The point I was making though, is that it was not enough money for Bukowski to live on (okay, live on
, maybe -- if he stopped drinking and never left the apartment). If he hadn't had significant savings at the time, and been doing paid writing jobs, he couldn't have left the post office.
So it was part of
what made quitting possible (and let's not forget that it is quite possible that Bukowski was about to be fired anyway). What I'm trying to dislodge from the collective consciousness here is the myth that Martin completely supported Bukowski with that "salary," because that's just not true.
As for the Consumer Price Index, every time I've used it to do calculations on sums of money in my own history, it seems to me that it's been very accurate. There isn't a better way to measure inflation than using the average cost of things most people consume. Bukowski wasn't buying ostrich feathers and platinum, he was buying food and beer and gas and insurance and paying rent and child support. The same things everyone buys.
Okay, maybe he bought more carbon paper than most of us...
But sure, it was and still is a risk to publish poetry.
Yes it is. But Martin wasn't betting on just a poet, he was betting on a writer. He made his deal with Bukowski with the understanding that Bukowski was going to write a novel (Post Office), and always encouraged him to write longer form work. If you look at the major BSP releases, there were actually 25% more non
-poetry books than poetry collections:
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
Burning In Water Drowning In Flame
Love Is A Dog From Hell
Play The Piano Drunk Like A Percussion Instrument Until The Fingers Begin To Bleed A Bit
Dangling In The Tournefortia
War All The Time
You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense
The Roominghouse Madrigals
The Last Night Of The Earth Poems
Bone Palace Ballet
What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through The Fire
Open All Night
The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps
Prose, poetry and prose, Other
South Of No North
Ham On Rye
Bring Me Your Love
Hot Water Music
There's No Business
The Movie: "Barfly"
Screams From The Balcony
Shakespeare Never Did This
Living On Luck
Betting On The Muse
The Captain Is Out To Lunch And The Sailors Have Taken Over The Ship
Reach For The Sun
Beerspit Night And Cursing
Bukowski was primarily a poet, and people who picked up on him early knew him as a poet. But I believe that more people who found about Bukowski in the past 30 years found him through something other than poetry. If new users here on the forum are any indication, very few people discover Bukowski through his poetry these days.