Bound For Glory (1 Viewer)


If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
Founding member
I'm just finishing off Woody Guthrie's autobiography, a good rambling read. Now there's someone who has been there and done it, if you know what I mean. Tough tough life, and still walking thru it, upright. Lost his sister, mom gone insane from grief, worry, neverending hard work and Huntington's disease, father broke and broken, family split up, him living on his own from age 14... Another thread talks about Artaud insane in a madhouse. Going insane is an easy out. Staying sane, despite it all, now there's the rub. Guthrie got stuffed into a madhouse on account of the shrinks mistaking Huntington's disease for psychosis. Guthrie never complained. Tough bastard.

Interesting link to Buk: The autobio describes the 20s, 30s & 40s ending up in the time around Pearl Harbor. This is the same era Buk describes in many poems & stories. Guthrie's take on it fills out the picture. Buk was 10 tears younger, but belonged to the same generation, I'd say.

Another take: Guthrie has a similar writing style, using long lists of words to describe things. Take this description of Skid Row in LA around 1942:
Movie people, hoss wranglers, dead enders, stew bums; stealers, dealers, sidewalk spielers; con men, sly flies, flat foots, reefer riders; dopers, smokers, boiler stokers; sailors, whalers, bar flies, brass railers; spittoon tuners, fruit-tree pruners; cobbers, spiders, three way riders; honest people, fakes, vamps, and bleeders; saviors, saved, and side-street singers; whore-house hunters, door-bell ringers; footloosers, rod riders, caboosers, outsiders; honkey tonk and whiskey setters, tight-wads, spendthrifts, race-horse betters; blackmailers, gin soaks, comers, goers; good girls, bad girls, teasers, whores; buskers, cornhuskers, dust bowlers, dust panners; waddlers, toddlers, dose packers, syph carriers; money men, honey men, sad men, funny men; ramblers, gamblers, highway anklers; cowards, brave guys, stools and snithces; nice people, bastards, sonsabitches; fair, square and honest folks; low, sneaking greedy people; and somewhere, in amongst all these Skid Row skidders - Cisco and me sung for our chips.

Now there's a list of old slang-words to rival Buk. Almost sounds like a song. The book is full of condensed lines like this:
The weeds turned into a jungle where spiders wolfed the ladybugs and wasps dive-bombed the spiders. A world where the new babies of one came from the dead bodies of others.
Good read.
i think it's British slang and means something like "mate" (as we say in NZ) or "buddy" (as the Americans say).
Bound for Glory is a classic American book, and Guthrie does a great job of putting a face to the suffering a lot of people went through in the depression/dust bowl days in it and a lot of his other writing.

He and Bukowski are pretty much of the same era, and they shared a lot of similarities in outlook and yeah, maybe even style, though Guthrie was certainly more optimistic and less introspective.

They were both almost obsessively prolific. But I think people who lived through those times tended to be much harder working than we may be these days.
...though Guthrie was certainly more optimistic and less introspective.
Yeah, I agree on that. It got me to thinking: Guthrie's tough times came from outside his family (from brutal nature, blind chance & society). Buk's troubles were (mainly) caused from inside his family, that is, his brutal father. Ergo: Guthrie focuses his anger and rage on the outside system, while Buk rages against the dark and weak aspects of human personalities.

Interesting that you characterize Buk as introspective. Never thought of that before, but I think you have a good point. Maybe Buk's shift in poem-style has something to do with him becoming a bit more extrovert (and shaking off the dark influence of Henry Sr.) in his later years?

They were both almost obsessively prolific. But I think people who lived through those times tended to be much harder working than we may be these days.
Again I agree. I just have to think of my (grand)parents life to confirm this. They were tougher than I'll ever be.

Users who are viewing this thread