'Don't Try' quote (1 Viewer)


Founding member
I think some people were wondering where did the "don't try" quote appear for the first time. Well, I just found it: it's in an October, 1963 letter to Corrington (collected in Living on Luck).

You're welcome ;)


Founding member
That whole paragraph about the spider and immortality was on the first page the Bukowski section on smog for years. At least once a month someone would ask me where it came from. I had to put a Post-It note on that page of Living on Luck because I referenced it so much. Kind of like pointing people to Dinosauria, we when they are looking for the poem called Born Into This.

Two of Bukowski's greatest hits. I wonder what the top 10 are?


Usually wrong.
Top Ten has to include: "For Jane" -- the love poem (Not sure I have the title right.)

Also, "The Tragedy of the Leaves" has to be in there.
I think 'Jam', the first poem in Last Night of the Earth Poems, is a good'un, and I would go along with 'Dinosauria, we' and 'the tragedy of the leaves'. 'For Jane' is certainly moving, and '$$$$$$' is good for a bit of analysis. In my dissertation I didn't get to discuss 'Dinosauria, we' or 'Jam', but I'm convinced there is a very interesting essay waiting to be written on both.


Sad Flower in the Sand
So You Want To Be A Writer is my current favorite. Though I don't know how it rates elsewhere ;)

Just a lot of passion and great lines in that one.
only TEN is a tough choice.

sure agreed with 'Dinosauria' and 'tragedy'.
on the Jane-poems, i always prefered 'remains' (also in 'Days run away') to the others.

how about 'Old man dead in a room'?


"The law is wrong; I am right"
how about 'Old man dead in a room'?

All three have to be included in a Top 10.

What about "The Rat", "The Shower", "We ain't got no money, honey, but we got rain", "Something for the touts..." and "The strongest of the strange" ? - A Top 10 is very difficult to make. Maybe it should be a Top 20 instead...
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hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Founding member
Hi. Welcome back to another old thread.

Just happened across another reference to 'Don't Try' and thought I'd pop it here for reference.

[To Maxwell Gaddis]
March 14, 1992 12:21 AM

Regarding Who's Who and my advice, "don't try." Well, it means if the stuff doesn't jump on you and make you do it, forget it, in writing and in everything else. I liked best what Ferlinghetti told them when they asked to list him in Who's Who. He wrote back, "Fuck you." Beautiful, beautiful.

Living On Luck p.225​
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Usually wrong.
That's a clear explanation of what he meant by "don't try." A bit of a surprise seeing Buk praise Ferlinghetti. He generally didn't have much patience for the Beats.
I'm still amazed when this user ID is actually taken at face-value by people, as if anyone would log in to a website with the name "I'm only a boy, don't take anything I say seriously because I lack life experience." And the vaginal reference is lost on so many.

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