Essential Bukowski: Poetry (1 Viewer)

cirerita

Founding member
Essential Bukowski: Poetry
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Front cover (not the final version, I think):

EssentialBukowskiHC_1-20.jpg
 
yes, it will be a sort of 'Best-of' and I do see the need for not everybody is so much of a fan to buy all the books of poetry. And even I, who owns them, sometimes just want to take a portable version of reliable standards with me when leaving the house. I'm all for a good 'Best-of'collection, be it in music or literature.
 

mjp

Founding member
I'm all for what Abel's doing, since I know he works hard to maintain the integrity of the work, and I'm pretty sure he's going to slip in a few unexpected masterpieces along with the usual suspects.

Having said that...

There are already two Black Sparrow/Ecco Bukowski anthologies. If this third one restores some of the work to its original state and turns people on to some new-to-them poems, that's great.

But I think what others are saying is it's a little bit like a band that had half of their catalog edited by chimpanzees, and still has hundreds of additional unreleased songs choosing to release yet another greatest hits album rather than fixing the chimp records or opening the vault. It smells like a(nother) money grab by Ecco, while they completely ignore the fact that they're sitting on top of an untapped goldmine. It's shortsighted and lazy.

But then people want the shortcut, the familiar. It's why Bob Marley's greatest hits album Legend has been "remastered" and repackaged dozens of times and has been in the Billboard top 100 continually since 1984(!), selling 3,000 to 5,000 copies every week. A tiny fraction of the people who buy that will ever dig any further into his work. The "hits" are enough for them.

So we are the outliers when it comes to Bukowski. But it was outliers and misfits who made Bukowski. Martin didn't accept that fact, and apparently neither does his current publisher, what with their themed collections with their blatantly holiday-timed releases, and now - another rehash.

It could be that these are stepping stones to something with more meat on its bones. Only time will tell. I just think it's a shame that we haven't seen a substantial new release of untrampled Bukowski poetry for two decades now. Restoring the work Martin ruined would go a long way toward fixing that. That's what Ecco should be doing. Repairing and restoring Bukowski's legacy.

But they didn't ask for my advice. ;) No one did. So I'll just offer it here. For what it's worth.
 
I'd love to see Bukowski Back to the Machinegun: Manuscripts Vol 4... Man, tell that collective to get it in gear! :-)

Seriously, though... wonder when they'll finish their planned 8 volumes... Do they need cash? What's the hold up I wonder? Hmm...
 

mjp

Founding member
I heard #4 was in the works. I don't think it's a matter of cash. There were more than 3 years between #1 and #2, then two volumes came out in one month. If you're looking for rhyme or reason there, I don't think you'll find any.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
yes, it will be a sort of 'Best-of' and I do see the need for not everybody is so much of a fan to buy all the books of poetry. And even I, who owns them, sometimes just want to take a portable version of reliable standards with me when leaving the house. I'm all for a good 'Best-of'collection, be it in music or literature.

I too, would like to have a Best-of containing all his famous and best poems. Sure, we already have them scattered all over the various poetry books of his and that's why it makes sense to me to have them all in one volume. I had hoped Pleasures... would be such a book and it is to some degree since it contains many of his best poems, but unfortunately about 40% of the book are his posthumous poems many of which no doubt have been "Martinized". At least a Best-of makes more sense to me than the Buk on cats book.
 
That's what Ecco should be doing. Repairing and restoring Bukowski's legacy.
Yeah, in former times I used to say, that ecco should bring out all the posthumous books AGAIN restored. I'm sure these would sell to most who already own them in their bad versions.

Anyhow, meanwhile I don't find this to be the best solution. Now, I'd vote for a WHOLE NEW edition: a critical edition of all his work carefully done by scholars. I'd be available to jump on board for such a project. Abel and David and me being on the editorial board for a critical editon of Bukowski's work, how about that?
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Great idea, Roni! You guys should try and sell the idea to Ecco (since they own the copyright to Buk's works).
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Although I have the other two "best of" releases I'm still gonna pick up Essential Buk in October. Cirerita, thank you for all your efforts.
 
But this is exactly why that cover is much better than all of the On... ones.
I am looking forward to Abel Debritto's selection of essential Bukowski poetry. It must have been a headache to select "essential" poems with only 300 pages available.
 
In a way, something like this is just as much a 'creative reflection' of the selector as it is of the original author. I am definitely intrigued to see which poems Abel came up with - but that's nothing personal, Abel. I'd be just as intrigued to see a similar collected edited by anybody around here. Although if Danny Mac did one, I'd want it signed.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
I like both covers and understand why different covers exist but just find it odd that there is the need to have different covers at all.
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
When I put out my next book, I'm gonna use dog penis red for my cover.

Bill, how close can you get to dog penis red?
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
Gentlemen,
While you wait for this to come out, I strongly adivise you to purchase Vol. 1-3 of Back to the Machinegun. All three volumes will be about the same price as Abel's new book and you'll be incredibly satisfied.

Please understand that this is not a knock on Abel's new book -- this is just something to keep you from chronically playing with your balls until Abel's book comes out.

Trust me: Back to the Machinegun Rocks!

[Links to the books are here. -ed.]
 
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PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Correct me if I'm wrong here but if I've got my history correct Buk only ever wrote out his poems if he couldn't sit at the typewriter. Early on he had to sell his typewriter to the pawn shop sometimes so...write it out. He wasn't always "snatching phrases here and there" or "scribbling down random thoughts on scraps of paper". Mostly it was "back to the machine gun", sitting at HIS typewriter and towards the end, at the computer.

And as to first drafts? I don't think he ever really though of poems that way. If he thought they sucked he may have discarded them or reused portions for other poems. But "first drafts" didn't cross his mind too much with the poetry it seems.
 
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mjp

Founding member
There are notebooks full of poems and stories in one (or more?) of the university collections. I'm sure Abel has seen them and may have copied some pages.

He wrote a few times about his neighbors complaining about his typing, saying he had to stop at 10 p.m. I don't think that happened at DeLongpre or Carlton Way, but before that, pre-1965, it seems like he may have had to write things out by hand more often. And of course on those occasions when he didn't have a typewriter...
 

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