"best Buk books" to check out (1 Viewer)

I realize that I'm posting this late in the game,
but I wanted to add my list of "best Buk books"
to check out (in no particular order):

~ Love is a Dog from Hell

~ Sifting Through the Madness

~ Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame

~ Betting on the Muse

~ The Roominghouse Madrigals

~ The Last Night of the Earth Poems

~ The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps

~ Open All Night

Reading pieces from different periods of his life
shows a Bukowski who was way more than the
one-dimensional stereotype that he's too often
characterized as. And even in the post-mortem
books, there's a lot of damned good writing.

Burning in Water and Roominghouse Madrigals are absolute stellar collections. Agree with your list (although there are couple there I haven't read yet). I also liked Septuagenarian Stew - thought that was one of his strong, late collections.
The Last Night of the Earth Poems is VERY good, as good as his final novel, Pulp. Just my 2 yen, for what it's worth.
The Roominghouse Madrigals should be titled The Roominghouse Massacre because that's the first instance of Martin really fucking with Bukowski's work. The book got very mediocre reviews, just like the Posthumus collections. Bukowski was ill at the time and probably didn't read the proofs. I am committed to doing more side-by-side comparisons, but members here have already shown dozens of examples of Martin's editing. Since the original poems were published in obscure magazines that are expensive to obtain, Martin probably thought he would never be caught. But, Hey John Martin, feel free to come after me for defamation of character, because it's incredibly easy to prove what I am saying is true. HarperCollins already showed your ass to the door... Live the rest of your remaining days in shame...
Hi Pogue Mahone Athbheoim. Thanks for this information. I really appreciate it. I did know that Martin had butchered some of Bukowski's work but didn't know exactly which ones, and to what extent. Are you saying he edited ALL of the poems in Roominghouse, or just certain ones?
The fact that I still enjoyed The Roominghouse ...... poems (shall we say), despite the (no doubt) poor and unjustified edits by Martin, indicates (at least to me) that the original poems as Buk wrote them (before Martin's butchery) must be VERY strong. I know some people have rated that collection very poorly, but others have it rated very highly as well (the reviews on amazon show a mix of good and bad reviews). I tend to agree with Jack Micheline's point of view regarding Buk's poetry - the early stuff, before he became famous, is tops (not across the board, but a lot of good work), and the quality started to drop off once he (finally) became famous. I think Micheline felt Buk was a bit of a 'sellout' after his fame (after the publication of Post Office) but I don't quite agree with him on that, but I do think Buk started to get a little sloppy, or perhaps Martin was getting sloppy in allowing too much low-quality stuff in, or editing Buk's poems to make them sloppy! Now, I'm confused which of the three it is .....
Of course, it depends on the title of the book, but at the height of his fame in the 70s, I think the quality of his poetry was hit and miss (what I mean is, most books were a mix of the following 3 categories of poems: some absolutely amazing poems, some good poems, and some very 'meh' poems that personally I think should have been left out). The idea behind a 'selected poems' is a good one because a good editor (and obviously Martin had his flaws) can go make a great selection of poems that will have a bigger impact on the reader, rather than just printing everything and anything (which I sometimes got the feeling from Buk at the height of his fame, but it's not totally his fault because that's what a good editor should ALSO be about. A good editor should be able to look you straight in the face and say "hey, this is damn good, you have to print this" and also "no, Buk. You can do better than. Give me something else." And I get the feeling that either Martin didn't do that enough with Buk, or he took matters into his own hands with his own butchered edits - I haven't read any Buk biographies yet so perhaps you can fill me in more on this). That's why Ezra Pound kept putting out new books, cutting out what he thought was the 'crap' from previous collections and only keeping the 'good stuff' that still resonated years down the track. Fortunately, towards the end of his life, Buk started writing many more fantastic poems and I found him much more consistent as a poet towards the end of his career. (I always liked his prose, more or less). That's just my opinion. Feel free to cuss and discuss, and rebut, or set the record straight.
I completely agree with you. That's one of the collections I had in mind when I was talking about the great, strong work "towards the end of his life."

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