Bukowski on other writers

Recently I've been reading a fair bit of his later writings and it seems theres a fair bit there on how other writers "can't write for shit"

It also seems that he thought that other writers thought that he was somehow responsible for them not being published

Has anyone else noticed this?
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
adrian,
There were some writers that thought that he was responsible for Black Sparrow NOT publishing them; That Bukowski was somehow black-listing them. I think that this was their feeling, without any evidence or proof. There is a very interesting letter to Holy Doors magazine (?) by Hugh Fox specifically about this and a GREAT reply from John Martin... They were both published as letters to the editor and it is an interesting glimpse behind the curtain.

Maybe Cirerita has a scan of this?

Bill
 
I knew that some writers thought he as responsible for not being published. Were they published after Bukowski died? Not that I know of. Some writers (along with a lot of other people in the art world) are so self centred and self absorbed that they can never entertain the possibility that............their work is perhaps.........crap?

And speaking of which, I find it interesting that early Bukowski writings were considered just that...........crap. Hence he was rarely published

I fail to see why there are trends in the art world. What's considered good art should by rights, be considered good art in any and all eras?
 

cirerita

Founding member
where did you read that B.'s early stuff is considered crap? As far as I know, most people think otherwise.
 
I didn't read it anywhere. Because he had rejection after rejection speaks for the fact that the publishers of the day obviously thought his writing was crap
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
I think the publishers of the day didn't know what to make of Bukowski's writing.

If you ever get your hands on some of the really old magazines - from the mid to late 1940's - you'll see that the Bukowski pieces often stick out like a sore thumb. He didn't write like any of the published poets of the time. It's often overlooked or dismissed, especially by the critics of his later work, but Bukowski had a real effect on the language of poetry.

Even if some of his early work was a little stiff, it was still often off-the-scale by the contemporary standards.
 

cirerita

Founding member
if you're talking about the early 40's, then we don't know that for sure. Nobody -alive- has read those stories. They're lost. They might be crappy ones, sure, but there might be some good stuff as well. Who knows?
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I knew that some writers thought he as responsible for not being published. Were they published after Bukowski died? Not that I know of. Some writers (along with a lot of other people in the art world) are so self centred and self absorbed that they can never entertain the possibility that............their work is perhaps.........crap?
Most of the writers had been pubished in small press mags and had chapbooks come out. What they wanted was for bigger publishers to publish them. When that did not happen, there were accusations... Most of the writers that thought that Bukowski was telling Black Sparrow to not publish them (of not putting in enough good words on their behalf) were widely published and quite well known in poetry small press circles.

Also, as mjp said, the fact that Buk was rejected by so many early on really shows that they just did not understand. Rejection can be for many reasons. I often reject writing that is very, very good, but not to my taste. That is the way that small press works. We publish what WE like. Since there is no monetary reason to publish something that yoou do not love, we are free to publish what we think needs to be read. We know that we will not make any money publishing. Best to make it important....

Bill
 
I've never been able to determine what is "crap". All I can say is if I like it. But to call something crap, I just can't really judge. Its kind of like graffit. I see graffit as art, partly because some of it is beautiful/ugly and partly because its subversive and reclaiming public space for the masses. But others see graffitti as garbage and a nuisance. I often wonder why someon would prefer a blank wall over graffiti, just doesn't make sense.

So all I can say, if I like a piece of writing it is usually because it moves me in some way. Gives me some sort of psychological pay off. Triggers something in your brain, like an odor can instantly trigger a memory. Heart goes a long way with me. Which is obviously why I like B's work. Anyway, if he said alot of newer writers were crap, maybe they were. Every artist produces a healthy amount of crap. How many pieces of shit did buk put into the trash. It was a numbers game probably. He just wrote alot of stuff, making it seem he was more genius. He just knew which ones to send in. Maybe it was the gambler in him, playing the numbers.
 

cirerita

Founding member
This was written by an editor who published Bukowski in 1971:

I ONCE TURNED DOWN SOME POEMS HE SENT TO THE MAGAZINE AND HE CALLED ME UP TO COMPLAIN. I TOLD HIM THAT HE WAS DUMPING SOME SECOND RATE STUFF ON ME. SO HE SENT SOME BETTER ONES THAT I PUBLISHED. I THINK HE BELONGS TO THE BEAT GENERATION, THAT DID NOT REALLY PRODUCE MUCH GOOD LITERATURE. MOST OF THE LITERARY FIGURES WERE JUST COLORFUL CHARACTERS IN A BROAD CULTURAL UPHEAVAL.
Just colorful characters? ;)
Buk a Beat? :D

But he did send crap -second rate stuff- to the editors.
 
Geez, there's a bit of confusion going on here. I never said Bukowski's early stuff was crap, simply that publishers at the time must have thought so, otherwise they would have published him?

Total crap to one person (Andy Warhol immediately comes to mind hehe) may be pure brilliance to the next (the story of the monkeys being given paint and brushes and let loose. And for their 'paintings' to be exhibited and have arty types attributing all sorts of deep meaning to the paintings)
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I didn't read it anywhere. Because he had rejection after rejection speaks for the fact that the publishers of the day obviously thought his writing was crap

Hi Adrian,
This is the line that caused the confusion. You never did accuse Buk of writing crap.

Still, it is a good point that you made and it is worth discussing. The fact that Bukwoski was rejected so much in the beginning may have been because some editors though that it was crap. Certainly it did not fit with what the editors of the big poetry magazines would consider art. The fact is that there is stilla large portion of the poetry community that thinks that what Bukowski wrote was not poetry. These are the same people thaqt write all rhyming poetry and also write poetry that no one can get through, let alone understand.

More likely, though, as mjp said, they plain just did not get it. No problem with that of course. I read many poems that I completely don't get and that is fine. I don't have to love everything.

Certainly once Bukwoski became more popular, he was published much more, but again, these were still in the little magazines, many of which started publishing to publish poetry just like Bukowski (if not to publish him specifically). Bukowski is probably responsible for launching the careers of many, many poets and small press publishers. It is through Bukowski that I got into this madness.

Best,
Bill
 
There are many people/writers/editors/generalbeings that still think bukowski is crap, over-rated, writing from the same material over and over again.

Why can't some grand intellectual fictional nob-jockey, be just as sincere as Bukowski? Take Marquez or Shakespeare (over-rated, I agree) but surely if they are writing from-where-they-are-coming-from, then they are just as sincere and less phony than a whole host of other writers.

Of course, part of Bukowskis, continual writing as the-man-apart, the anti-writer-write is to keep his audience in mind, to keep his manner in line!

all good.
 
Other writers

You know, Bukowski was pretty right on about most writers. I mean, there are tons of writers that I think are the dryest, most boring writers and in societal terms, they are seen as some of the best. Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dean Koontz (I know he doesn't really count), and probably my most hated writer, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also, Burroughs couldn't really write for shit, he was too messed up on heroin to write well. Plus, I have to give a lot of credit to Bukowski, because he inspired me to pick up John Fante. By the way, if you haven't read any Fante, pick up "Ask the Dust." One of the best books I've ever read.
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Van Gogh sold one painting in his entire miserable life. Bukowski often mentions him. When you bring something new to a culture it is always judged by standards already existing. The spectators or readers seem to need to be introduced to new art forms by recognized critiques ( I disagree with the process). Generally few people can honestly think for themselves. It is unfortunate and unfair at times. For Buk it was the same, he suffered a lot of rejection at the beginning. He went on working and pushing and finally got noticed. I do not mean to say that he was just lucky but he was ready when oppotunity presented itself. He had talent and because he wrote a lot and was exceptionally productive he was able to impose his own style.
As far as bad mouthing other writers I have read that he has on several occasions regretted his attacks on other writers even friends.
 
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