Intro to "It Catches My Heart In Its Hands"/Corrington split (1 Viewer)

mjp

Founding member
Here's John William Corrington's introduction to Bukowski's 1963 collection, It Catches My Heart In Its Hands.

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SamDusky

Founding member
It's too bad (but understandable) that John and Buk fell out. He did capture a small glimpse of the light with this tribute.

SD
 

cirerita

Founding member
the falling out took place in New Orleans, where B and C met for the first time. Apparently, B was -cruelly- mocking at C academic vision of the arts and C never forgave him for that.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I thought the falling out had to do with the fact, that Corrington did'nt wanted to return the letters that Buk had written to him over the years. Buk needed the letters in order to sell them to a university library.
In "Living on luck" you can see a couple of letters from Buk to Corrington asking for his letters back dated oct./nov. 1968 (page 84 & 85).
 
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Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I see. I've read about the fall out in Sounes book and it puzzles me that Buk kept writing him letters after that. Seems like Buk had not realized how hurt Corr. felt...
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
I believe it happened in March 1965 when Bukowski was in New Orleans with the Webbs and working on Crucifix in A Deathhand.
 
M

MULLINAX

Corrington and another academic buddy of his were talking about universities and degrees and tenure and papers and stuff in Bukowski's presence in New Orleans, KNOWINGLY shitting on our man Buk by discussing something that Buk couldn't take part in. THAT pissed off Bukowski and he let Corrington know it. Corrington felt insulted and later refused to return Buk's letters to him. "These letters will finance my son's university education" was what Corrington wrote to Buk after Buk had pleaded for the letters. Buk was getting ready to sell a lot of his stuff to a library and those letters would have given him more cash; as in rent, electricity, food, beer and cigars. If you don't really work for a living you won't be able to appreciate just how villanously mean-spirited Corrington was. He was despicable. (Later he became a lawyer and Hollywood screenwriter. I think.)
 
[mods: even though I was sure, I had recently seen an old thread where the Corrington-Split-Up was discussed (the meeting in 65 and later the letters-back-story of 68) I couldn't find it anymore, so maybe if there is one, better melt this one into it]

have lately been reading through a couple of letters to and about Corrington.

don't believe anymore, they happened to split-up from each other as late [sic!] as March 1965, like all the other biographers had it.
I think, they started "seperating" from each other as much as one year earlier.

basically, the idea of my argumentation follows this line:



[To John William Corrington]
March 6, 1964
I divined that you had turned on me out of some mysterious nature inherent in x-English teachers, all of whom I trust very little, [...] I felt that when you did not respond to my last letter…

[To John William Corrington]
May 1, 1964
I got your book for which, you know, thanks surely, ...

[To John William Corrington]
May 16, 1964
Listen, baby, not to hurt, I know it is so hard to do—like fighting a bull, and I am not even doing it; but to say, I liked novel very good but felt middle section dragged a bit.

[To Jim Roman]
[July 1, 1964]
I don’t hear any more from Willie [Corrington] and I guess he’s shipping in from England, all lost and hooded in the pages of his second novel.

[To Jon and Louise Webb]
December 25, 1964
Those Black Mountain School snobs, let them smell their own turds! The Kenyon boys, let them write their celluloid senseless inoffensive poems; the Corringtons—let them write their novels of incest and beetle love and honor and refuse to answer their mail; and all the others: let them go to hell too.

[To Douglas Blazek]
[February-March 1965]
I told Corrington to stay away from the novel but he had to run off to Oxford or someplace and become a Dr. and then come back and write a Civil War novel—

[To John William Corrington]
March 1, 1965
I wrote 2 some year back and no response so I gave it up thinking that the England thing and the novel and James Joyce had you by the balls. However, I will soon be 45 and don’t care to argue about it. I always answer my mail, tho’, whether it’s a whore from East Kansas City or Dr. Spock.


- and only THEN follows what we've seen already:

[To Al Purdy]
New Orleans
March 14, 1965
I have hurt almost everybody’s feelings. [...]
ETC. ETC. ...
 
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Corrington seemed to be his tenuous link to the academics and it's very cool to follow that links dissolution. Plus Corrington just looks so uptight. Great shit Roni.
 

mjp

Founding member
I was sure, I had recently seen an old thread where the Corrington-Split-Up was discussed (the meeting in 65 and later the letters-back-story of 68) I couldn't find it anymore, so maybe if there is one, better melt this one into it...
I think this is the thread you are referring to?

Seems a little harsh to turn your back on someone for an unanswered letter or two. But your conclusion would seem to be correct, they didn't appear to be on the best of terms before the New Orleans meeting. At least from Bukowski's perspective.

Kind of petty, but then it wouldn't be the first time he found (or invented) a reason to alienate someone.
 
Dylan (Bob) was also good at that. In 'He Beats His Women' Buk does an amazing job of quantifying his contribution
to poetry and his influence on the scene. Corrington to me clearly sewed the seeds of that separation, which was doomed
anyway. At a certain point the Corringtons of the world really had no place in his orbit, and Wantling
was never a true academic.
 
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I would like to add a heavy observation from my point of view. I read Neeli Cherry's book and Steve Richmond's book very recently and two of Buk's books of letters, Screams and Living on Luck. With all of these books combined it was confirmed in other's words and Buk's own words that he seems to alienate everyone he meets in person. I dont' have the time to dig out each name. The one guy was an editor of a small mimeo in the Chicago area who he met at the reading in San Diego(?). It was the reading where Buk flipped out at a party afterwards in someone's apt. Linda King and Buk had a massive blow out there. They wrote letters to each other and Buk sent him stuff. When they met it was anti-climatic. They never spoke again.

There was the author who lived in France who moved to Calif., Harold Norse. Buk used to go to his house on the beach in CA and they eventually had a falling out. He was gay. According to Richmond, Buk used to tease him really bad in person when Buk got all drunk.

I Love Buk but I am going to say something about him negatively here. It seemed very obvious to me that Buk did this on numerous occasions. He got on so well with people via correspondence. He praised the Norse constantly in letters. He called him a prince. But when they finally met it was far from all Roses.

Buk himself brings this up in his own words so I am not off base here. I think Hank had a self esteem type problem. I think that he just sometimes had real problems with meeting people face to face. We all know this to be true as well. When he wrote letters to people he never meet in person he was able to be himself. He was able to be relaxed and as himself. As soon as he had to meet people face to face he had anxiety and had to play some role. He was horrible at simple human intercation.

The Corrington thing was just another example of Buk having a falling out exactly after he has to meet the person face to face.
 
I get that he could be a douche bag. If that douche bag writes the best poetry of the 20th century, who cares what he was like in person? I wasn't in any sort of relationship with him. I just read him.
 
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bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Yeah, and we are fans of Bukowski, but we do not wear blinders. He was not Saint Hank. He certainly had flaws, like us all. Some were minor, but some were pretty major. He did tend to turn on friends and could be cruel when he did. He did not go quietly. You will not see regulars here blindly praising him or excusing things. Where we get up in arms is when something like the nazi rumor broke, which was clearly a lie and made up by a hollywood writer (who had a long string of lies about Bukowski in print) to help sell books and it was pushed by the owner of his old department who wanted to use it as an excuse to make Delongpre into a parking lot.

As much as I am a fan of Bukowksi, I am a bit glad that we never met (I never had ANY correspondence with him either) as it would probably have ended poorly. I have a friend (who is a big fan) who saw him at the track and he knew that it was best to avoid him as it would be hard to a fan of his if he approached him only to be abused. Best to now know your heroes.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
I think Hank had a self esteem type problem.
ya think? :D

growing up unloved and abused by the only two people in the world that mattered will do that.

it's hard to feel or believe you deserve love when your parents made you feel unworthy of it. that's probably why he
sabotaged a lot of relationships with people.
 
*been reading david's 'portions' collection, which is where these convictions are coming from, in large part*

i sense that he just smelled death on people, and it repulsed him, and after a few pops he didn't have the politesse to hide that fact. in correspondence, it was more distant so he could express his compassion without feeling suffocated, but the closer somebody gets to you, the more it all matters.

the guy was on a higher level than most people, more alive, more aware, more profound, whatever you want to call it. that's obvious. we all feel the ripples of his work to this day. if he hd let muddy generic people around him crowd his space and bring him down, he would not be able to dig deep within himself and within the latent emotion and invisible dramas of the world around him. we live in a consumerist society, driven by a culture of exploitation. as tom waits said, we smoke our friends down to the filters. louis armstrong said you always hurt the ones you love. well, you don't if you break from that consumerist/exploitative tendency, but most never do, so yes, most people do always hurt the ones they love.

bukowski was in a way just to fucking strong to let people burn him out they way they do. that sob story about his mom and dad not loving him is just that, a sob story. it certainly doesn't justify anybody being a shitty parent, but his childhood was an integral part of his growth pattern (not saying much there - obviously anyones childhood is integral to who they become). the more wind a sapling is exposed to, the stronger its trunk will be (assuming it doesn't get blown right out of the ground lol)

the psychobabble assessment is way off base, as far as i'm concerned - no offense intended. it wasn't about self esteem, it was just about reality. hank just flat out, literally didn't have time or energy to be nice to people, except those very close to him, and even then there were of course many lapses in the niceness. he had more important things to worry about, like keeping his head above water. the guy was a suicide case for goodness sake. people argue that his woes are attributable to his parents, but he never did. he always related them back to the fucked up culture of death and deceptions and exploitations and desperation and so on. on a very visceral level he could not deal with other peoples' shit on a one-to-one basis, because he had such a huge fucking heart and he dealt with their shit on a global basis every day of his life.

guess that puts me in the saint hank camp. won't be surprised if nobody meets me there :cool:
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Why is there an expectation that writers should be in some way exemplary human beings? most of the time, they seem to be the worst rather than the best of us. Especially the big heavy drinkers, Bukowski, Tennessee Williams, Hunter Thompson, John Cheever etc.
Even the likes of Dickens, with all the reformist clout and do-gooder badge, he could be a bit of a part time bastard (and again another one with a really shitty childhood).

Should that influence our opinion or admiration of an artist's work? I don't think so.
Although I suppose, there are degrees of evil bastardness, I wouldn't be rushing out to buy any of Adolf Hitler's water colours if I had a bob or two.

According to a conversation before the outbreak of World War II in August 1939, published in the Blue Book, Hitler told British ambassador Nevile Henderson, "I am an artist and not a politician. Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist."[1][3]
Guess the polish question never got resolved to his satisfaction, what a loss to the art world.

Bukowski's a pussycat compared to some of them (in my book).
 
Where we get up in arms is when something like the nazi rumor broke, which was clearly a lie and made up by a hollywood writer (who had a long string of lies about Bukowski in print) to help sell books and it was pushed by the owner of his old department who wanted to use it as an excuse to make Delongpre into a parking lot.

You mean the article by Ben Pleasants? That was hilarious. He explained Bukowski's entire life as being centered around secret Nazism and then finished by saying Bukowski was a Jew by origin.

That's an interesting story, Mr. Pleasants. What do you call it?
...The Aristocrats!
 
[...] that he seems to alienate everyone he meets in person. [...]
his many fall-outs with former friends (in some cases after the first meeting in real-life) are well known. You could nearly call it a pattern.

Back in August this year, I even planned to add an extra-chapter to my bio, dealing with these (the Webbs, Corrington, Blazek, Winans, Norse, Sherman, Unpleasants, Richmond, Neeli for a while ... ). That's why I was reading myself into the Corrington-split-up so detailed then. But now, I don't think, I'll write this chapter.

What is an interesting fact is, that nearly everybody who remained friends with him in the long run, either met him only rarely (Weissner, Martin, even Montfort) or at least, knew, when it's time to leave (Locklin).
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
let's all pitch in and get him a refill of downers.

and a jug of vodka. he'll need something to wash them down with...
 
mmmm vodka ... and as usual d gray and ponder prove themselves to be stunningly articulate conversationalists, developing ideas and fleshing out perspectives with courage, compassion, veracity and above all profound insight.

the thing is is that unlike (apparently) most people who discuss Bukowski, he himself was a philosopher. He studied the philosophers, they saved him (according to his own testimony in Shakespeare Never Did This) perhaps in a similar fashion to the way in which his father gave him poetry. He was a poet first of course, but definitely a philosopher. He saw farther, dug deeper and worked with more compassion. On top of that, the passion for the word, the good clean line.

I'm not sure what it is about my reasoning that you grumpelstiltskins find to be so challenging. Am I the only one who read "In defense of a certain kind of poetry" in the collection that David put together? Most people couldn't hang with Bukowski, they just weren't on his level. He could condescend and trade 12s (as they say in the jazz), but after a while it was inevitable that they would return to their more typical path and he would return to his, more electric, more generous, more alive one:

"My god my god, if I could only rip my fucking heart out tonight and let them see it! But even then they would only take it as an apricot ..." p.45

"His troubles are not my troubles. He has chosen against trouble and to die. I have chosen trouble and to live." p.44

"Given 2 choices, being a professor of English or a dishwasher, you take the dishwasher. Perhaps not to save the wold, but to harm it less." p.43

"if we cannot save the world, then at least let us know what it is, where we are." p.42

"The dead are easy to find -- they are all about us; the difficulty is in finding the living. Notice the first person you pass on the sidewalk outside -- the color has gone from the eye; the walk is crude, awkward, ugly; even the hair on the head seems to grow in a diseased fashion. There are many more signs of death -- one is a feeling of radiation, the dead actually throw off rays, stink from the dead soul, that can make you lose your lunch if you remain too long." p.41

the first three quotes are absolutely and inarguably saintly. there's no doubt about it. that is the kind of thing saints say. the second two quotes are different, more objective and, finally, more disgusted. thus, bukowski, in addition to being a poet, is a philosopher, but not a saint.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
I'm not sure what it is about my reasoning that you grumpelstiltskins find to be so challenging.

i'm sure. it's cause you're a pompous pseudo-intellectual full of vomitous pseudo-insights.

how's that for philosophical, motherfucker...
 
it's cause you're a pompous pseudo-intellectual full of vomitous pseudo-insights.

You can beat around the bush all day, but the fact is that anybody who reads this thread is immediately confronted with the fact that I have gambled on attempting to dig deep and express real things about a man that I care about, and you have expressed emoticon cliches while trying in vain to draw strength from cuss words and personal insults. I have no ego involvement here, my concern is with Bukowski.

It is distasteful to see somebody who means something being disparaged on the subway walls of posterity. "Oh poor bukowski had it rough growing up!" He referred to himself as lucky! This relates directly to the thread topic, because Bukowski was superior. That is why they would inevitably 'split.' People could not keep up with him. Writing it off as some kind of neurosis a la Freud is not only wrong, but a perfect example of pseudo-intellectual jibber jabber!!!

Feel free to ante up, and take on any of the points that I mentioned, or dig up any quotes to contradict or flesh out the meaning of the quotes that I posted. If you demonstrate that anything I've said is wrong, then so be it, you could earn yourself some respect. I have no problem being wrong and I respect anybody who can actually drop some science on a discourse.
 

mjp

Founding member
you could earn yourself some respect.
I think you've got the equation backward there, chum. You're the one who has yet to earn anyone's respect. The warm embrace of your particular delusion may bring you comfort, but you should know that most people here see you as a babbling, unhinged kook.

So you can simmer down now, or you can disappear. It's up to you. But just so it doesn't come as a surprise, you should know that many of us are growing tired of you and your sloppy mania, so understand that the clock is ticking toward your ouster.

That's all the science you need dropped at the moment. Word.
 
You've got something here, MJP, I must agree. I do have a hard time following his line of reasoning. Uh...a while back I suggested vodka only. Maybe including the downers was not such a bad idea after all? Still, it's only humane to keep with the good vodka, regardless.
 

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