Bukowski prize for Literature...

I was wondering after reading about the closure of Black Sparrow Press.... Is there or could there be a Bukowski prize for Literature?

It would be great to see new Authors recognised for being 'Outsiders' or non -mainstream. I Don't know how it would be funded, possibly from his Estate?
 
M

MULLINAX

Why would his estate spend a penny on something that will bring it no financial gain?

Not to be mean or anything, but that big donation to the Huntington earned a HUGE tax write-off.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Over 1000 posts
A prize seems contrary to Bukowski's values. I don't think he had any respect for literary awards and honors. Sales meant far more to him than critical esteem or laurels. His stuff sold very well, and that was all he needed. A Buk prize feels wrong.
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
Not to be mean or anything, but that big donation to the Huntington earned a HUGE tax write-off.
But that was not the reason for the donation. If monetary gain were the goal, Linda could have sold that archive for many times more than what she'll get as a tax write-off.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Over 5000 posts
That is true. She will surely not live long enough to be able to take advantage of all of the tax breaks that she could get. Even if she was 20 and lived another 100 years, it probably would still be far less than she could have made, in cash, if she sold it to a university.

Her goal was to preserve his work and not for personal financial gain. If money was her only concern she would not have donated anything.

In 100 years the collection will be available for others to use and learn and research, not in some rich guys library or broken up and pieced out all over the world. By then the copyright will have lapsed and it will be public domain. So there is a reason for me wanting to live that long. Printing Bukowski at-will!

Bill
 
A prize seems contrary to Bukowski's values. I don't think he had any respect for literary awards and honors. Sales meant far more to him than critical esteem or laurels.
Not that true..... Bukowski won 'Outsider of the year' an award from Jon and Gypsy Lou Webb.

'He got an inscribed plaque to hang on his wall and more importantly, they would publish an anthology of his best poems' (Source: Locked in the arms of a crazy Life, by H Sounes.

This recognition broke one of Bukowski's most depressive episodes.

Although an 'Outsider' I believe Bukowski always wanted recognition of his Poetry and GAVE recognition to others he so admired. From DH Lawrence to Pound.
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
Although an 'Outsider' I believe Bukowski always wanted recognition of his Poetry and GAVE recognition to others he so admired.
I think you're right. He said he didn't care, but it's obvious that he did enjoy recognition, and to a certain degree, the bit of fame that came along with it. He wrote at least two poems about being included in the Who's Who In America annual in the mid-1980's.

A lot of successful people share the common trait of a parent - or parents - that denigrated them as children and made them feel less than adequate. Some of these people spend their lives working hard to prove their worth. I think it's safe to say Bukowski was one of them.

Like Michael Apted's "up" series of documentaries seems to prove, by the time you are 7 years old, your personality is pretty well established. And as Bukowski said (in so many words), "The parents are everything."
 
I'm with you!

I'm with you there! Bukowski said once that whilst he hated academic critics cruelly criticising each other, never-the-less he so much wanted to be recognised by them.

Whilst his Estate wouldn't profit from an award, his name in the shape of a 'Bukowski award' would live on as an emblem for New talent of exceptional non-mainstream literature.

I'd personnally love to read of the 2008 winner of the 'Bukowski Prize'...
Instead of the Booker Prize etc.
Maybe it could be 'The Black Sparrow Prize'?
 
Although an 'Outsider' I believe Bukowski always wanted recognition of his Poetry and GAVE recognition to others he so admired. From DH Lawrence to Pound.
I agree.
If he truly craved being the unknown poet,
he would have not left his room, burned all his work
and refused to speak to the world at all...
and we'd not be talking about him today.
Maybe its true that he valued humility (probably did)
But I would like to believe that he would have felt honored
By awards in his name, lauding his work.

And anyway, besides, Bukowski is dead and his legacy now belongs to the world.
We can make with it here, for better I hope, whatever we will.
 

Snowball Fight

You move like a giant, ancient fish...
Bukowski said that he kept writing not because he was good; but because everyone else was so bad.

Maybe the "award" could convey that sentiment.

"Congratulations, here's the Bukowski Award. Your poetry sucks, but not as much as the last guy's did."
 
Haha. Yeah, a back-handed honor.. very Bukowski!

But I don't believe that he believed his writing was not good.. (particularly as it is so very good). Perhaps a form of Socratic irony is at work in that statement. His daughter said that her father had to write and he would write on anything available... shopping bags... whatever was there when he found himself without a notebook. He also said of himself that he either he wrote or went mad... I guess he chose the former.
 
M

MULLINAX

John Martin promised him a hundred bucks a month for life because he knew that Bukowski HAD to write. It was a compulsion and Buk tells us so himself. He wasn't some sort of airy-fairy, artsy-fartsy scribbler of lacy bullshit.

And the figure of 100 bucks was a result of Bukowski's calculations for child-support, rent, utilities, beer and stamps. It turned out to be a quarter of Martin's salary. Some people think that Martin promised a quarter of his salary to Bukowski. No. Wrong. It just TURNED OUT that way.

Which begs the question, where are the signed contracts between Martin (Black Sparrow) and Bukowski? There must have been some document(s) outlining their relationship, which was 99% business and 1% personal. Maybe at the Huntington? Or in Martin's extensive archive/stash? Cirerita: check your folders and see if they're in there. Thanks.
 

Johannes

Founding member
Over 1000 posts
I remember reading in "Living on Luck" (don't have it now) much at the end of the book that B. wrote:

a. there is a contract for every (new) book
b. Martin originally got 10 percent but
c. they moved that up to 20 because of all the things Martin did for B. on the side.

d. Ferlinghetti of City Lights took 50 percent, B. praised Martin compared to that
e. B. claimed that having two U.S.-publishers was financially advantageous
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
And the figure of 100 bucks was a result of Bukowski's calculations for child-support, rent, utilities, beer and stamps. It turned out to be a quarter of Martin's salary. Some people think that Martin promised a quarter of his salary to Bukowski. No. Wrong. It just TURNED OUT that way.
I believe that the source for "one quarter of his salary" (as opposed to $100) is Martin. But I can see why the story is always told as $100 a month - it's romantic, and plays into the Bukowski-as-a-bum myth perfectly - but as we know, that agreement wasn't necessary for long.

The reality was Bukowski didn't really need $100 a month from Martin. It certainly helped him and gave him a reliable cushion, but taking everything else into consideration, I have always considered it more of a show of faith than financial support. Don't forget, he had thousands of dollars in the bank at the time, and immediately after leaving the post office he began to work at a crazy pace, finishing the novel, selling short stories to the skin mags and doing readings that were soon paying hundreds of dollars a pop.

The idea that he went out on some kind of limb to live on the edge on $100 a month is a bit of a stretch, and should probably be relegated to the myth bin. Quitting the post office was a calculated risk on Bukowski's part, but not life or death financially.
 

cirerita

Founding member
Over 1000 posts
I didn't copy any of the business related material -save a little something which is available in the U&U forum. To me, that's not really interesting. But I think to recall all the financial shit is at UCSB.
Re. the $100 a month, there was no contract at all, it was a "gentleman's agreement" (Sounes, 102).
 
......And the Bukowski prize?

WE seem to need to re-thread....... a 'Bukowski Prize' for literature?
not Booker
not Whitbread

'Bukowski Prize' for outsider lit......???
:D
 
M

MULLINAX

Bukowski shat all over the $5,000 grants that people he knew were getting for being "writers". He shut up after he got a grant himself.

'OUTSIDER OF THE YEAR' meant a lot to him personally, but remember, you wouldn't find that publication, or any other fucking 'small press' publication on any god-damned news stand anywhere in America in the 60s. I know. I used to steal comic books from those very same news stands and never saw any poetry journals or any crappy stapled crap.

Remember one more thing, the WEBBS paid Bukowski nothing. No money = no rent, no food, no beer, no cigars.

Martin made Bukowski and put steaks and fine wine on his table.

Others dicked around and made ART.
 
M

MULLINAX

THE FANTASTIC FOUR!

MAN!

I still have my copies from the 60s.

My dear old mum never threw them out.

FLAME ON!

Is this place your house... Like a Temple?
Just asking.
In a way. It has walls around it with places for archers to stand and defend against politically correct punks who live in student dorms, go to writing workshops, and have never worked a day in their lives or ever taken any real risks whatsoever.

Other than that, it's a pretty normal house.

Ask me what I think of trust-fund babies.
 
And a drawbridge? Is anyone welcome other than risk-averse, dorm living, unemployed, apprentice wannabe writer PCPs?
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
Over 1000 posts
In a way. It has walls around it with places for archers to stand and defend against politically correct punks who live in student dorms, go to writing workshops, and have never worked a day in their lives or ever taken any real risks whatsoever.

Other than that, it's a pretty normal house.

Ask me what I think of trust-fund babies.
GET OVER YOURSELF! CHRIST!
seriously man, i hate to keep biting the bait every time you elevate yourself above everyone else in one of your diatribes, but your sense of self-satisfaction over your mysterious life of international locales, unconventional employment(s), and on-the-edge risk taking is more irritating than 1000 trust fund babies drinking wine in sweater vests.
 
M

MULLINAX

I bought 2 sweater vests today, with Yankees logos on them.

Something tells me that Steinbrenner ain't getting any licensing fees from my aquisitions.

AMEYOKO!

International my hairy ass. The world is my country!

Cheers!

(Nice comparison)

And a drawbridge? Is anyone welcome other than risk-averse, dorm living, unemployed, apprentice wannabe writer PCPs?
The unemployed are more than welcome, as long as they have some sort of previous employment record that lends itself to jocular ribbing and sardonic reminiscing. It's the NEVER employed, the people that Buk writes about, that are asked to stay clear, my friend.

Bukowski's work record has got to be my main reason for loving his stuff so much. He looks back on his JOBS with (rye) wry humour. That's what makes him superior to the Carvers, the Hamsuns, the Orwells and the Fantes. He can make his readers laugh! He leavens the horror and the drudgery with hilarity. It's called 'telling a good story'.

See AGAINST THE AMERICAN DREAM, the chapter entitled EXCURSUS: GLEASON. It's an academic telling us about Buk's 'craft'.
 
MULLINAX said:
The unemployed are more than welcome, as long as they have some sort of previous employment record that lends itself to jocular ribbing and sardonic reminiscing. It's the NEVER employed, the people that Buk writes about, that are asked to stay clear, my friend.

Bukowski's work record has got to be my main reason for loving his stuff so much. He looks back on his JOBS with (rye) wry humour. That's what makes him superior to the Carvers, the Hamsuns, the Orwells and the Fantes. He can make his readers laugh! He leavens the horror and the drudgery with hilarity. It's called 'telling a good story'.
Do you have a list of professions that lend themselves for jocular ribbing and sardonic reminiscing?
Which professions would this list necessarily exclude?
Would a never-employed due to serious physical disability be necessarily excluded?
Isn't the ability to tell a good story a sine qua non for any recognized writer / poet?

Just trying to clarify the parameters of the increasingly numerous prerequisites for entry to the castle.

The world is my country!
Presuming you're welcome in the lands of your choice.
 
Oh your SOOOOO tough!

Build your own house.
Oh your so tough!
Hank wudda bin so proud a ya!

I'm no expert but I see in Bukowski's writing a wonderful humanity and empathy for all sorts of people. We can all interpret Buk in different ways...... Given the prolific nature and volume of his work.

But, let's not forget, Buk propergated a certain image to help sell his stuff. To talk of the 'Horrors' of a Post Office.... Don't make me laugh.....
Yes there was drudgery... but there was that for my Mam who worked 12 hour nights during the War making Ammunitions to bomb the German's with....

He worked in a post office.... Not ship-building, not a Coal Mine, Not a Foundary!

What I love about Bukowski is his understanding of the 'Job's-worth' characters.... the politics of the workplace, the routine, the mundane.....
Bur Bukowski never SMASHED a machine, or was active in a Trade Union.... his 'ACTION' was in his writing.

For the record... I worked on the Coal Face for 23 years.... My old man drank MORE then Bukowski! And, untill recently I did the same....
So I'm no Trust -fund baby..... Infact I'm down a few quid sonny!

:cool:
 
Corndog's comments above
A reply worthy of respect.

Maybe now that Corndog has put his cards on the table, shared a bit his life with us, would some of the luminaries here pay him the respect of a serious discussion of his original topic?

Why not a Bukowski prize for literature?

Come on... there are editors here, writers, academics, professionals and ordinary folks representing probably every continent on earth. Buk fans one and all. Don't tell me you have nothing substantial to say (for or against) the idea of a Buk prize. Forget about what 'Buk would have wanted', he contradicted himself at nearly every page turn of his life and he's dead now so let's DON'T TRY speaking for him. Just ask yourself does a Buk prize feel like a good idea. If so, why. If not, why not.
 
M

MULLINAX

This cigar sure tastes good...

Do you have a list of professions that lend themselves TO jocular ribbing and sardonic reminiscing?

Warehouse man at a toy factory operated by fat twins.
Pants presser working for Vietnamese boat people.
Toilet bowl and urinal cleaner at a construction site.
Elementary-school janitor.
Payroll clerk who had to garnishee the wages of half the work force.
'People counter' at a mall.
Coca-Cola delivery man.
Snow shoveller at a nunnery.
Door to door census taker in a brothel district.
Factory worker slicing aluminum panels. (not so funny, this one)
Summer camp councillor for teen-aged girls.
Paid guest (for a fat Greek girl) at a party.
Movie extra (as a construction worker for an NBC movie-of-the-week).
Appliance store 'greeter'.
Pamphlet deliverer.
Book store inventory clerk.
Ingot stacker at a refinery.
Furniture mover.
Christ, the list is endless...

Would a never-employed due to serious physical disability be necessarily excluded?

No.

Isn't the ability to tell a good story a sine qua non for any recognized writer / poet?

Yes, which is where Carver and the others often fail.

Just trying to clarify the parameters of the increasingly numerous prerequisites for entry to the castle.

Thanks for asking.

Presuming you're welcome in the lands of your choice.

As luck would have it I can live and work on 3 continents. Legally. With full rights of residence, although full civil rights would be restored in some places only with a pardon that is not likely to be forthcoming.

Man, this was a good one...
 
Top