More lively discussion or The Bukowski Pissing Contest or...

Father Luke

Founding member
"In my estimation, Bukowski wrote some damn cool novels.
I find his poetry highly overrated.
Don't get me wrong, he wrote some good shit.
He became Hollywood's court jester and was pimped
out like the whores he liked to hang with. Big fucking deal." -RC Edrington
 
In reading the blog, it seems he is more criticizing the yardstick created by the "literary world (so to speak)" that has been applied to the expectation of modern "outsider" poetry than he is criticizing Buk. It seems he likes the novel better than the poem in general, and certainly in Buk's case. He also says some very complimentary things about Buk, and some self-depricating things as well.

That said, I think Buk's poetry is excellent regardless of whether other folks want to make it a measure of quality for all "outsider" poetry.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
I guess what he is pointing out, in his opinion, is Bukowski casts a shadow bigger than Bukowski. There is a big compliment to Bukowski in all of Edrington's rant. It might mean that Bukowski hit the mark with such force that he takes nearly everyone with him. The reviewers are so blinded by the light of what Bukowski brought into the literary world that everything that comes along after is part of that enlightenment Bukowski gives us.
Of course what do I know I am a just a fairly new fan of Bukowski that is trying to give RC Edrington the benefit of the doubt. The doubt that whether he really wrote before he ever read Bukowski. RC is just trying to be noticed for his own merits- I haven't read any of his stuff. SO what do I know he might be a good writer.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
I saw the same thing happen with Bill Hicks in
comedy. Like Lenny Bruce before him
(and Lenny never gave enough credit to Mort Sahl in my opinion),
Bill Hicks became the yardstick that a generation was measured by.

And I have been in the same water as R.C., rowing
my boat with even smaller oars.

What I admire about Bukowski, is that he was new.
The subject matter was an issue, but I believe that
there was more to him than that.

From the article:

A bunch of us write poems about booze and instead of our style being the focus...the subject becomes the focus. And as you are well aware, if you write about booze then you are a Bukowski rip-off. Fuck that.


I don't use booze as subject matter. And I've been
called a sober Bukowski. In all modesty, I mean.

So. What is it, then. What is it that writers are
being measured against.

Frankly, I see that things like... the work of those
innovative visionaries who created the GPP
are bringing an awareness of poetry to people
whom Bukowski had shaken from their literary
complacency. And with awareness comes change.

But I do respect my elders. I do respect how things
have changed. And, ultimately, I respect them who
have changed them.
 
What I admire about Bukowski, is that he was new. The subject matter was an issue, but I believe that there was more to him than that.

So. What is it, then. What is it that writers are being measured against.

Perhaps critics have too narrow a definition of "new." Why, if you write about booze, are you just ripping off Buk? To me, it wasn't that Buk wrote about his subject matter, it was how he wrote about his subject matter. I mean, his subject matter is great (especially the track scenes), but I don't know why someone can't write about menial jobs, being down-and-out, etc. and be considered fresh if they do it in a personal style. For example, I really don't mind if you spoil the plot of a movie for me, because to me, it's not how it ends up, it's how it gets there.

To me, that's part of Buk's considerable substance.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
What strikes me is that Bukowski broke open
everything he knew about what poetry was, and
made it his own. He made poetry something he
wanted to read.

Bukowski was an innovator. He knew his field, and
he stepped up, and walked to the front of the line with a:

Here I am. I will be counted among you fuckers.

Not many have that. Not many have the ability to
transcend their history. He had that. He knew his
history. He knew who those fuckers were. He'd
read them, he'd studied them.

And, eventually, he knew himself as among them.
History has given him a place, I believe, for his innovation,
and his clear voice. It came with quite a price.
 
Don't get me wrong, BUK has become one of my favorite writers. I think one point of my rant, which isn't to say my interpretation is any more correct as the readers, is how easily small press authors get dismissed as Buk clones. It gets annoying. The first question that pops out of some idiots mouth when you say you write poetry for the small press is "oh, you mean like Bukowski?" Which is akin to someone saying, your writing isn't valid because Bukowski is modern poetry. Kind of like someone saying to Ginsberg, "oh, you mean you rip off Whitman." Not that I am anywhere in the same breath as these writers. So the point is, seek self validation and ignore the reader, the critics, and the academics. That produces far more interesting "poetry" than pandering to an audience.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
And I'm not in the same league as you,
and we're not in the same league as... right?

But your points are valid, especially because of
their commonality. Fuck everyone hears this
argument, and I wanted to bring it here to the
discussion.

I didn't guess we'd have your happy ass here to
discuss it with us, but that fucking tickles me no end.

Welcome dude.
 
What strikes me is that Bukowski broke open
everything he knew about what poetry was, and
made it his own. He made poetry something he
wanted to read.

Bukowski was an innovator. He knew his field, and
he stepped up, and walked to the front of the line with a:

Here I am. I will be counted among you fuckers.

Not many have that. Not many have the ability to
transcend their history. He had that. He knew his
history. He knew who those fuckers were. He'd
read them, he'd studied them.

And, eventually, he knew himself as among them.
History has given him a place, I believe, for his innovation,
and his clear voice. It came with quite a price.


Well, it's not much of a discussion when you wrap it all so well, is it?;)

Well put. You're absolutely right about this: "He made poetry something he
wanted to read." And he did study, and he did innovate. That he is either mis-understood or mis-represented in certain circles isn't really relevant to these truths.
 
Father Luke, I caught you on some internet radio show a few weeks back. Been a big fan since. Weird it would be you to drag my rant and myself here. Fix the link to your website. I am trying to get there, but the internet is conspiring against me. Be well...I am more tickled than you...
 

mjp

Founding member
I think one point of my rant, which isn't to say my interpretation is any more correct as the readers, is how easily small press authors get dismissed as Buk clones. It gets annoying. The first question that pops out of some idiots mouth when you say you write poetry for the small press is "oh, you mean like Bukowski?" Which is akin to someone saying, your writing isn't valid because Bukowski is modern poetry.
But I think some people have that impression because there are so many Bukowski imitators.

You can write about drinking, you can write about all the subjects Bukowski commonly used, without imitating him. But it takes skill - and mostly your own voice - to pull it off. To use those well known themes and not have them conjure up Bukowski. I've seen it done many times.

But on the other hand, I have read far too many "fucked some whore/finished off the pint and went to the track/lost the rent money/went back to the whore/fucked her again/woke up the next day/did it all again" poems in my life. So I completely understand why some people take that view of small press poetry.

But as Father Luke pointed out, there are a lot of us working very hard to break down that image. Hopefully we'll win a few converts.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
But on the other hand, I have read far too many "fucked some whore/finished off the pint and went to the track/lost the rent money/went back to the whore/fucked her again/woke up the next day/did it all again" poems in my life.

hey, I didn't give you permission to reprint that.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
better, thank you.
now I'm off for a beer shit, and I shall wipe on the curtain.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
I think one point of my rant (...) is how easily small press authors get dismissed as Buk clones. It gets annoying. The first question that pops out of some idiots mouth when you say you write poetry for the small press is "oh, you mean like Bukowski?"

(...) Kind of like someone saying to Ginsberg, "oh, you mean you rip off Whitman."

For the most part people do not want to waddle
through bad poetry any more than they want to
wade through anything looking for what might be "good".

I suppose part of the process of the small press
is to offer up the best of what is out there.

And like anything else, there is a certain politics to
that as well. Somehow it works.

And people need a frame of reference, and it is
annoying. But time takes time.

Poetry is here to stay, I'm fairly certain of that.
The poets are here to stay also. At least for a little
while. Then they will be gone. And another
generation will emerge with the same problems.

It's up to each to make as much difference as
they wish, and as they can, I suppose.

Anyway. I loved the argument. I loved the dilemma. I loved the outrage. I loved it all.

Thanks again for the article.

- -
Okay,
Father Luke
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Father Luke, I caught you on some internet radio show a few weeks back. Been a big fan since. Weird it would be you to drag my rant and myself here. Fix the link to your website. I am trying to get there, but the internet is conspiring against me. Be well...I am more tickled than you...
.

RC Welcome, Your being here shows class and earns my respect and 750 bonus points. Rant was a bit harsh, you may have been more calm. Just a bit.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
Yeah. Like Bukowski. Charles Bukowski.

(...) The first question that pops out of some idiots mouth when you say you write poetry for the small press is "oh, you mean like Bukowski?" (...)

I know it's a rant, and not meant to be dissected,
but I can't help coming back to this because it's
a valid point.

"oh, you mean like Bukowski?" Okay. Yeah. Like
Bukowski. And Like MK Chavez, have you heard of
her? And like justin.barrett, have you heard of
him? Henry Denander? Oh, let me introduce you to...

You know?

There is a great responsibility involved here.
 
I don't see charles as a hero, I see him as a man who found a constructive way too deal with what must have been a horrendous upbringing and hanging in there until he found his way to freedom. I love reading his poetry and in fact most of the time after reading it all I want to do is learn more about life
because there's something in his writing that makes me feel that way. For me his legacy doesn't have a measure because it speaks on so many levels and I thank him for it.
 
Hey! what happened to informal's post! That was the meat in the sandwich and now there's no meat, just a couple of piece's of stale bread left.
 
As he stated so often in his own writings, Buk's literary mentor was John Fante and he strove to emulate him in his early works. I never heard of any editor or reviewer state Buk was ripping off Fante. Todays small press world is in need of a reformation away from its search for originality in content/subject to a recognition of fresh literary talent and style. Subject matter be damned!

Hey RC, ever read ASK THE DUST?
 
This site has been archived and is no longer accepting new posts.
Top