Compare these two manuscripts (1 Viewer)


Founding member
Here's one to mull over:

- insomnia
- over a beer

Written just over six months apart, insomnia and over a beer share some very specific lines/images...

she once strapped
7 tomcats to her ironing board
cut out their tongues
boiled them in vinegar and
ate them
then took a train to Trenton
and married a banker with a
face like a frog

Bukowski certainly wrote thousands of poems, there's no denying that. But here he is rewriting a poem and submitting it twice. insomnia is less polished - more paragraph than poem - but he did submit it to a magazine somewhere in July of '74, then six months later submitted the reworked over a beer to another magazine.

Of the thousand or so manuscripts I've seen, I've only come across this and one other example of two very similar poems in different versions, but it struck me as odd, and contrary to what he said his writing habits were.

Supposedly he typed pretty freely while drinking, then the next day revised or discarded, and sent them out. Never keeping carbons until his "$100 a month for life" deal with Martin. These two manuscripts suggest that he also kept his own copies, and obviously referred back to them later.

Kind of flies in the face of the drunken madman stuffing every page pulled from his typer into envelopes to send around the country. But no one wants to hear stories of the well organized, meticulous poet. Where's the sport in that? ;)
he was meticulous for what I could see while studying the manuscripts held at UCSB. all poems are numbered and pages 2 and subsequent ones were always numbered AND titled. a non meticulous poet wouldn't do that. he also kept all his material well organised. he knew where he had everything.

and he did revise more than he would admit, of course. that's obvious when you take a look at the manuscripts. he didn't revise A LOT, but more than is usually stated.

true, he didn't keep carbons back in the 50's and 60's. but he did keep notebooks. this is not mentioned a lot, but there are stacks of notebooks of HANDWRITTEN poems , especially from the early 60's. I think I made some copies. When I find them, I'll post some EXCERPTS!
Sure...excerpts! Heh. I would feel comfortable with full poems taken out of handwritten notebooks and other unpublished things of that sort. We could always put up scans of the actual copies if you're up to that. You seem to be sitting on a lot of interesting material, so it's really up to you.

I still have a few hundred manuscripts to add to the database/manuscripts sections, but prepping those for the web and entry into the database is time consuming, so it may be a while before they are up...
yep, I know how time consuming this can get, so take your time.

as to interesting material, when I talked to Linda Bukowski on the phone one night (she kept talking to me in Italian and I kept telling her I was Spanish, though I can speak/write in Italian because I lived in Italy for quite some time... that was one of the funniest conversations ever; I was explaining my approach on Bukowski in English and she kept saying: "ma... perché?" in Italian)... anyway, during that conversation she said it was a pity Bukowski paintings were held there and, sure, it's a pity most people can't see them. Apart from the really early drawings (you'd be surprised how classic they are) the rest are pure Bukowski. another treasure at the UCSB.
Last edited by a moderator:
It's a pity any of that stuff is there. There should be a Bukowski library somewhere in Los Angeles. Santa Barbara? Well at least it's collected/protected somewhere.
there's a lot of B stuff in one of the LA universities -actually, in two of them. they even have an unpublished NOVEL called "The Poet". There are a lot of things about Franceye in that novel. When I interviewed her, she didn't even know about it, so she went to the library to read it. she was very happy to read and re-live all those old stories.
at the UCS. they also have the full KCET documentary by Hackford.
at the Long Beach university -where Locklin teaches- there are stacks and stacks of post-1970 magazines, mostly the ones where Locklin submitted his poems. luckily, B was also published in most of the issues where Locklin appeared.
those univiersites are closer to San Pedro, so now you have no excuse!

uh, I also went all they way down to Tucson. They have hundreds of manuscript poems and magazine publications. and on the way to Tucson I met Linda King and the beautiful cacti landscape.
hey cirerita, i wonder what were you / are you researching for exactly?

here's hoping you'll fire up your scanner soon and we can all have a look at some 'excerpts' :)

btw. haven't been to LA, but loved Barcelona.
dues cervesa, por favor (sorry i don't know catalan... or spanish)

Are you guys kidding me? Bukowski's got an unpublished novel? Someone needs to break in there and release it to the masses!

Please excuse my overreaction, but christ! I can't believe what you're saying. Have you read any part of them? Every time I look at Bukowski I kind of regret that I just slammed straight through every book of his that I could find, but to know there is more is like knowing pain does not exist and all money is a myth!

Please, tell me more!
"The Poet" is an unfinished novel as far as I know, though it was pretty long for being an unfinished one.
didn't copy that one, though.

I'm currently researching into B.'s POETRY -and only poetry- because I was supposed to read my doctoral dissertation last December... of course, I didn't read it because I hadn't finished it and, actually, it's far from being finished right now. too many things happening over here so I can't focus on that just yet.

mind you, I'm no professor nor anything similar. actually, I earn a living as a translator, translating books FROM English INTO Spanish, so let's say this dissertation thingy is kind of a hobby.

the dissertation will be in English and it won't boring nor too academic. it has to be a bit academic, otherwise it wouldn't be a dissertation. but there's some freedom there if you can see it. it's a game, actually. if you know the rules AND the tricks, then there's no need to worry. and, luckily, my tutor/advisor is wise enough to let me go my own way.

so there!
Well, do you think you will ever access those specific archives again?

I don't know if you realize how frustrating it is to be a HUGE Bukowski fan with the knowledge that much more exists and yet know so little about it.

Do you know if it was fiction or nonfiction? Did you read even a single word of it?

And what's the subject of your dissertation, and how long is it so far? I don't know much about them, but I had an old friend with a Ph.D who's dissertation was around 400 pages.
Charlie, If you look through the manuscripts here you'll find a number of unpublished poems, and if you count things that only had appearances in barely-distributed literary magazines (and haven't ever - yet - showed up in BS or ECCO books), even more of them will probably be new to you.

I don't know of another unpublished novel manuscript available anywhere. I know that late in 1956 he started his first novel, which was called A Place to Sleep the Night, and what he finished of that could still be around somewhere.

I say I'd be surprised if there was only one simply because he was so prolific, and I'm assuming he "started" his first novel more than once before eventually finishing (quite quickly) Post Office in 1970.

cirerita said:
at the UCS. they also have the full KCET documentary by Hackford.
Is "UCS" USC? University of Southern California in South Los Angeles?

That's where The Poet manuscript is Charlie...
Can you tell me anything about it? I live on the other side of the country, so I doubt I'll ever see it with my own eyes.
yeah, it's the USC, not the UCS.

6 original works novels Poet draft of unfinished novel and notes to John Martin 1971

I had forgotten it, B started a novel in '66 called The Way the Dead Love, but it was unfinished.
theres an archive of Buk material he left to be published after his death. Could any of those novels be in there??
DUH DUH DUH...we will never know.
Oh, right, I wasn't thinking of letters, but poems, short stories or novels.

They could publish letters forever and I'd buy the books. But I read somewhere (or maybe Montfort said this) that the letters books have a much smaller audience, so the publishers aren't as enthusiastic about putting them out. It's like Krumhansl's bibliography...a very small potential audience, so don't hold your breath for that to come out in paperback. ;)
I didn't think as much of that one as the other general letters books. For one, Martinelli's writing style isn't my cup of tea, and she's half the book. Good to grab if you can get it cheaply I suppose.
I found it more boring than the other books of letters. being Martinelli a woman, maybe B wrote differently, I don't know. I also disliked the way she wrote, it becomes kind of tiresome. and remember the bulk of letters only cover a few years in the mid-60's.
Yeah, he definitely wrote differently to women. I get the feeling he was romancing (at least in his own mind) almost every woman he ever corresponded with.

Users who are viewing this thread