burning' and gives good insight, you should start with this one. (He also talks about 'Days run away' and 'Mockingbird' in this foreword.)

So by now it's pretty obvious that I haven't seen Dead Poets Society.

It's never too late to watch a magnificent movie!


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