buk's poems (1 Viewer)

Hi all
I'm new here and also new to Bukowski. After seeing the film Factotum i then went out and bought all the Bukowski books in my local bookstore. In the last week i have read Post Office, Women and Ham on Rye. I have become totally immersed and or obsessed. I havnt read much of his poems but there was something I found curious was the way he changes line. For example in the poem Riots,

"was the arrival of the
politicians in the
aftermath"

I am just trying to understand his poetry in the way it is structured. Other poets might change line after a sentance or a certain number of syllables but not Bukowski. Also the number of lines containing text is 23 so it doesnt seem to be any kind of pattern. I would really apreiciate it if someone could help me understand why he structures his poems how he does. Thanks alot!

Luke
 
All good questions and observations. I would like to hear what anyone else thinks. I don't try to analize the "whys" of Bukowski's poems/writing too much.
 

SamDusky

Founding member
Hi all
I'm new here and also new to Bukowski. After seeing the film Factotum i then went out and bought all the Bukowski books in my local bookstore. In the last week i have read Post Office, Women and Ham on Rye. I have become totally immersed and or obsessed. I havnt read much of his poems but there was something I found curious was the way he changes line. For example in the poem Riots,

"was the arrival of the
politicians in the
aftermath"

I think what his motivation is, is to try to bring out the essence of the poem's meaning (and, as you know, this is all a matter of taste). He has added line breaks (shortened the lines) to give impact to the words; it forces the reader to pause where you want them to, and consider what you have just said. In a poem, every word counts (or it doesn't). Also, he isolated certain words & ideas (like "aftermath") to give them more impact. This spacing, may or may not work for you (there is one person who thinks himself a great poet that tears Buk's work all to hell by thinking that he can re-write his stuff, but the boy falls way short; a bitter also-ran at: http://www.cosmoetica.com/TOP9-DES8.htm ).

Some think it (the spacing) was arbitrary; I see it as genius.

SD
 
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Brother Schenker

Founding member
Having blissfully escaped being corrupted by a college education, Buk did not bother to learn the "rules" of poetry. He broke the lines by feeling, gut, and instinct.

When you adhere to patterns & rules you sacrifice meaning for form. Being too hung up on a form or rule causes you to obstruct the flow of the specific meanings & feelings of the moment. You miss out on using the word or phrase that nails the moment perfectly.
 

SamDusky

Founding member
Well said; and I do second that emotion. The 1 1/2 or 2 years Buk spent in college did not manage to corrupt him too much. (I think he preferred the art classes while there.) From his writings, I?d say he gave himself a doctorate in the classics, and in an analysis of his contemporaries. As you say, if it ain?t from the gut, it?s a total slut (er, waste).

SD
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
Something I've found odd is that the line breaks don't always seem to represent pauses. I've heard recorded readings where he pauses in different places, and emphasises words differently to the way they are laid down in the printed text. This has affected the way I read his poems, and I find myself reading 2 or 3 lines without any sort of pause or beat.

I've wondered if he maybe sometimes just broke lines up in a way that he thought looked good on the paper / monitor as he typed them up. I'd guess that would be what you'd call an aesthetic choice?
 

SamDusky

Founding member
Something I've found odd is that the line breaks don't always seem to represent pauses. I've heard recorded readings where he pauses in different places, and emphasises words differently to the way they are laid down in the printed text. This has affected the way I read his poems, and I find myself reading 2 or 3 lines without any sort of pause or beat.

I conjecture this phenomenon may well have occurred in direct proportion to, or due to the exact amount of ethanol that Buk had imbibed on the said occasion of his taped reading. Or maybe he was just trying to fuck with our heads (knowing that someday we would be asking the question put forth here).

I've wondered if he maybe sometimes just broke lines up in a way that he thought looked good on the paper / monitor as he typed them up. I'd guess that would be what you'd call an aesthetic choice?

That is another good point. I?ve found that there is a distinct difference when writing for reading (with the eyes) a poem, and the various tricks that one can employ with punctuation, capitalization, indentation, spelling, etc., as well as line breaks. And they may have the same or a totally different meaning when the poem is read aloud. A lot can be lost and gained in the live reading. I wonder if there are any anal poets who produce two renderings of a work to cover both cases? Maybe some Bukologists have looked into this. The U of Chicago, Stephen Ankenbauer wrote his thesis titled: "Charles Bukowski: Slouching Toward a New Poetics of the Ordinary."

SD
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
Founding member
I am just trying to understand his poetry in the way it is structured. Other poets might change line after a sentance or a certain number of syllables but not Bukowski.
Buk also wanted to combine elements from the poem and the short story. He invented (or reinvented) a new genre in able to do this.
Why should the line breaks in a short story always be at the right margin?
Why shouldn't a short story be written in the same form as a poem?
Why can't a poem's plot resemble a short story?
And so on, and so on...

I think Buk struck gold here. The only people doing something similar are certain song writers...

PS: newcomers to Buk's poetry-stories can start here: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/poets/11/
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
it's like nelli cherkovski said in Born Into This, after the prose had gone, it came out in his poetry...and how did it come out? they were narratives.

the best thing about buk's writing was that he didn't confine himself to any sort of traditional literary structure. he did anything he wanted to do with his writing. thats why his verse is so free...because he did whatever he wanted and wrote the line exactly how he wanted it to be.
 
Buk's poems in music!

After watching the Factotum movie, I went out and purchased the soundtrack, which has 3 of his poems put to music. Its a great album with music from a girl named Kristin Asbjornsen. She has a beautiful smokey voice, and it is great hearing Bukowski's poems put to music. I suggest you check it out.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
I'm kinda not liking whats been happening ever since Factotum was adapted to the big screen. So many people are saying oh gosh I just watched that movie and went out bought a bunch of Bukowskis work. I mean don't get me wrong, it's good that more people are being turned onto him but it seems like they're missing the point. maybe I dunno what I'm talking about but the only good film on Bukowski is Born Into This Barfly was horrible and I'm slowly growing to hate Matt Dillon and Factotum, the film i mean. the novel is a masterpiece.

read the fucking words.
 
Thanks for all the input I feel I understand his work alot more now. HenryChinaski I do agree with you about the film but theres nothing wrong with discovering a great author through the movie.
if it ain't from the gut, it's a total slut

Thats great :D
 
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http://www.cosmoetica.com/TOP9-DES8.htm ).

I read that 'bastardisation' of Bukowski poetry before
the guy basically gets rid of all the 'unnecessary bits'
and basically rapes the little poem senseless
making it a sterile little thing with not much heart

all the little idiosyncracies that bukowski put into his poems
made the poem. takingf them out. robs that bank of its wealth.

as much as people say - Bukowski makes writing look easy
he also makes all writing seem strangely - feasible
readable. from the random scribbles of an idiot
to the suppoedly high art of Joyce
 
HenryChinaski I'm very sorry I didnt meen to sound like I was attacking you I think maybe I missunderstood your post. I do agree that Born into this is the only very good Buk' film.
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
Founding member
it's like nelli cherkovski said in Born Into This, after the prose had gone, it came out in his poetry...
After the prose had gone? Did it go? Or were the novels just a meal ticket to fame and a steady incom...
In my opinion the poems have always outranked the prose...
 

SamDusky

Founding member
BukLivesOn, I suggest you fuck off while it's still voluntary.

I saw your post and thought, "Wowe-Wow-Wow; what could have caused the normally mild-mannered mjp to jump so bad on this innocent bystander who made a small comment about a girl?s recording?" THEN I called up his history of posts, and realized?Yes, the bastard?s hyping us (and I don?t like to be hyped by anyone but my wife?thank you, Quentin).

So, you despicable, underhanded, conniving, scheming, sniveling, sow?s-tit-of-record-company-hack (I could go on), get off the bandwidth?we don?t like your kind ?round here. Mjp was being polite; and you do your artist a great dis-service; running that shit. OK, now I?ll shut-up and assume we?ll have no more of that.

SD

P.S. You might stick around and learn something, if you can behave.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
BukLivesOn,
Now this is one Buk item I WON'T own. This is the best forum for selling to Buk, but you are pushing it, I think...

I feel bad for your client, who will sell less CDs because of you.

All best,
Bill
 
Hi all:) Except you BukLivesOn:p

I've watched this city burn twice
in my lifetime
and the most notable thing
was the arrival of the
politicians in the
aftermath
proclaiming the wrongs of
the system
and demanding new
policies toward and for the
poor.

nothing was corrected last
time.
nothing will be corrected this
time.

the poor will remain poor.
the unemployed will remain
so.
the homeless will remain
homeless

and the politicians,
fat upon the land, will live
very well.

I like the accelerated pace thanks to enjambement!
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
BukLivesOn,
Now this is one Buk item I WON'T own. This is the best forum for selling to Buk, but you are pushing it, I think...

I feel bad for your client, who will sell less CDs because of you.

same here bill. I think they've milked Buk enough. He would turn over in his grave if he knew of such things.
 
I think his corpse has been well and truly squeezed and dried and passed around - he will be a bowl of dust - he is now in the hands of mere mortals - his legacy continues outside of his control

he knew it would come to this

like lighting fire crackers
under the arses of
people about to fall asleep...
 
BukLivesOn, I suggest you fuck off while it's still voluntary.

Right on mjp, I couldn't have said it better myself! I won't be buying that soundtrack either and the rate it's going I may not bother seeing the movie (Ok, so truth be told, I probably will see the movie, but didn't I sound tough there for a moment? Like a real Lee Marvin?)
 
Hey guys, I'm fairly new to buk's poems, can anyone point me to any particular good ones? Because up until now I've just been sort of randomly browsing them.
 
Barfly was horrible and I'm slowly growing to hate Matt Dillon and [I said:
Factotum[/I], the film i mean. the novel is a masterpiece.

read the fucking words.

I think BARFLY is excellent, especially if you compare it to FACTOTUM (way below average). Barbet put so much more into BARFLY, the locations, the words/script. I'll even take ROURKE any day over DILLON. Barfly had a number of STRONG moments and scenes, for me it's ENJOYABLE to watch, it's not overly complex, or deep but pleasing. Let's see PENN put POST OFFICE together, that I'd like to see... and WOMEN (whoever owns the rights to that??)
 
For what it's worth, I don't know if I would call Barfly or Factotum "execellent" as far as films go. I do enjoy seeing different interpertations of Bukowski's work, and for me, Factotum is just another in an ever increasing line of films associated with Bukowski and his writings. Each film has various strengths and weaknesses, but in the end I don't think they are anything remarkable. I certainly enjoy watching them, but like HenryChinaski I think the real treasure is in the books.
 

SamDusky

Founding member
It's a special edition of "Dangling..." that only came out in Finland (Translated into Icelandic); and when they re-translated the title back into English, this is how it came out. I think it's much closer to the sentiment that Buk intended, don't you think?

SD
 

cirerita

Founding member
too bad it wasn't re-translated into both Spanish and Italian and then back into English because it surely would have read: "Fucking in the Tournefortia", even if most Italians and Spaniards wouldn't care too much about the Tournefortia part...
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
yeah, it's strange. here in Canada, it's translated "We Enjoy the Things That Make Our Parents Gassy. Hey, Don't You Enjoy That Also Peter?"
odd, seeing as it didn't really need translating in the first place...
 
Hi all
I'm new here and also new to Bukowski. After seeing the film Factotum i then went out and bought all the Bukowski books in my local bookstore. In the last week i have read Post Office, Women and Ham on Rye. I have become totally immersed and or obsessed. I havnt read much of his poems but there was something I found curious was the way he changes line. For example in the poem Riots,

"was the arrival of the
politicians in the
aftermath"
........
Luke


the way i see it, Buk is not aiming for the reader to pause but [on the contrary] to force him to keep on reading the next line and the next one etc. even with this "odd spacing" the poems flow, and they create a certain rythm.
For instance:
"was the arival of the [ here you are forced to see what arrival he is talking about, hence you go on to the next line]
politicians in the [you can't help but wanting to know where, so you go to the next line]
aftermath [now you pause]

i must appologize for my english, i use it quite rarely so i may not have used it correctly in the above lines, however i hope that what i tried to say, helped you in your attempt to understand the form of Buk's poems.
 

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