Database updated (1 Viewer)


Founding member
Since another database topic came up in a different thread I figured I would give you an update here.

You can see from the stats on this page that I am gradually working in the forum links and alternate tiles (those stats update automatically every 24 hours). I am almost finished with a list of titles that I need help with to check for duplicates. It's a long list, but I figure that I can get input from some of you with large collections of periodicals on a lot of magazine appearances that I can't check. The list looks like this:
mad enough - Septaugenarian Stew - pg. 362
mad enough to puke on the whole world - High Times - 1984

8 Count And On - Long Shot - Vol. 14 - 1993
8 Count And Up - Gas - 1990​
And what I need to know is if the poems are the same (or essentially the same) in the book and the magazine. (The entry above comparing two magazine appearances is not typical - almost all of the items consist of a magazine and a book. And I can assume that "mad enough" is the same, but I didn't want to make any assumptions unless I had to).

After that list is checked, we'll just have to update the "alternates" list as they come up in discussion, since I never kept a master list of all the duplicates we've talked about.

Same with the forum links. I am going through the unpublished and uncollected forum to get the initial links, but after that it will be a question of adding them as they come up.

Last piece of the puzzle is adding the additional 6 or 700 manuscripts to the database and the site. That's a nasty piece of work because I have to edit every one of those 1200+ image files to combine multi-page poems into one file, edit out the San Pedro address in the later ones, then add each one to the database. Twice.

But it will be done during this round of updates, because I need to finally get this thing off my back. Once all this is done, adding a single item here and there will be easy. But for now I just have to stand up next to this mountain and chop it down with the edge of my hand, or I'm going to lose my mind. Or lose it more. However you want to look at it.


One good thing that has come of all of this is that the database is becoming much more accurate. As I go through the alternate titles and forum links and all, I am cleaning up a lot of entries, and making sure the titles really match the publication (or manuscript or whatever). So there's that.
Kudos for all the work.

One comment on the "are the poems the same or essentially the same" concept: I was reading a section of a poem from Wormwood and War All the Time, and in the first chunk of the poem, the only change was a removal of the word "the" in the War All the Time version. As it turned out, there were some more significant changes later in the poem (which is about five pages). However, that use of the word "the" in the Wormwood version was not trivial - the flow was much better with it in there.

Not to be a pain in the ass, but if it isn't too much work, perhaps poems could be classified as

1. identical
2. minor changes
3. major changes

Although use or lack of use of the word "the" would fall in category #2, it might clue the reader to read it for oneself and measure the significance of the change on their own.

So, you'd just need some criteria for differentiating between minor and major.

Or you could tell me that my idea is completely baked, or way too much work and to go jump in a lake.

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
I think it is up to the person looking up all of the different versions to determine how much of a change each version is, in their own mind.

Thank you for all the hard work but the upside is an idle mind is the devil's workshop.


Founding member
Or you could tell me that my idea is completely baked, or way too much work and to go jump in a lake.
It's an interesting idea. But you know, the database doesn't even attempt to do that now. All it does is tell you if the same work (or again, essentially the same work) exists under a different title.

In order to do what you're suggesting would require the poem title to be in the database multiple times, once for each permutation. So something like the crunch would be listed three times in the results, and depending which one someone clicked on, they'd get a different appearance.

What I want to do eventually is the "compare" option that I linked to somewhere around here. It just depends on how many alternate versions we end up with. Might not be worth the trouble when all is said and done, as interesting as it is, because you need the first appearance or the manuscript to really do a comparison with the collected version.

At this point I am assuming that very few poems survived untouched in some way when they landed in the BSP collections. It seems like every one I have compared recently has something changed, even if it's trivial and inconsequential. Might be easier to start a list of poems that BSP didn't change.
Maybe I misunderstood, but what I thought you were asking for in post # 45 was to compare the book vs. magazine version to see: "if the poems are the same (or essentially the same) in the book and the magazine." This suggests, or even states clearly to me that you are trying to flag poems from different sources as to their similarity or lack thereof. My suggestion was merely an attempt at dividing "similar" and "not similar" into three categories rather than two categories.

But based on your post, that's not how the database works. It's just how I thought the database works.

As a related aside, there's a woman I work with closely on many projects, and we interact often (we are friends, but we butt heads professionally). I'm always saying "here's what is scientifically valid, this is what needs to be in the database." Her inevitable reply is: "that's not how a database works, I can't put that in the database."


Founding member
The thing about the list I'm going to post (tomorrow, hopefully) is the titles are different but similar. So I need to know if they are different titles for the same poem.

I guess the wording in the database interface is misleading. In most cases they are alternate titles, but I'm calling them alternate versions.

But they usually are slightly different...

You can see how fucked up this is.

Tagging alternate versions is much more difficult because often they have the same title. And the thing that links everything together in the database is the title. The "WorkNumber" is in every table, every entry.
Ahh, so we have a rhomboid matrix (my drunken term):

The same poem with the same title...the same poem with different title
Similar poems with different titles...similar poems with the same title
...and all that other sort of related stuff that a certain "editor" fucked up by being overly-sensitive to the word cunt.

{forgive my use of the word "stuff." I mean good stuff; well, originally}


Founding member
And I can assume that "mad enough" is the same, but I didn't want to make any assumptions unless I had to...

With Bukowski and Martin in the equation, assuming anything at all is synonymous with big, fucking blunder, bra! You just don't want to go down that avenue... I learned that lesson a while ago.

I'm glad to see there are 117 forum links in the db. It's a very smart way to keep those poems alive somehow...

Digney in Burnaby

donkeys live a long time
This what you're looking for?

I'm using New York Quarterly #37 as most of the poems there are uncollected (as far as the database is concerned).

Of the nine poems, four have longer titles than what the database indicates.

what do you write -- database
what do you write on a machine -- nyq 37

do you think hemingway -- database
do you think hemingway or celine would act like this? -- nyq 37

the privatization -- database
the privatization of the parts -- nyq 37

i think of snails -- database
i think of snails crawling toward the twilight.... -- nyq 37

The local university has most of the NYQ collection bound down in their bowels. Sometimes I think I am the first person to crack the spine on those collections since they were bound, probably since they passed through the acquisition desk. And then I photocopy them.

The one poem that is collected, me and my buddy, has one slight variation: the line "sets them to/flame" appears in You Get So Alone as "sets them on/fire".

Do we worry about things titles being all capitals and things like that? Every title by Bukowski in NYQ 37 was all caps.


Founding member
Yeah, always looking for stuff like that. And that's what many of the titles in my list look like, because just going by the short titles they could be different poems.

Do we worry about things titles being all capitals and things like that? Every title by Bukowski in NYQ 37 was all caps.
Everything in the database is capitalized and stripped of trailing punctuation for consistency. So:
i think of snails crawling toward the twilight....​
I Think Of Snails Crawling Toward The Twilight​
It would be closer to accurate if everything was made lower case, because the titles were 90% all lower case. But then you lose capitalization of names and places and it looks bad to have things like "hemingway" or "new york," so I decided to use capitalization.


Founding member
Currently the titles in stuff like Terror Street and the all-Bukowski Wormwood chaps are tagged as "collected," but I'm thinking that titles that appear only in limited editions (and aren't in BSP books, like 275 steps from Hollywood) should be technically "uncollected." I always meant collected to infer that you could go out and find/buy it right now...thoughts?
I suppose you could go either way on this, but just indicate the decisions you've made to the user. To that end, it strikes me (and perhaps you've thought of this) that the DB could use an intro page that outlines:

1. some of the decisions you've made in classifying works (as in the above example you've asked about);
2. the issue with similar poems with the same title or different title, different poems with similar titles, etc.;
3. some search hints/examples;
4. an indication that the DB contains more than poems (despite the title); and
5. some of the other DB capabilities that you've posted about from time-to-time.

I realize that this is more work, but I suspect you've got most of it down in the forum already. Most of it would likely be just a matter of pulling it together in one page. Either as FAQ's or links to descriptions of general concepts in using the DB.

I suppose, after indicating that you should do more work, that I should at least add a direct answer to your question: to me, it's less about whether a poem (for example) is currently available, I feel as if collected should denote "in any BSP, Paget, City Lights or ecco publication." Did I miss any to make this even more confusing?


Founding member
A lot of those clarifications are already made here. There is a link to that page from every page of the search and results.

I guess the only reason I was thinking of separating some of the BSP books is they are hard to come by, and if a poem is in one of those limited editions, it is - for all intents and purposes - uncollected. Maybe not technically uncollected. But it isn't like you can go to most libarrys and check out Scarlet or Terror Street. You could say the same thing for the Paget books. I don't see the real world difference between books like Terror Street, Fire Station and Bukowski/Purdy. They were all short runs that are now uncommon.

So if I'm Joe Schmoe looking at database results, and the stuff in say, Legs, Hips and Behind comes up as collected, I'm going to be really frustrated when I go to Borders to get it and they just look at me with a blank stare and ask me if I wouldn't prefer a magnetic Justin Bieber calendar for my refrigerator. That would be my argument for re-classifying those, but I do see the technical reasons for considering a collection a collection, no matter what the limitation was.
What is the main target audience of the DB? The casual reader or someone who is largely familiar with Buk's output and is trying to locate a poem or perhaps "different" versions of the same poem?

I realize that the answer is "both," but your suggestion caters more to the novice and mine to the person who is more familiar with the scope of Buk's output. From the standpoint of what a DB is generally regarded as, your way allows for more general understanding. I suppose my way is how it might work better for me.

Still, one would think that if the poems Terror St. came up as collected, that wouldn't tell me I could get it at the local library or Barnes & Noble. It would tell me that it's in a BSP/Paget/City Lights/ecco publication. Lest we cater to folks who do legwork before research; a brief perusal of the interwebby thing would tell the user that Terror St. is going to take some work and some $$$ to find, regardless of whether it's flagged as collected or uncollected here.

And note that I did not indicate to include Wormwood as collected; I would only include the Wormwood poems that are also in the primary publications. Actually, there's another option. Use Aaron Krumhansl's "Primary Publication" designation as your cut-off. When building a DB, the best thing you can have is a citable source for decision-making.


Founding member
AK's biblio is pretty good and accurate, if you ask me, though I'm not really big on that kind of bibliographies as they are addressed to a very limited audience. Other Bukowski bibliographies, however, are riddled with errors and citing them without triple-checking their accuracy could be your worst nightmare in the long run... Believe me, I've been there.

Re. the term collected, I think PS is right. It's just the standard way to say something has been published in a book (aka major work, primary publication, you name it). It does not matter if a poem was "printed" in a cave with sticks and stones two thousand years ago; if the contents have been reprinted in a book, then you can say it has been "collected". That's the standard form.

But I do get mjp's point, too. For practical purposes, it is as if that poem in the cave was never "printed" in the first place becase no one saw it besides the artist and his mom... and an archeologist 1999 years later, who was the one who deciced to publish it (again!).

If you're not using standard forms, then I guess it would be a good idea, as PS suggested, to explain that in a little note so scholars (ahem) using the database can understand what's going on.

I mean, if you care about Bukowski scholars ;)


Founding member
What is the main target audience of the DB?

Primary publications is a good place to start I suppose. As far as books are concerned. If we're getting technical I guess I have to also re-do the "major" designation for the books. That was always just my take on major anyway. It could be reclassified as "primary."

I just wanted someplace to see which book a poem was in...


Founding member
I uploaded 80 new manuscripts (2 poems, an article, 4 postcards and 74 letters) but haven't added them to the database yet. Turns out the current manuscripts page reads from the old database, so there is some revamping to do. Again. Of course. Anyway, work on the manuscripts is underway.

After these letters there are 1,160 image files left in the manuscripts "to-do" directory here; those files make up 663 poems and two short stories.

So, yeah.


"The law is wrong; I am right"
Good job, mjp! It's gonna be one hell of a database when it's finished...
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Founding member
The manuscripts page is updated and all the new letters are there.

One new poem went up as well that is apparently uncollected, though it looks familiar.

The observant and discerning amongst you will notice that the manuscript titles no longer have book titles and pages associated with them (where applicable). That's because I'm using the data from the new database, and those details are in different tables now. I'll see if I can get that back in there eventually.

The new manuscripts page is also static - meaning it does not query the database anymore. There were about a million queries on that page and the manuscripts table hardly ever changes, so...why the hell was I querying the database every time someone pulled that page up? I dunno.

Bored yet?


Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Founding member
the poem is from one of the audio recordings, but never collected (as you point out).

the letters are fantastic, and the rest of the database looks great.

so far, so good!


Founding member
the manuscript titles no longer have book titles and pages associated with them (where applicable).
Book and magazine appearances for the manuscripts are back. Instead of being listed on the main manuscript list page they are listed when you view a manuscript.

I kind of preferred the old way, but this is the best compromise I have. And the old way was inaccurate and could only list one appearance for each manuscript. This new method finds them all.


Founding member
35 new poem manuscripts added today. Mostly in the "undated" section. All of those "broken typewriter" ones we discussed in another thread, plus a few heavily edited manuscripts, for fans of those.

I thought I could get a lot more done today, but the undated ones are kind of time consuming to look up, etc. All the undated ones are finished now though, so future additions should go a little more quickly. There's no quick way to do this though, so patience is the key.

17 of them were new titles, meaning they are uncollected under the manuscript title.


Founding member
Added 25 new 1971 and 1972 manuscripts (15 new titles, 2 of those are alternate titles).

Then I got distracted and spent a couple hours adding some queries so I could flag the manuscripts that contain uncollected poems. They are now marked with a red dot.

Turns out that more than half of the manuscripts contain uncollected poems. Who woulda figured?


Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Founding member
weird. I can't see the red dot with Chrome, but can with Safari.

but that's a very cool feature. thanks for the hard work.

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