Bukowski did rework his poetry... (1 Viewer)


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Well, I know this has been discussed too many times: who rewrote the poems for book publication? Was it Martin? Was it Bukowski? Was it a mysterious pink gnome? Uncle Howard? Nobody knows for sure, but I just came across a February, 1967 letter to Richmond where he mentions reworking rejected poems. This letter was almost entirely collected in Screams from the Balcony, but a few parts were edited out. The attached excerpt was partially left out. I wonder why :rolleyes:


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Thanks cirerita. I wonder if SR had the poems, and if he did return them?
I guess that Richmond did return the poems, though that's not mentioned in the correspondence I have here. Bukowski edited Renaissance -Open City's insert- in 1968 and he accepted a few Richmond poems -though Bryan didn't print them all. And Bukowski did return to Richmond the poems that didn't make it to either Renaissance or Laugh Literary.
I like this line: ...With the instinct of the word as I have learned it today..

and ..I would like to run them through the wringer for lean meat.
This is also interesting in that he didn't have as large a body of work in the 1960's as he generated after leaving the post office. A lot of the same poems have appearances in multiple places, so generally speaking, he tried to get more mileage out of them.

He kept up the practice though, at least through the 1970's. Once he started keeping carbons, he appears to have used them to come up with different versions of the same piece, sometimes several months apart. Hard to say why he did that during the same period that his output was increasing exponentially. Maybe reworking the already-submitted carbons got him through some less-than-inspired times? ;)
As I said in some other thread, he didn't keep carbons of his poems in the early days, but he did keep "pencil copies" of many poems.
Interesting to read what was left out of the letter in Screams From The Balcony!

Thanks, cirerita!
A good example of editing shows up in "Salty Dog" in The People Look Like... vs. section VI of "Horsemeat" from War All the Time. There aren't too many differences, but the differences do soften it a bit, removing some of that "edge," in my opinion. Two significant changes in the (presumably) more recent version from The People Look Like... include replacing "cleaning the crappers" with "cleaning the seats" and replacing "a more generous death" with "a more generous life."
Well, the fact that Bukowski reworked poems does not rule out Martin also doing so. The examples you cite sound like Martin changes to me.
I was sort of thinking the same thing; but then again, "Salty Dog" deals with a guy who is actually cleaning the seats at the track, so it's a logical change in many ways. Also, as we discussed in another thread regarding periods of his work, Buk did mellow a fair bit later in life, so perhaps he re-submitted this to JM in 1993, for example?

Since the original poem is untitled (other than part VI of "Horsemeat"), one wonders whether JM added the title too. While "Salty Dog" is the name of the horse who wins the race at the time, it's clearly also a reflection of the man cleaning the seats that Buk talks with.
I like this line: ...With the instinct of the word as I have learned it today..

and ..I would like to run them through the wringer for lean meat.

Yep - that one did it for me too. I love the fact that he did a little review/rewrite for things here and there.

Nice example of his "voice" just singing off the page, too. He's had a few and he's feeeling good - drunk, but not incoherent. The "witty and charming" stage...

Thanks cireirta !
Also :

"2:05 kfac symphony coming on, hope they give me something to lean against"...

I immediately heard Westerberg's vocal in
the tune "One Wink" from All Shook Down.

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