Bukowski's Letters (1 Viewer)

I've read a fair amount of Bukowski's poetry and prose and I would like to get a taste of his letters. Unfortunately, I am not even aware of what the collections of his letters and correspondences are. I know that some cataloges of Bukowski's work have been posted before, but I don't know where to start letters-wise. Do any of you knowledgeable folks have any suggestions?
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
Founding member
those three volumes of letters are a great timeline in reference to his other books. very personal, like peeking at someones diary... not that I ever would ,you know.....
 
Thanks for the suggestions. Right after I made my initial post I remembered I had saved a Buk catalog including the collections mentioned as well as Beerspit Night and Cursing and The Bukowski - Purdy Letters. Now at least I know to start with his general letters before reading his letters to specific people.
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
Founding member
I haven't had a chance to read the purdy letters (yet damnit) but the martinelli letters was a tough read for me. probably my least favorite buk book. or maybe I'm just too damn lazy
 

mjp

Founding member
Save Martinelli and Purdy for last, definitely, if you read them at all. They are not great collections.
 

Petey

RIP
Well talking about letters there is also a german editon from an underground publisher called " Ariel " available.

The title is : Los Angeles - Andernach Letters to uncle Heinrich

http://www.ariel-verlag.de/html/bukowski.html

They printed the " family " letters from Bukowski to his uncle Heinrich Fett sen. in Andernach bilingual german/english from 1965-1982.

Buk wrote often in a polite and well behaved way but it is an interesting information in my opion.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
I've ordered the hardcover version.
I'm really looking forward to read those letters.

Is it somehow possible to translate a few of the letters into English?
 

Petey

RIP
They printed the " family " letters from Bukowski to his uncle Heinrich Fett sen. in Andernach bilingual german/english from 1965-1982.

Is it somehow possible to translate a few of the letters into English?

No need for a translation.
Again: they printed the original letters in english AND the german translation
so it is readable for all your guys outthere!
I know 18,- Euro plus freight is not less but : Support the underground !
 
it's not only the English text: All the letters are printed as a facsimile of the original.
they're no super-great read though. but to complete the collection they're okay.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
No need for a translation.
Again: they printed the original letters in english AND the german translation
so it is readable for all your guys outthere!
I know 18,- Euro plus freight is not less but : Support the underground !

Ah, I forgot.
2 languages for 18 euro isn't that bad...They didn't ask for shipping costs.

I AM the underground. Support me!
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
it's not only the English text: All the letters are printed as a facsimile of the original.
they're no super-great read though. but to complete the collection they're okay.

I find the letters GREAT. It gives you an at-home-Buk-peek ( the gardening back to nature, Buk), his deep love for Marina and the first signs that he loves Linda.
That they are printed as the original is a beautiful bonus.
19 letters full of the real Charles Bukowski: Sentimental & Emotional.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Yeah I've paged through Vols 1-3 and they're much better than the Martinelli letters... Though I kinda enjoy what I've read in the Bukowski\Purdy letters... Though that may be because I got it cheap...

I'm just glad the books exist. I often shudder to think of the "e-mail collections" we'll be looking at a few years down the line... Ugh...
 
Hi All- what an incredible letter writer Bukowski was! His correspondence is one of the things that got me really hooked into him. The honesty and straightforwardness of his poetry shines all that much brighter when you read his letters. I only have the Virgin trade editions, and I've yet to read the Martinelli(?) book. I do believe that in years to come, as Bukowski becomes more and more recognized for his art, that the letters will be a huge part of his cannon,(no pun intended:D). CRB
 
Beerspit Night and Cursing is a volume of correspondence between himself and one Sheri Martinelli, Ezra Pound's last fling. They share all kinds of philosophy and lit crit, and all the while she's trying to preen him. He broke it off, but I'd say the conversation often was pretty good while it lasted.
 
I find myself going back to his letters quite a bit.

LIVING ON LUCK is probably my favorite.

Not letters, but I also like THE CAPTAIN IS OUT TO LUNCH AND THE SAILORS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE SHIP.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
A lot of members don't like the Purdy letters but I DO like them!
 
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reasonknot

Founding member
there is a bid for that book on e bay now for $20. I just remember buying Beyond Remembering
the collection of Al Purdy and being really disappointed. Unless you were traveling to a place he mentioned, his words lost meaning and impact.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
I think the letters are sorta interesting... But I think most of what I liked still came from Buk... not as tedious as the Martinelli letters seemed to me, but not as good as the other BSP collections either.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I agree, LTS. They're better than the Martinelli letters, but not quite as interesting as the BSP collections.
 
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Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I made the mistake of selling my only copy of the Purdy/Bukowski letters, but I remember enjoying them. Unlike most here, I actually like the Martinelli letters. Buk and Sherry keep trying to one up each other with the bizarre word play Martinelli learned from Ezra Pound, with Buk trying to impress Martinelli and she not being all that impressed. I find them entertaining, but I can see why many wouldn't. But then, I read the dictionary from cover to cover for fun as a kid, so I guess I'm just like that. Probably undiagnosed Aspergers.
 

mjp

Founding member
the bizarre word play Martinelli learned from Ezra Pound...
Oh, he's responsible for that beatnik claptrap? Far from bizarre wordplay, that dropping of vowels, etc., is just moronification (see there, that's wordplay! ;)). Nothing particularly interesting or inventive about it. In my ever-humble opinion. But I'm uneducated, and never sucked Ezra Pound's cock or gave Kerouac a sponge bath, so what do I know.

But that's the reason those letters ring false to me. Bukowski was just trying to get laid (which seemed to be the driving force behind almost all of his correspondence with women), and he looks like an asshole doing it. If they had interspersed some of those letters in the other letter collections it would be more obvious. They would stick out like the sore thumbs they are.

Smug letters written by a couple of people who are very impressed with themselves. They left me very cold, which is the opposite of what I want or expect from a book with Bukowski's name on the cover. Is it interesting to see that pandering side of him? Sure. Doesn't make it any less unpleasant though. I have it, I've read it, but I would never voluntarily read it again. I didn't even buy a hardcover copy.

I think the problem with the Martinelli and Purdy books is that the other letter books are there to compare them to, and they both fall far short of the fire on display in the other collections.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
[...] Oh, he's responsible for that beatnik claptrap? Far from bizarre wordplay, that dropping of vowels, etc., is just moronification [...]
But that's the reason those letters ring false to me. Bukowski was just trying to get laid [...]

Well, sure, he was. That comes through loud and clear. But I think he was also trying to score some cred with Martinelli, who -- as Pound's former protoge (err, mistress) -- had more literary clout at the time than the unknown Bukowski did, although she was pretty obscure herself. I don't get the feeling he scored on either account. She didn't want to sleep with him, and didn't think he measured up to Pound, so to speak.

As for the Beats getting moronic claptrap from Pound, I don't know how many of them even read him. Ginsberg did, but he read everything.

wow, that's impressive. my dictionary fun was seeing how many pages of it i could shoot a pellet gun through.
But it was stuff like reading the dictionary that got me beat up by the hoods at school.
 
I'm just (trying to) reread them and what is really unpleasant is how it all ended. John Thomas had told
Bukowski that Martinelli did not actually visit Pound at St. Elizabeth's and he told Martinelli this. [See last
letter in the book]. She was not amused by this and that was it.
 

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