I'd like to see Bukowski's texts set to the modernists,
like Stockhausen, John Cage or their equivalents.
From what I've heard, B. doesn't go well with Bach
or the tonalists. Nevertheless, if Hugo Wolf had been
around, they might have had drunken debauches,
gone musicially mad together and created history.
Oh to be a fly-speck on the fractured wall of creation.
I know I'm gonna come off sounding like a musical snob here but at the heart of Cages work was the principle of chance and indeterminacy. Setting Bukowskis poetry to music (while being something Cage may have considered) would probably not have satisfied a reader of Bukowski. The result would almost certainly have been a deconstruction of the poetic text in 'service' of the musical philosophy.
I don't know where to begin trying to mash together the Germanic intellectualism of Stockhausen with the plain spoken, monosyllabic anti-intellectualism of Buk.
But both those guys were geniuses and I'm some schmo typing at a computer, so what do I know? Maybe they could have bridged their various gaps.
Personally, I hate the idea of poetry set to music. One thing always seems to dominate the other (bearing in mind a libretto is not poetry and nor a lyrics to popular music). Kerouac screwed with it and it sounds so bloody dated now to be embarrassing.
I think Bukowski goes wonderfully with almost any music, especially Bach; one in the form of a CD playing and the other a book in my hands.
Bottom line - some poetry is pure magical genius - some music is likewise - why force the two together. The creative acts come from different inspirations, times, contexts. The results usually betray this.
Not that I really think Mr. B. needs to be put to music but it got me thinking about Kenneth Patchen and a late 50s recording he did with a Canadian jazz combo, the Alan Neil Quartet. Don't have that but do have a Folkways Patchen recording of him reading his stuff. Of course, I don't have a turntable that works these days. (Oddly enough I have 1981 collection of short stories by Al Neil, one that I sort of remember started with him crawling home from a bar in North Vancouver by following the center line of the road, only to be "helped" by the RCMP. I believe Al passed away a few years ago.)
Word Jazz seemed quite popular in the "Beat" era. Ken Nordine, etc.