Dirty, vulgar poem

mjp

So much been said and so little been done
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#1
Yes, I said I wouldn't subject you to any more of these, I know. But I come across some that are so disgusting that I have to trot them out. And hey, if I have to suffer, so do you.

dirty poem/vulgar poem

Special bonus: two references to drinking removed, for those of you keeping score at home.
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
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#4
The change in the title alone proves, without a doubt, that John the Butcher had no idea where Buk was coming from.
"dirty poem" changed to "vulgar poem"?
Talk about de-balling a poem from the very start!
The Butcher couldn't carry Buk's balls in a paper bag... thats for sure
 

mjp

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#5
How on earth did he get away with this?
Well, here we are, so I suppose you can say that he hasn't.

But it was easy for him to do whatever he wanted to do, because he controlled the work. Even after he sold the rights to HarperCollins, they looked to him to compile the collections. He must have assumed that no one would notice, or at least that they wouldn't notice until 50 years after he was dead. He didn't anticipate that there would ever be a large, accessible collection of manuscripts, a database of the work, searchable electronic copies of the books, people weird enough to obsess over all of that and actually give a shit. He didn't see us coming, but again, here we are.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
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#6
What a mess! Even losing at the racetrack was changed into winning instead.
The person who changed all those poems ought to be shot with lukewarm shit.
 

Rekrab

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#7
mjp -- this is important information you are gathering. Like evidence of crimes committed. Turns out Bukowski was an even better writer than we thought -- his work has been mutilated by a hack with no sense of style, no way with words. At least "the editor" should have hired someone equal to the task, a pro who could recognize graceful language vs clumsy verbiage. Damn. When the corrected editions come out (and they must), I'm dumping my Ecco first editions.
 

mjp

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#8
I'll be dumping my posthumous books too, before any future corrected editions (waiting for those may be a lifelong job). I can't even open one of them now.

But I'll be dumping mine via UPS to someone at HarperCollins, along with an explanation of why, and a nudge in the direction of whatever final analysis comes of all this.

I don't expect anything will come of that, but it will make me feel better.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
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#9
and to think he called bukowski "the walt whitman of our day"

do you think linda would care at all if she was aware of the extent of the butchery?
 

mjp

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#10
Who cares if she cares.

I mean, what she thinks matters at the moment (it shouldn't, but it does), but that's a temporary situation. One day a nut (sorry; two nuts) won't be in charge and maybe the right thing can finally be done.

Even if she cared, there's nothing she could do about it. HC isn't going to revise those collections. Too expensive, and it would devalue all their existing stock.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
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#11
I mean, what she thinks matters at the moment (it shouldn't, but it does)
that's why i asked. if she cared enough she could raise a stink and bring at least some attention to it.

i just want to see martin on the hot seat before the chance is gone.
 

mjp

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#12
When I started to become aware of the scope of this problem I wanted to put Martin on the hot seat too. But the more I think about it, the more I believe it doesn't matter if he's ever held accountable. He can't change what he's done, and what kind of explanation would be satisfying? There isn't one. His explanation/excuse/lie would only piss us off more, I suspect.

What's more important is to make sure people know the work has been altered, that they should be aware of that if they choose to read those books. I think it's possible to do that on a pretty large scale (I know we can get a lot of other sites - including some big time sites - to report or comment on the info once it's ready for public consumption), and from there, who knows what will come of it.

But presenting the facts without pointing fingers is going to have a much greater impact than an angry tirade. It makes it a more interesting story, and it will cause a lot of other people who are interested to ask the questions themselves. And some of them will go to the source and ask Martin for us.

And make no mistake - it would have been a crazy, profane rant without the input of everyone here, so it's good that you all set me straight.

Though when it's all said and done, I'll still have my rant. But after the fact, when it can't do as much harm. ;)
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
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#14
Though when it's all said and done, I'll still have my rant. But after the fact, when it can't do as much harm. ;)
Looking very much forward to that - that and the (un)revised posthumous editions...
Hope the Butcher is still alive when it happens.:amb:

PS: We can also add an international front to this. Buk is more appreciated in Europe than in the US. I'm sure a major mag will be interested in an article on the subject here in Norway. I'll be willing to plug it here. Other countries will follow I'm sure: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Australia and Little Britain of course. What other nationalities do we have represented? Japan? Brazil? Chile? France? Austria? Oh my, did I forget Kanada? ;))
 

Rekrab

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#15
This may be a huge scandal when it's exposed on a wider scale than this forum. Not just that it happened at all, but that the changes are so very bad. In every case I've seen, a good, tight poem has been filled with poorly worded junk phrases that add nothing. Even worse, the editor has deleted some of Bukowski's content, and added some of his own (the editor's) content. In other words, the editor has messed with the ideas, the images, the meaning of the poems. That is sacrilege when dealing with a writer of Bukowski's obvious genius and proven track record. Editing for style is bad enough when it harms the style. Editing for content is taking liberties with a man's very being, changing who we think Bukowski was.
 

Rekrab

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#17
How about a campaign to get Ecco to prepare corrected/restored editions, with a mail-in exchange program where you send in your doctored edition of whatever title and they send you the restored edition? Could they be shamed into doing that, or am I dreaming? I know business is all about making money, and they would lose on that deal, but isn't their reputation -- and Buk's -- worth something?
 

mjp

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#18
isn't their reputation -- and Buk's -- worth something?
To us, yes. To them, no.

"Fixing" the books would mean re-doing them from scratch, using the pre-Martinized manuscripts, which I don't even think they have access to. The fact that it would require some research makes it pretty clear that it is never going to happen. Not at HarperCollins. Someone has to compile all those original manuscripts before any publisher would consider taking on the job. Even then, a smaller publisher would likely face pressure - or at the least, a lack of cooperation - from HarperCollins on the project, because the existence of the correct versions would bite into their back catalog sales. And regardless of anything else, they do control those rights now.

Having said that, if the proper research were to be done, and the original manuscripts all located, I'd buy bootleg (POD?) copies of the correct versions of those books. ;) I think something like that might be very popular in certain circles.

We already have 35% of the manuscripts for What Matters Most, and there are still about 500 undocumented manuscripts left to go through, so we may end up with half of them. Even if the books can't be re-created in their current form, there are going to be five or six (or seven or eight) volumes worth of manuscript poems available right here. If those were to be transcribed and organized (Scrivener!) and POD-ed, you would have an interesting little thingamabob there...

But I'm getting way ahead of myself. As usual.
 

Rekrab

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#19
[...]"Fixing" the books would mean re-doing them from scratch, using the pre-Martinized manuscripts, which I don't even think they have access to. The fact that it would require some research makes it pretty clear that it is never going to happen. Not at HarperCollins. Someone has to compile all those original manuscripts before any publisher would consider taking on the job. Even then, a smaller publisher would likely face pressure - or at the least, a lack of cooperation - from HarperCollins on the project, because the existence of the correct versions would bite into their back catalog sales. And regardless of anything else, they do control those rights now.[...]
True. But if there was a big enough stink over this situation, if an expose appeared in something like The New Yorker or Esquire's, might not Harper Collins suddenly find the resources to deal with fixing the problem? I mean, if they come out looking like dummies being played by an inept editor. They wouldn't do it unless they were up against the wall, with their credibility being questioned by some literary heavy-hitters.
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
#20
HC could even make $$$ out of a new corrected (or un-corrected?) edition:

"Now for the first time available: The original poems as they were first written! Catch these ultimate editions!"
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
#22
If only they would! They would make money, and we would get the unedited poem collections. Talk about a win-win situation.
 

mjp

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#23
I suppose it all depends on how much the world at large cares about the changes. I don't doubt that we can get it written up in a lot of different mags, I just don't know about shit like The New Yorker. I wouldn't be so sure that even an article there would force HarperCollins hand.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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#24
while I care very much, I don't think the vast majority of people would give a rats ass. how much furor is there over the editing of Raymond Carvers work? not much, even with a New Yorker article about it. you won't see new corrected pre-editing editions of Carver's work. and you won't with Bukowski, no matter how much all of us here wish it were possible.

that being said, I do think a small press mag would have interest in such an article, but it's not going to start a revolution.
 
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