Books about Bukowski

Can anyone recommend books, though not necessarily biographies, about Buk?

I have:

Sunlight Here I Am ? David Stephen Calonne (interviews spanning thirty years, excellent)

Drinking With Bukowski ? Daniel Weizmann (essays about Buk, some good, some not very good)

Laughing With The Gods ? Fernanda Pivano (one long interview from 1980, satisfying)

Bukowski Unleashed ? Essays on a Dirty Old Man (the first book of a Bukowski journal; essays, comic strips, drawings. not great.)

As well as the Sounes and Cherkovski biographies.

Is there anything else out there that?s a good read?
 

mjp

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Jory Sherman - Bukowski: Friendship, Fame & Bestial Myth - 1981

Gerald Locklin - Charles Bukowski: A Sure Bet - 1996

Steve Richmond - Spinning Off Bukowski - 1996

A.D. Winans - The Charles Bukowski/Second Coming Years - 1996

John Thomas - Bukowski In The Bathtub - 1997

Ben Pleasants - Visceral Bukowski - 2004
 

chronic

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There's also "Against the American Dream: Essays on Charles Bukowski" by Russell Harrison (1995). I haven't read it so I can't recommend it, but apparently John Martin thought it good enough to publish under the Black Sparrow imprint.

BTW, if anyone here has read this I'd like to hear some opinions on it.
 

mjp

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It put me to sleep. I couldn't even finish it.
 

Brother Schenker

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chronic said:
There's also "Against the American Dream: Essays on Charles Bukowski" by Russell Harrison (1995). I haven't redd it so I can't recommend it, but apparently John Martin thought it good enough to publish under the Black Sparrow imprint.

BTW, if anyone here has redd this I'd like to hear some opinions on it.
Redd it when it first came out. It's dry and has the stink of a scholarly aura but I still enjoyed it. It was nice to see someone taking Bukowski dead seriously instead of blathering on about "the poet laureate of Skid Row" and rattling off a bunch of shallow anecdotes.

I picked it up from the library...it ain't worth paying for if you ain't got alot of money, but good for a laugh (so to speak) if you can get it for free.
 

hank solo

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mjp said:
It put me to sleep. I couldn't even finish it.
How many pages did you manage? Dry? Geez. Just about put me off from any further attempts to educate myself :D
 

mjp

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hank solo said:
How many pages did you manage?
Looks like the bookmark is about a third of the way in. I never quit a book or movie or anything part way through, so it had to be pretty stinky for me to give up.

There is something kind of sad about the "educated" people who buy into the cult of language and superiority. Most people who define themselves by one aspect of their lives (academics, body builders, moonies) are lacking in any other skill or ability, so they put all their eggs into one basket. And you remember what your grandmother said about that. They have their clubs and groups for self-protection more than anything.

I certainly understood Harrison's writing, it wasn't over my head or anything. It was just unnecessarily academic and boring. Like making a movie about Picasso's work on black and white film.
 

cirerita

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I've read the book twice. If you take away the jargon and the bullshit, there are a few interesting ideas there.

and there's a good movie on Picasso's work shot in B&W back in the 50's by a genius named Clouzot.

it's here:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049531/

I just noticed it was actually shot in B&W and Color.
 

mjp

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Okay --- like making a movie about Picasso's work on black and white film, NOW, in the twenty first century. How's that? That would be pretty stupid, wouldn't it?

There may well be interesting ideas in Harrison's book, but he didn't intend for me to read them, so I really don't give a damn about them. I'm not his target audience.
 

ClassIntellectual

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HenryChinaski said:
i want the cherkvoski bio. he seems like a cool guy.
One would think, but the bio is atrocious. I found all sorts of typos, and the writing style is generally horrible. Interesting for another perspective of Buk's life, but pretty much only for that...
 

HenryChinaski

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really...well i got one on ebay for three bucks. should that be an idication as to the value of the book?

good or not, I still need to read it and have it for the collection.
 

theeffects

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One that sticks out in my memory;
Bukowski in the Bathtub
It's a HELL of a lot more interesting (and shorter for those with small attention spans..) than HANK bio. John Thomas talked about (not often mentioned) Buk's 'occasional' drug use and other interesting topics that Cherkovski seemed to miss... WaterRow Books has copies, if interested.
 
I never really know what to make of Cherkovski. I don't really care for his poetry (the little that I have heard) and I never really have the impression that he's interested in letting others interpret BUK in a way contrary to his. For instance in HANK, his detail focus is odd. He details some events more than others, like any biographer, but skips over significant periods of BUK's life, while devoting a whole chapter to a single night he and BUK were drinking and BUK exposed himself on a busy city street to passers-by. The moment is technically insignificant as it relates to BUK's career and books, but it obviously made a big impression on Cherkovski. I guess I just get the impression sometimes that he is trying to make more of himself in BUK's life than he really was.
 

Olaf

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There is something kind of sad about the "educated" people who buy into the cult of language and superiority.

I loath this attitude. The minute someone is 'educated' or 'academic' they are immediately dismissed because of this....what a lot of bullshit...what a lot of Bukowski imitators there are out there...

A lot of good fucking people are smart as fuck y'know!
Educated, intellectual, academic...and they didn't even go to University or College...and even if they did who gives a fuck...let their actions speak more than any claim authority...but don't jsut dismiss it off right...
 
Olaf, I think what the previous posters were saying in regards to Russell Harrison's Against the American Dream: Essay's on Charles Bukowski is that they did not care for the stiff academic presentation. I don't think anyone was dismissing Harrison's views as 'bullshit', rather I think they were just expressing an exasperation of sifting through academic writing aimed at academic readers.

I don't think anyone has any question about Harrison's intellectual abilities, I don't think anyone is saying that he isn't smart. He is and I think everyone, including me can say they appreciated something about the ideas in his book. In general educated, intellectual and academic are all fine, but just because it is coming from an educated source, doesn't necessarily mean I want to read it. I find some of Foucault's ideas fascinating and challenging. But all in all, it's a real feat for me to sit down and read his books. It's not because I think he's full of shit, or I can't understand him, it's because I don't at all care for the way he writes.

Bukowski himself didn't have much use for this type of writing, and that's something that draws a lot of readers, including myself, to his writings. That being said, I am frankly quite surprised you don't expect a lot of the other people on this forum to share that same opinion.

Anyway, go easy man, we're all friends here, except for the Music Company Stooge....have you heard about the 'Factotum' soundtrack ? :D
 

Olaf

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I did hear about the music soundtrack hack! I'm sure I raised my voice to him in one message or other.

I may come across as reactionary quite often largely because I am, sometimes I just weary that people here like to imitate Bukowski as if everything than man said was some kind of gospel.

i.e. Bukowski slags all intellectuals as fakers therefore all intellectuals are fakers.

I hear what you are saying about some writing, particularly philosophical writing, not being a sort of reading for many...and it is always good to know your limitations and tastes...but just to dimiss it all outright as some kind of grand 'conspiracy of intellect' is farcical...i know noone has done this...but it I owulnd't put it passed some.
 

mjp

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There is something kind of sad about the "educated" people who buy into the cult of language and superiority.

I loath this attitude. The minute someone is 'educated' or 'academic' they are immediately dismissed because of this....what a lot of bullshit...what a lot of Bukowski imitators there are out there...

A lot of good fucking people are smart as fuck y'know!
Educated, intellectual, academic...and they didn't even go to University or College...and even if they did who gives a fuck...let their actions speak more than any claim authority...but don't jsut dismiss it off right...
How does finding the cult of language and superiority (I should have said language as superiority) sad make me a Bukowski imitator? You jump from apples to oranges to cake to drain cleaner and never stop to take a breath. man.

I considered people who wrapped themselves in the cocoon of academia (and pontificated endlessly from its safety) to be sad long before I knew the name Bukowski. But that goes for any group that insulates itself with language that only that group can understand. Computer geeks, car geeks, name your geek. It's all sad when it is used as a badge of superiority.

Sad, not bad. Ya dig?
 

the only good poet

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surprised nobody has mentioned jules smith's art, survival and so forth (the poetry of CB). personally i found this the most interesting, inciteful and informative book on the man and his work. it towers. nice format, too. enjoyed reliving buk through jean-francois duval's bukowski and the beats. that's worth a look in, i guess. also not mention here is gundolf s. freyermuth's "that's it." a final visit with charles bukowski. can't remember if this book was any good or not, which is a bad sign, for me as much as for the book...?
 

cirerita

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I didn't mention Smith's because it was a dissertation turned into book format, and it's quite scholarly and academic. His review of the "littles" is good, tough.

Freyemurth's is a good one, too. He sure knows how to write, and the interview is pretty interesting.
 

the only good poet

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on the back cover of a.d. winans' the charles bukowski/second coming years there's a blurb by colin wilson. does anyone know if c.w. wrote anything more on b. than this blurb? i think i once asked kevin ring of the beatscene, but he didn't seem to know about wilson. i liked the blurb. how did it materialise? wilson's written some stuff......
 

cirerita

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I think the Hunchback is the worst of the biographies. I found it slow and the writing was some kind of poetic prose, and I don't think that's the best approach to write a bio.

There's another thread somewhere in the forum where I discussed which are the best books about B to me.
 
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