Poem For Nobody (1 Viewer)

What a brilliant website, it's refreshing to know there are so many people actively interested in Bukowski's work! Being 18 and coming from a small town in Wales I don't tend to come across many people who have even heard of him.

I'd absolutely love to hear people's individual interpretations of Poem For Nobody, any analytical readings anyone might like to share? I'm just getting into his works and this poem has captivated me entirely.
 
Welcome Amber. I have very little to add in terms of interpretation, for two reasons:
  1. I don't like to analyze poetry all that much, especially Bukowski's, which typically speaks for itself; and
  2. Poem For Nobody seems to me to be a very straight-forward summation of what's on the horizon for all of us coupled with typical Buk resolve to be himself in spite of that inevitability.
Beyond that, and not to overwhelm you with information you're not expecting (considering the massive output that is Buk's published works), Poem For Nobody is collected in a posthumous collection, which renders it in a realm of "oh, are you kidding me; why did you do that?"

Meaning, it was likely edited heavy-handedly by John Martin and may not bear the strength of the alternate version that we have documented here: http://bukowski.net/database/detail.php?WorkNumber=4622 although we don't have the original manuscript to compare the two. In other cases, we most certainly do and the results are less than pretty to be overly polite about this whole thing.

So welcome. There's much to learn here; and some anger over what could have been. In any case, there's plenty of good, so check it out.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Hello Amber,
it is a strong poem and a great one if you are doing it for college?
You will know all of this yourself already probably, so it might not be of any use if you are looking for undergraduate level interpretation.
But the themes are clearly betrayal, loss and hopelessness. Set in the present by himself and speaking directly to us makes a strong impact.
It's so rich in imagery and metaphors "bouquet of blood" etc., Paradox - "slouching towards Nirvana" and irony and pun in the use of "Able" rather than Abel and "dread".
Really, it's a great one to do for analysis, will make a great essay.
And hello again:).
 
Last edited:

Skygazer

And in the end...
It is a great poem for analysis. Haven't seen the original So what to do? Can you discount every published poem after 1994 unless there is clear evidence of changes.
So yes, place a big red triangle with Caveat emptor beside it - but it is still worthy of interpretation.
 

mjp

Founding member
Yeah, you really can. Examples of poems that weren't made worse in those books are hard to find.

Analyzing Bukowski poems is a rather pointless act in and of itself, but if you have to do it you should do it with poems he actually wrote.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
It's not pointless to analyse his poems at all and that poem is rich in imagery and figurative language. Amber asked for help in the analysis of the poem - at face value - without knowing of all the controversy which you have rightly highlighted without Bukowski's consent.

But has that poem been changed?
 

mjp

Founding member

Skygazer

And in the end...
It's less than half, so no, you can't make an educated guess, it may not have been changed. I'm not defending the changes, but I'm not going to dismiss the poem either.
 

mjp

Founding member
Of course you can make an educated guess. When you read an opinion poll do you suppose they've posed those questions to everyone? No, they pose them to a very, very small representative sample. In America, Gallup surveys less than 2000 people to come to pretty accurate conclusions on what the entire county thinks.

Compared to those small samples we have a comparatively huge sample. We have 41 manuscripts for that book, 36% of the contents (and we have larger percentages for other posthumous books).

Of those 41 manuscripts, 40 have been altered in the published collection.

So extrapolate for me. What would a logical, educated guess be for the other 64%?

Whether that specific poem somehow escaped the Butcher of Santa Barbara isn't the point. The point is it cannot be trusted to be authentic, based on the evidence surrounding it.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
So who is hiding the original manuscript then, so it can be settled once and for all, cos i ain't budging, but will no doubt be wrong.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top