Bukowski and the Beats

Okay, aside from reading Factotum, I've also been perusing the biography by Barry Miles. In it, Miles writes Buk is often associated with the Beats. But Buk didn't like their comraderie. Also that Buk was influenced by Ginsberg, but was jealous of his fame. Miles also said Buk and Ginsberg met once, but thought Buk's poetry was "minor." Was there a little love/hate going on there?

Anyone know a little more about Buk's interaction/association with the Beats?
 

cirerita

Founding member
Everybody knows B was a Polish-American Beatnik who wrote a lot of surrealistic stuff in the early days (H. Fox dixit)
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
I think at least 99,2% of the buknet members find that Bukowski had and has nothing to to do with the Beat Generation.
Bukowski and Ginsberg met at a poetry festival, it was not a friendly conversation they had ;) In fact I believe that Ginsberg didn't say anything but smiled.
Research buknet and you'll find some more threads on this subject.

Here is a book link: http://www.amazon.com/Bukowski-Beat...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232309881&sr=1-1
 

mjp

Founding member
Yeah, if you're scoring this at home it is probably:

Influence: 0
Jealousy: 1

I don't doubt he was envious of Ginsberg's fame. He said he didn't care about all that, but it's obvious that he did.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Miles also said Buk and Ginsberg met once, but thought Buk's poetry was "minor." Was there a little love/hate going on there?
The meeting is described in Sounes Buk bio...
 
Well as we look back, we see that the beats were a movement. A breakfast club of edgies. Bukowski has done far more damage all by himself. He never needed them, or wanted them. He might have read them here and there but Buk wasnt a clubbie. As time goes-by and popular culture's memories fuzz together - the beats will water themselves down and Bukowski's relentless hammering will still be making wannabes...more and more all the time. He is impactful like a fullback...Jim Taylor perhaps, a few hard-earned yards at a time...not like a HALFback, Gayle Sayers - a flash in the pan of history. Just keep on reading, you'll see our hero in turn up in places you never thought you would have.
 
Okay, hooch. I read through that thread, more or less. And it's a nice and spirited discussion about whether Buk is considered a beat. But I've already read in Miles' bio that he said he was not, or did not care to be. So I'm not concerned about that issue.

I'm mainly curious about his interaction with various beat writers. He met Ginsberg briefly. Has he met others?

And I'd like to understand a little more about why he didn't understand them. And why he seemed to detest them.
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
In "A Rambling Essay..." B does praise 'Ginsburg'.
That was popping into my head the entire time I was reading this thread. I remember I circled it for my husband in the book where it appeared (was it Portions? I forget)... because, I love Gins, and obviously, I love Buk. It's a shame they didn't get along but, did Buk really get along with all that great many o' people? Also take in account that Buk had a period of what one could argue to be "homophobia", and Gins was blatantly a very open homosexual. Just in the two poetry books I've read by him alone (Cosmopolitan Greetings and White Shrowd... or is it "shroud"? I feel like a lazy idiot for not going upstairs and looking) he seems very unabashed to convey that fact (rightfully so, we're here and we're queer, power to ya, I myself like my own equiptment), possibly that's why it seems like it was a love/hate "relationship" between Gins and Buk. I know Buk thought he was a great writer though, for the subjects Gins wrote about.
 
Lolita, Miles does write that Buk tried to use Gins' homosexuality as perhaps a means of striking out at him. Maybe it was Buk's revenge for being thought of as a "minor" poet?
 
Buk on Ginsberg

"When Allen Ginsberg arrived at the party, Bukowski latched on to him and buried him under his shoulder. 'Ladies and Gentlemen,' Bukowski shouted, 'We've got Allen Ginsberg as guest of honor tonight. Can you believe it? Allen Ginsberg!' His voice wouldn't carry above the music. 'I wish somebody'd unplug that machine. Cut it, you bastards.' He drew Ginsberg up tighter. 'A man of genius, the first poet to cut through light and consciousness for two thousand years and these bastards don't even appreciate it. Have a drink Allen.' ....Bukowski hugged Ginsberg closer and he rubbed Bukowski's back. 'That feels good Allen, real good. No lie.'
Ginsberg had been taken in by all the flattery, but when he saw that Bukowski was going to force some booze down his throat he slumped in a fake drunken drawl and said that he had been drinking all night.
'God, it's good to see you Allen, really. I don't care if you are a fake. Did you hear that folks? Washed up. Everybody knows that after Howl you never wrote anything worth a shit. How about that folks, a vote, Has Allen written anything worth a shit since Howl and Kay'dish?'....
'Kah'dish', Ginsberg said, correcting Bukowski.
Bukowski backed up, fending off the blow. 'Allen, you're tearing me apart. You're a barracuda, Allen. Eating me up with your tongue. Hey, why don't you have another drink?' and Bukowski grabbed a drink out of someone's hand, drank half of it, stuck it in Ginsberg's hand. Ginsberg took a sip of the Jack Daniels straight and nearly vomited, thinking it was wine. As Bukowski turned, he dashed for it slipping away through the crowd.
'Where'd he go?' Bukowski asked. 'Oh well, ' and he grabbed a young woman who had been standing quietly against the bar all night."
Ric Reynolds, 1974, "Partying with the Poets" in Sunlight Here I Am.

"I've never said this before but I am high enough as I write this to perhaps say that Ginsberg has been the most awakening force in American poetry since Walt [Whitman]." From "A Rambling Essay" in Portions.

Jean-Francois Duval has a good book Bukowski and the Beats about Buk, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, Corso.
 
Buk also wrote a book review of Ginsberg's "Empty Mirror", and mentions Ginsberg, Corso, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, Burroughs in many places.
He clearly admired Ginsberg, but I think he rightly thought of himself as a better poet than Ginsberg. I think he was pretty accurate in the above scene (from a poetry reading he, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti et al gave in Santa Cruz) in his estimate of Ginsberg's career. I think Buk felt Ginsberg began to play to the crowd with his fame and stopped being an original poet. While I think that Buk kept evolving and was writing as strongly or more strongly at the end of his life.
 
Buk was into beats NOT the Beats-he was looking forward to the whole Hip Hop Rap scene and wanted his poetry to reflect the whole gritty urban scene.
 

cirerita

Founding member
From the Chénetier innerview:
"I stopped all writing for ten years and just got drunk. While the Beats were beating, I was drinking ... I started drinking -real heavy drinking- at the age of 25 and didn't stop till I was 35."
 
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Cherry quotes Buk talking about Ginsberg in 'Whimans Wild Children' (I only quote from my mind):

"It's a shame that we had to wait till a homo shows us how to write. Not that it is a shame to be a homo, only that we had to wait for one to show us how to write."

(maybe if I ain't too lazy tonight at home, I'll look it up literally.)
 
... maybe, if I ain't too lazy tonight at home, I'll look it up literally.
here you go:


"I believe I'm high enough now to say that Ginsberg has been the most awakening force in American poetry since Walt W. It's a goddamn shame he's a homo ... not that it's a shame to be a homo, but we have to wait and let the homos teach us how to write."

(Ch. B. quoted by Neeli Cherkovski in: 'Whitman's Wild Children', p.132 [in my edition = Lapis-Press 1988])

ps:
I haven't left anything out: the three dots ... are in the original text.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
"I believe I'm high enough now to say that Ginsberg has been the most awakening force in American poetry since Walt W. It's a goddamn shame he's a homo ... not that it's a shame to be a homo, but we have to wait and let the homos teach us how to write."

(Ch. B. quoted by Neeli Cherkovski in: 'Whitman's Wild Children', p.132 [in my edition = Lapis-Press 1988])
Here's a slightly different version of that quote. I've transcribed this from 'A rambling essay...' as published in the Bukowski Sampler (and the version in Portions seems to be identical)

Poetry must become, must right itself. Whitman had it backwards; I'd say that to have a great audience we must first have great poetry. I've never said this before but I am now high enough as I write this to perhaps say that Ginsberg has been the most awakening force in American poetry since Walt W. It's a god damn shame Genet is a homo. Not that it is a shame to be a homo but that we have to wait around and let the homos teach us how to write. Whitman, I understand, used to chase the sailors. That manly man with those white whiskers of contemplation, with that beautiful face!.... chasing sailors.

Can you blame the schoolyard boys for saying that poets are sissies? Can't you see Whitman pinching a dull sailor's leg and grinning? Can't you see the rest?
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I think Buk contradicts himself. If there's no shame in being a homo, why is it a shame then to let the homo's teach us how to write?
 
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Well, Buk is quite the macho man. No shame in following a path someone else has trod. But I think Buk may have wanted to be the trailblazer.

As for his views about "homos," they're probably just as misguided as his earlier sympathies with Nazism.
 
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Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
That's right, zenguru! He did like playing macho. I think it was partly a pose...
 
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