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Flower, Fist on eBay (1 Viewer)

Hello, everyone. I'm writing to clear up some questions about the latest copy of Bukowski's Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail we have offered on ebay, as well as to tell you a little about our library's Bukowski collection. I feel a little guilty for lurking on these boards, so now you know I'm here.

First of all, this IS a different copy than the one we sold a couple months ago. There are different condition issues you might notice--the back cover of this copy, in particular, has some odd discoloration. The number in pencil is a (Library of Congress-style) call number, written at some point in the past to show that this is an extra copy of a book already catalogued in our collection under this call number. This particular copy was never catalogued, though, so it has no other library markings and is not an ex-library copy. The copy we already have catalogued is inscribed--I'll come back later with more information about the inscription, because it's pretty interesting.

It's also surprising to ME that we've come up with so many copies of this rare book (in fact, I've also found ANOTHER one. so now you all know...) Here's what I think happened. We have an extensive Polish/Polish American archive on campus. The archivist in the '60s and '70s, now deceased, collected Bukowski because of his Polish name. Prices were no doubt a lot lower back then. Some of those items were added to the library's collection, and some were housed separately and never catalogued (I'm getting around to it slowly...). Some were kept together and some were scattered--and I do mean scattered--around our various campus buildings. I took over the archives a few months ago, so I'm now digging up some of those items. If you look at our flickr page (www.flickr.com/photos/orchardlake) you'll see how these things could have been lost for decades.

Among the Bukowski stuff I've located, there is also a very gracious hand-written letter from Buk to our former archivist in answer to an inquiry about his Polish background. I'll also have to come back with more information about that later, because I'm writing this from home, not from the library.

Anyway, I just wanted everyone to know the situation. I've learned a lot from this website that will help me as I continue to catalogue this collection. I wasn't sure of the best way to make the extra copies available to collectors, and decided that ebay was the fairest option to everyone. It may also be that the other extra copy we now have should be offered to another library or archive.

If you've got any other questions, I'm happy to try to answer them. Don't feel constrained in your discussion on this forum just because I'm here, though. It's a learning curve for me when it comes to this material.

Joseph Swastek might know the answer to this.
Joseph Swastek, as "cirerita" indicated, IS the reason our obscure library came to hold so many copies of this book (In fact, I've just uncovered ANOTHER one, which makes 4 altogether, SO FAR). We have an extensive Polish and Polish American archive and other collections here on campus.


old and in the way
Man, I looked at those photos and, in a way, envy you. I mean it's a horrible mess to go through but sorting those books and finding the occasional treasure must be rewarding (and kind of fun).

Want to trade a copy of Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail for a signed copy of Hot Water Music with a painting? Seriously.
This is where you store rare books?

Welcome to the forum and have a nice day.

Thanks. The Rare Book Room is located in the new addition to our library, which is very nicely outfitted (There should be some photos in the flickr photostream). The problem is that materials which weren't donated directly to the library but which were directed instead to the archives, ended up in dozens of rooms and storage spaces all over campus, under often deplorable conditions as you can see. What's happening now is that the present archivist has retired and the whole "Polish Mission" of the Orchard Lake Schools is being reorganized, at long last. It's under that reorganization that the Rare Book collection and the archives have both come under one person (that would be me).

The plan that I've been working on since August has been to first of all move the books out of these storage spaces and into the library, where they'll be checked against our existing collection and catalogued when appropriate. Duplicates will be sold, recycled, or otherwise disposed of (for instance, we have an agreement whereby many of our Polish-language duplicates go directly to Duke University.)

As the books are moved out of these rooms, we can then evaluate and process what's left, including the archival collections. For this we are getting assistance of various kinds from the Polish government and from the University of Michigan. We'll also be working on renovating one of our historic buildings to house the archives and, we hope, a genealogical research center.

As you can imagine, it's a long-term process to correct conditions that were allowed to develop over at least the last 25 years, if not longer. It looks pretty bad, but in actuality we've made a lot of progress in just a few months (as some of the photos should show), packing over 600 boxes of books and identifying some of the most important archival collections that still need to be processed. A year from now, we'll have a lot to be proud of, I think!


Sad Flower in the Sand
So... just how secure is your location? Ha ha ha. Just kidding! Kinda.

No but thanks for responding. You've put my mind at ease. If I had the money, I'd totally buy it. You're a lucky group of people to own that many copies of such a rare volume. If you ever do a give away... let us know!


Usually wrong.
After my goofy post yesterday, I came to my senses and realized maybe someone had donated an entire Bukowski collection to the Polish Mission Library, but having an archivist that collected Bukowski (he was polish) makes even more sense.
Thanks again for everybody's interest in this auction and our unlikely Bukowski collection. I thought you'd like to see the inscription in the copy of Flower, Fist that's in our Special Collection. The issue with this catalogued copy is that it's been bound (I don't know the actual term for this kind of binding that libraries often use for pamphlets). But the note on the title page is just so great. I also added photos of another long Bukowski inscription in another book to "Szmanski" (which isn't an actual Polish name; I don't know if this is a misspelling of Szymanski or if maybe this was actually meant for Fr. Swastek and Buk was just confused. Any ideas?) The typewritten letter is to Fr. Swastek. Sorry for the poor quality. I'll probably re-edit the originals and put up better photos--ones that you can actually read--later, but it's late and I wanted to get something up tonight. I hope the photo shows up here--if not, just hop over to www.flickr.com/photos/orchardlake.

Those inscriptions are fantastic! I love the 2 pager!! Thank goodness e-mail wasn't around in those days and we get to look at the correspondence in the great man's hand 45 years later.
I just climaxed.

Does anyone have a guess as to what the other inscribed book is in the photo? To me, it looks like Poems and Drawings.

Best part of the inscription: At the end, Buk writes "(Now 42.) (Soon dead.)"


Founding member
Does anyone have a guess as to what the other inscribed book is in the photo? To me, it looks like Poems and Drawings.
I was wondering the same thing, it is an odd shape. But being 1963, yeah, I would think it would have to be Poems and Drawings. I don't have a copy to compare.
And look here!
In "living on luck - selected letters 1960s-1970s Volume2" there is actually a correspondence between BUK and John William Corrington , dated March 6 1964 where mr Swastek is mentioned!!!

BUK writes;
*** Anyhow, you louse, I am still alive and and I feel that my head is no fatter than usual in spite of articles on one Bukowski in Northwest Review, Descant, Americas the, and Polish American Studies. The latter written by the Rev. Joe Swastek, Librarian of Alumni Memorial Library, SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary, St. Mary's College, St. Mary's Preparatory, Orchard Lake, Michigan. I got a letter from him this morning wondering if I had done much beside the poems and drawings in the Epos number. He wants to fuck up the library with it, which is very nice, I think. I'll send him on to various. ***

the rest (if something) is not quoted in the book,... but anyhow it is way cool....

the story continues....



Usually wrong.
Great find. Has anyone seen that article in Polish American Studies? It would be funny if Swastek mentions the library's four copies of Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail. Not too likely, I realize.


Founding member

Swastek does not mention the library at all in that article, but he says that B is "... presently the only Polish-American beatnik." He then quotes B as not being "ashamed of Poland. It is a small nation caught between big nations and this, in history, makes it a loser."


Founding member
It sounds great, but it's completely inaccurate. B was not Polish, he can't be considered a Beatnik now -not even back in 1963- and I'm not even sure he was American.

A "beautiful lie" indeed.

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