editing by john martin

Hi I got here after hearing Michael Phillips This Is Not a Test piece on abuse of Bukowski's work via editing by John Martin. It's not something I especially want to believe, but I've been queasy about quality of CB's posthumous work for a long time. It just has not sounded right, and collections have been very mixed. Even something important like The Pleasures of the Damned rung a bit off. Love to know more.
 
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mjp

Founding member
after hearing Michael Phillips This Is Not a Test piece on abuse of Bukowski's work...
You are clearly a man of refined taste and intellect, so we're glad you're here.

zobraks pointed you to where the action is on that topic, though there are discussions and examples scattered all over the forum. Eventually I hope to use the posthumous editing issues tag to make them all easily accessible.
 
Eventually I hope to use the posthumous editing issues tag to make them all easily accessible.
Thanks both of you. Sounds like a good idea regards editing issues. I notice editing issues regards Bukowski organisationally as well as in way his writing has been changed based on your discussion of Martin and Ecco's treatment of posthumous work. I know tracking Bukowski's poems can be a hard business but it seems to me the posthumous work is only further scrambling the chronology as well. Muddying the waters even more. I'm actually working on writing a review of On Writing, which at least has some organisational form to it. I can't think of another major writer who would have his work treated so poorly. Seems to me there is a need for a major clean-up operation and a new rigour when it comes to any more publications. I would not have believed the Martin allegations if I had not seen Bukowski's letter about changes Martin made to first edition of Women, which B. only noticed once edition was out. I have not checked but I wondered if Women was then re-edited back to B's original vision? In any case that letter seemed prima facie evidence for these later allegations against Martin. He may have been a great publisher but as an editor he obviously has a tin ear and a heavy hand.
 
I have not checked but I wondered if Women was then re-edited back to B's original vision?
Yes, the second edition includes Buk's revisions. I don't know if they are exactly his original content, but either he did the re-editing or had Martin revert to the original text. You can find a first printing of a wraps copy for not too much money and compare to any subsequent printing. There's also a thread somewhere here (created by by mjp, I believe) than contains side-by-side comparisons.
 
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Holy macaroni; it's hard to fathom that I've been here for 8 years. I did delve into a search for that. I hope you didn't spend too much time finding it.
 
I'd just like to add that, although the major thread on the topic is referred to as the tragic rape of Bukowski's ghost, there is some evidence in Abel's awesome recent book that the tragic .. mishandling began well before Bukowski entered the spirit world.
 

mjp

Founding member
Comparing the changes Black Sparrow Press made to the poetry pre-death to those made post-death makes what happened during his lifetime look almost innocuous.

Imagine that you ate at a restaurant every day because you liked the chef's cooking. Once or twice a year you'd see a hair in your soup, but you'd just pull it out and figure, "Well, humans have hair, shit happens." Then one day the chef dies, but the restaurant stays open. They say, "Don't worry, it's still the chef's recipes, nothing has changed!" So you go in and sit down and order the soup. Five minutes later the waiter shows up smiling and says, "Here's your soup," and sets a big bowl of wet hair down on the table in front of you.

There's an analogy in there somewhere for you. It may be somewhat clumsy, but hopefully it's picturesque.
 

cirerita

Founding member
Well, At Terror Street... had old poems --mostly from 1964-65-- that were not changed; The Days Run Away... was edited by Dorbin, who culled the poems from the littles and printed them verbatim. Post Office was the first book to be truly edited. See sample below from the actual mss -that handwriting is certainly not Bukowski's.

postoffice.png
 
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