Bukowski's Relevance in an Economic Downturn (1 Viewer)

Over the course of the last two weeks I have witnessed a surge at Carver's Dog in Bukowski-related search traffic. Mind you, I'm not talking big numbers (we're technically a "mid-sized" blog) but enough to indicate a new trend.

I'm wondering two things here: (1) Is Michael getting an uptick in search traffic as well or do the numbers at buk.net remain steady? Anyone else with Buk-related sites, please feel free to respond to my informal survey as well.

On a socio-cultural level, however, I'm wondering if Bukowski's work takes on new relevance in times of severe economic hardship such as we are experiencing? Is Buk attracting new readers who are looking for comfort that they are not suffering alone? Drinking in the darkness at the kitchen table, leafing through "South of No North", wondering how to make the rent next month. Are the authors who serve as voices of the downtrodden slipping back into the cultural zeitgeist? (Please keep John Steinbeck and Nelson Algren on the shelves. Please.)
 
It's the only thing I can figure too; there's no other logical reason to see an uptick in Bukowski search strings, no increased awareness of Buk due to a recently-released film or book, and the searches are coming from a vast array of geographic areas so college and high school curriculum searches are off the board (I get a lot of that sort of search traffic, especially on Kafka; God knows how many students use the net, the electronic version of the school library, to write their essays). I definitely think it's the economy that's driving the search traffic.
 
You will watch Buk become constantly more important. As the eggheads realize what he did to literature they'll embrace him to a greater and greater degree (remember, these people are just researchers)...expanding the whole thing exponentially. I wouldn't tie it to current events. His importance is growing because of its artistic authenticity. It will be agreed one day that he was one of the most important writers of his century. His appearances in a wider and wider range of media only support that. To as great a level as possible he has done what all artists should do; and that is to make something huge, relevent and undeniable...out of the regular nothing parceled-out to an individual. Extremely rare occurrence.
 

mjp

Founding member
Well, all of the search traffic here is Bukowski-something. But no increase in visitors lately. It has remained steady for the past year.
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
That's why I read Bukowski. Certainly holds water. I never thought of a different reason to read Bukowski. Everyone I know who reads Bukowski is alike to me in one way or another, simply because of this potential fact.
 
I used to read a lot of Bukowski when I was in high school, but it wasn't until the demise of a semi-serious relationship did my love for Buk become rekindled. His words have gotten me through some shitty days, and for that I am forever appreciative. I can see his relevance now in the fine economic times we are having, but on a personal level, I identify more with his sense of love and women.
 
Or more people looking to escape their reality? Nine out of ten people, I suggested his books to, thought he was too negative and depressing. The truth is just too hard?
 
As anyone who write and submits knows, agents claim no one wants depressing/negative stories during negative/depressing times.

I find that hard to believe, myself.

I've always been a reader that looks for relationship vs. fantasy. I don't need escapism--only solution, and Buk offers solution to a fucked up world no amount of fantasy can relieve us of. That's why I read him, and that's why (I imagine) millions of others read him, too--for solution.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
In my younger and more vulnerable (read: depressed) years, I often sought comfort in the works of people who went through the same kind of things... especially Sylvia Plath... and found comfort in that.

Perhaps people are doing the same with Bukowski. I know it makes me feel better that people are worse off than me...

Boy do I sound like an asshole.
 

chronic

old and in the way
The only thing I've ever read by Sylvia Plath was The Bell Jar. I thought it was great at the time (I was probably around 18). I don't know if it would still hold up for me and I don't know why I never bothered to get hold of some of her other work.

When I was getting chemo and was very sick and in a lot of pain, I always found some, I don't know what it was... comfort? resolve? in knowing that there were a lot of people out there managing who were much worse off than I.
 
Buk was brave enough to choose poverty. It wasn't an economic cyclical thing to him. He escaped the rat race but lived meagrely.

His parents had this posh bungalow with well manicured lawns, a hellhouse emblem to the neighbourhood. Buk refuted that lifestyle.

His sensitivity, his grace his attraction, to me anyway, comes from his sensitivity to life and his courage to 'finger' materilaism.

So There!

:cool:
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
I think what Corndog means is that the young Bukowski (i.e. 18 - 35) could have joined the 'rat race' and worked a regular job just like his father wanted him too, but he decided that he would rather not.

I was young but always alone---I felt that I needed the
time to get something done and the only way I could buy time
was with
poverty.
the beautiful lady editor, from You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense
 
G

Garret

I think what Corndog means is that the young Bukowski (i.e. 18 - 35) could have joined the 'rat race' and worked a regular job just like his father wanted him too, but he decided that he would rather not.

Oh, now I see what you mean. My bad.
 
Some things never change...

From a 1975 letter from Bukowski to Carl Weissner

"The depression is here although the govt. prefers to call it a 'recession.' Which reminds me of the old one: a recession is when your friends are out of jobs, a depression is when you're out of one. It's at times like this that I'm glad I trained myself throughout a lifetime to detest a job of any sort. All those poor automobile workers sitting around glassy-eyed with homes half paid for and cheating wives. They trusted that a hard day's work for a good day's pay would get them through. Now as the govt. tries to pump blood into the corpse they sit around and work crossword puzzles and look at daytime TV shows programmed to the female
...the only thing that will cure this is the same thing that has cured every capitalistic depression since 1940-another war; a big war, a little war, a hot war, a cold war, but war war war..."

Yep.CRB:)
 
This is definitely an interesting thread, and my first post on this site. I'm writing a paper for a class, a literary criticism paper on Bukowski. This topic (Buk's relative material in times of crisis). I have a few books by him (10 or so), but was wondering if any of you guys had suggestions for good sample poetry that reflects that feeling, sharp and to the point (I don't want to quote a whole page, but that's all I've found that gets the point across so far). I really like "Dinosauria, We" (born into this...) as an example, but need two or three more points of example.

He's a hard one to write about!!!
 
re-bukowski for therapy in times of struggle

This is definitely an interesting thread, and my first post on this site. I'm writing a paper for a class, a literary criticism paper on Bukowski. This topic (Buk's relative material in times of crisis). I have a few books by him (10 or so), but was wondering if any of you guys had suggestions for good sample poetry that reflects that feeling, sharp and to the point (I don't want to quote a whole page, but that's all I've found that gets the point across so far). I really like "Dinosauria, We" (born into this...) as an example, but need two or three more points of example.

He's a hard one to write about!!!
 
This is one of the better threads I have seen on this site. It seems that I relate more to an author if I have or am experiencing the same theme of the book I am reading.
When my first son died I read "Death be not Proud " and cried my eyes out for a few months. When my wife had cancer I read "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" and I found the courage to try to be helpful and accept life on life's terms.
I started reading Bukowski when I felt I had the world by the tail. Now that my investments are shaky and my income is less I truly enjoy the the bleakness and the longing for escape in the bottle that Hank wrote in the beginning of his writing career.
When my marriage is pulling the hair out of my head I just read "Women"and realize I am not alone in having difficulty with intimate relationships.
Yeah, times may be bad. The beauty of life is that it changes and evolves and the more I experience it has changed me into a more keen observer.
 
Those are very relevent points Ronzo. One of the most impactful parts of good writing is its continued resounding thereafter within the conscioussness of an individual. When we can align ourselves with the portrayed/pictured unravelings of a unique narrative we can take for ourselves a bit of the personal ego-gains accomplished by that writer. These are the works that we do not read for entertainment...and they become more pertinent when taken-in while under duress.

Nice Post, R.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
This is definitely an interesting thread,...........suggestions for good sample poetry that reflects that feeling, .............!
Read Pleasures of the Damned. You Get So Alone.... is also a good one.

This is one of the better threads I have seen on this site. .................snip....

Ronzo, yours is one of the heaviest posts I've read. You should write your own stuff. I could not want to walk in you shoes.
 
Thank you for the kind words. To believe that Bukowski's worth increases with an economic downturn,that somehow it gains importance because we feel the pinch in our pocket books may be a good thing. I think this is why good writing endures and has a captive audience. But the thing that keeps me interested about Hank is his ability to convey what it felt like to grow up the way he did.
When I first read "Ham on Rye" and saw the pictures of a tortured young man growing up in such a stifling environment and he was able to write about the way he felt and how he perceived life in general I fell in love with honest self appraisal. Very few authors I have read have been able to do this for me. Maybe Edward Bunker in his book "The Education of a Felon" comes close.
 

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