Poetry apprehensions (1 Viewer)

Okay I have Post Office, Ham on Rye & Factotum and I love them to bits. I'm gonna work my way through his novels & short stories too in due course but I also have a gorgeous Black Sparrow edition on 'Burning in Water....'. Now I have had it for a month or more but I still haven't got round to reading it. Partly because I have a lot of books building up that I'm trying to plow my way through, but also because I keep putting it off every time I am about to read it. This isn't because I don't think it'll be any good (It's actually the opposite) I just don't really know how I should approach reading it. Now, that probably sounds really dumb..."du'h, open book. read words, turn page, repeat", but the thing is I am so used to reading prose that I don't know if I should just read it page by page till the end or re-read each page or chop n' change or what.

I know it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, it's just I know there's gonna be some real gems in there and I want to experience the whole book the best way possible but it's a different experience to reading novels/short stories.

Anyway I was wondering how you read poetry collections? Do you mull over each one? or read it like a collection of short stories until the end? or just open a random page?

I probably sound really weird asking this, ah well worth a try.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
I generally read it straight through, taking it in huge chunks...&, when i finish, I often re-read it...& when I finish that one, I go back once again & dog-ear my favorite poems. Then I put it down for a year or so, & come back to it & enjoy it all over.

Except with BURNING...which I am never far from.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
Good question. I think my first Bukowski poetry collection was 'Love is a dog from hell' from a local library, and I think with that one I just started at the beginning an ploughed through it (slowly I suppose, taking it in you know) over a couple of days. I'd read some poetry before, but never a whole collection by a single poet. And if my memory serves, I repeated this method with the next couple of collections I read, which were 'War All The Time' and 'You Get So Alone...', but since then I find I just pick up a collection and dip into it here and there. Both methods seem to work. Obviously, starting at page 1 and reading the book through makes sense in terms of knowing when you've read the whole thing, but dipping in and out at random seems to make each poem stand out more, for me at least. I don't like to try to read lots and lots of poems in one session, as I feel that doing so diminishes the individual poems.

My suggestion after all that babbling, skim the contents for a title that catches your eye, look it up and read it. Pause. Then read it again. When you're ready, close the book and open it again to a different poem. Gah.

Anyway, Burning is an excellent collection - sure you'll love it however you approach it.

In fact, before you do anything else with it, read the introduction.
 
[Why do some of you guys insist on quoting in full the post right above yours? - Your pal, mjp]

Yeah that's what I was thinking of doing but I wasn't sure if Buk intended it to be read in a specific order....I don't know for conceptual purposes or something.

The problem with going from beginning to the end is that I'll be in this prose mindset. This will be my first proper poetry collection in book form (apart from a Kerouac book I have which I just didn't "dig") and most of the poetry I have read (Buk's included) has been online where I do the same as you said i.e. pick a title read/re-read...pick another etc. so I might use that same technique, though I'd better make sure I don't miss any out!:eek:
 
Hank Solo and Hosh are correct. Burning is amazing. I started my poetry reading with, "The Roominghouse Madrigals." An older collection. Be warned: Addictive. Good luck!

Pax
 
Yeah that's what I was thinking of doing but I wasn't sure if Buk intended it to be read in a specific order....I don't know for conceptual purposes or something.

Since Burning in Water... is a compilation of several earlier books (with a final section of ~1973-74 poems), it is chronological by nature but not by necessity. It might give you some insight into Buk's stylistic changes (see Hank Solo's note about reading the intro first; sage advice for those who like a little history and context) to read it straight through, but I wouldn't think that there is any intent to have it read that way (other than most publishers assume that most people read a book from beginning to end).

While not an unreasonable assumption, I typically read all poetry books via a "chuck a dart at the wall" method. I'm pretty sure there are some gems in most of Buk's books that I have yet to see by doing it this way. Which is, of course, both good and bad.

But unlike some poets, Buk typically does not string poems together in any story-related fashion, as it were. Horsemeat is an exception; but other than reading those as a whole, the exact order isn't even really critical.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Everyone is right. You will find your own way.
I heard Bukowski read poems on Born Into This before I read any of his stuff, so I think of his voice and pace. You know how he speaks slow and casual very easy with his own drawl. I too, think you need to read his poems more than once. If I don't get it the first slow reading then I sometimes scan it quickly or read it very fast. Some poems take on whole new life read quickly. His poems are so much like prose or the spoken word anyway.
 
I simply take each poem as it comes. Some are great, some are not. But I take my time. I like to let the good ones swish in my brain like a piece of juicy steak.
 
Everyone is right.

Except the left. :eek: Or perhaps only the left. :eek:

You will find your own way.

What the queen told Columbus. Et al.

I heard Bukowski read poems on Born Into This before I read any of his stuff, so I think of his voice and pace. You know how he speaks slow and casual very easy with his own drawl.

Here's where it gets even more interesting. mjp stated that you can't listen to a Dylan song without hearing him sing it. Something like try and separate the two...you can't. So I did the experiment with, "Mr. Tambourine Man," and found him to be correct in that instant and instance.

I have not seen, "Born Into This." And collected a view of the VHS tapes (but never watched them) on Bukowski.

I think they are (both on 1/2 inch/VHS):
1. BUK at Bellevue
2. The Bukowski Tapes (some big yellow VHS box)

And, not having viddied them, I never really heard his speaking voice when I read the poems, the novels, the stories. But damn, could that be how some people read them? You get into BUK after seeing something, then read. And the blueprint is laid, in motion. As per mjp, that could have an impact on reading BUK: yes? no?

And I always wondered why Mickey Rourke used that accent on inflection in his voice in Barfly. That answers it for sure.

Don't get me wrong, I've seen BUK on youtube, so I'm not a virgin to his voice.

But does his unique form of speaking have any impact on how YOU read a poem by Sir Charles?

Not me.

But curious....after what that (called and self-proclaimed) brittle twat (trying to be original) wrote.?.?.

Pax

homeless mind

NOTE: I almost started this as a new thread, as I think it would be fascinating to see if what "the bruce springsteen of BUKnet" stated about dylan applies to sir charles...and how viewing an author reading may have impact on how one reads said author; almost like listening to lyrics.)
 

mjp

Founding member
NOTE: I almost started this as a new thread, as I think it would be fascinating to see if what "the bruce springsteen of BUKnet" stated about dylan applies to sir charles...and how viewing an author reading may have impact on how one reads said author; almost like listening to lyrics.)
Ah, Bruce Springsteen! I love him almost as much as the Kinks! When I saw him trying to sing a Clash song off a teleprompter at some rock and roll hall of fame performance I thought to myself, "Self, next time you see him, break his nose and left cheek bone with the knuckles of your right fist." And so I shall, damn the consequences. But so far he's stayed away from me. Smart boy. I'd piss on his grave if he had the common decency to die already.



Oh, but what I said is (I believe) unique to music lyrics.
 
NOTE: I almost started this as a new thread, as I think it would be fascinating to see if what "the bruce springsteen of BUKnet" stated about dylan applies to sir charles...and how viewing an author reading may have impact on how one reads said author; almost like listening to lyrics.)

Hunter S Thompson is a classic example of this. Every book I read of his, I read it in his trade mark monototone voice. When I read Hunter I can't help but not think I'm Hunter himself and I adopt all his mannerisms and quirks.

When I first read Buk, I hadn't seen or heard him before. I didn't know a thing about him so I purely relied on the words and my imagination and that alone. After that I read more about him his ideals, history and persona, and watched videos of him and since then it has very much altered the Bukowski reading experience. Probably for the better though as I understand the relevance of smaller things that I would have otherwise missed. The only downside is that it's hard not to take what he writes as true events and see Chinaski as Buk himself, rather than a representation of parts of his character, his views, events in his life etc.

It would be interesting to see how my appetite for Buk would have developed with out this further research. Of course the power of his work would remain the same, but by delving deeper into the life of authors/musicians/artists you can't help but not let it all have a big influence on how you take in their work. It definitely speeds up the obsession process too, at least for me it does.

Btw, I've started 'Burning in Water....'. Not dissapointed at all. I can tell it's a book I'll be reading and re-reading all the time. Sooooo damn good already and I've only got through a dozen or so poems.
 
... In fact, before you do anything else with it, read the introduction.
Yes, definitely!

... skim the contents for a title that catches your eye, look it up and read it. Pause. ...
and here too: Yes!

I have Never read any book of poetry (or even stories) cover-to-cover!


Even if the order of poems would mean something (in Buk's case we know, he left this decision to his publishers), we shouldn't forget that there is a reason to use the short form:

the single poem (or story) must be able to stand for itself. By 'consuming' poems too fast (and reading cover-to-cover tempts one to do so), you don't really enjoy the special voice of every single poem.

Like, you may listen to certain songs of a rock-album over and over again, or skip certain other songs when hearing the entire album.


I usually look around the table-of-contents for a title that appeals to me, as HS indicated. Or I flip through the book, looking for a title or a typesetting that gets to me.

And by doing so, I've missed a lot. There are hundreds of Buk-poems, that I don't know, that I've simply never read. But there are no regrets. I chose to read him selective. That's all.




And sometimes, some nights, I just read and re-read the same poems or the same short parts of novels or stories over and over again, just because they SUIT my feelings and needs at that moment.



... I heard Bukowski read poems [...] so I think of his voice and pace...

same here!

Some people think it takes away their own feeling for a text, when they have the author's voice in mind (the same cats that don't like picturizations of books, because these 'take away the imagination-aspect'), but I appreciate it a lot.

I like the way he is reading his poems, LIGHTYEARS before any other one reading them - and I have heared at least 2 dozen, some really professional readers/actors. So it's good to 'hear' his voice in my head when reading his poems.
 
Ah, Bruce Springsteen! I love him almost as much as the Kinks! When I saw him trying to sing a Clash song off a teleprompter at some rock and roll hall of fame performance I thought to myself, "Self, next time you see him, break his nose and left cheek bone with the knuckles of your right fist." And so I shall, damn the consequences. But so far he's stayed away from me. Smart boy. I'd piss on his grave if he had the common decency to die already.

I know, I know, you didn't watch the Super Bowl halftime show.

For a card carrying AARP member, The Boss looked like he may give you a run for the money. Clarence as his back up, if things go wrong. Overheard something like, "If I don't take that fucker mjp out, Clarence will shove a sax up his ass...and you don't want to get Little Steven involved, or all hell will break loose "” you know, he's connected."

Bring brass knuckles (he's into brass). And a sidekick (he's into those, too).

BTW: he'll only tumble with you if you don a soul patch "” like him.
 
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It's an instrument I've always wanted to learn how to play and never will. I'm fascinated by it. The shape, the sounds, everything. I own a sax, and a sitar. And will never learn how to play either. BWTF, right? I'll never own a goat farm, either. But a man can dream...

And how are you doing, brother? Hope all is well with you and yours...

Pax
 
Thanks Gerard.
I really ALWAYS feel miserable, writing these over-long posts.
Nobody wants to read long posts.


sometimes I can't resist though.
But even then, I try to help people reading, by setting landmarks and dimming the lesser interesting/important parts.
Glad it seems to work.
 
Everyone is right. You will find your own way.
I heard Bukowski read poems on Born Into This before I read any of his stuff, so I think of his voice and pace. You know how he speaks slow and casual very easy with his own drawl. I too, think you need to read his poems more than once. If I don't get it the first slow reading then I sometimes scan it quickly or read it very fast. Some poems take on whole new life read quickly. His poems are so much like prose or the spoken word anyway.


Yeah, after hearing Buk read so much when I read anything by him now, I get the rhythm and the meter of it - the way he would have read it. That helped me better understand Bukowski 's prosey.

Like I can hand a poem of Buk's to someone who is very well read (English majors, etc) and they DO NOT GET the flow of the thing. So much for English degrees...
 

mjp

Founding member
The Boss looked like he may give you a run for the money.
Like I said, damn the consequences. I've been to L.A. County jail, so what else can they do to me? I have to do what I have to do.

But again, that coward has wisely maintained his distance. I never see him anywhere, because I know he knows. And he knows that I know he knows. Ya dig?
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
When I saw him trying to sing a Clash song off a teleprompter at some rock and roll hall of fame performance...

unfortunately i saw that too - so fucking lame i got the dc's watching it - wasn't the nirvana drummer up there too? ugh...
 

mjp

Founding member
unfortunately i saw that too - so fucking lame i got the dc's watching it - wasn't the nirvana drummer up there too? ugh...
Probably. But that was the moment that convinced me never to waste my time on that shit again. Awards for rock and roll are like...like...well, they are like some analogy of a completely worthless thing. Same goes for a museum. Things go into museums when they are dead.

Was that the time you we're visiting Ray Davies?
Yeah, he was there. 18th Street had stolen his shoes. He was shuffling around with bread bags on his feet. Sad, really.
 
18th Street had stolen his shoes. He was shuffling around with bread bags on his feet. Sad, really.

OK, just saw a version of "Gangland" on either the History or Discovery Channel, so I finally get it. 18th Street. Famous in LA, and now other parts of the country...

Funny thing, I'm typing this as I listen to the Stones play, Miss You.

What a crock of shit.

And, you're previous comment about how a rocker sings/sounds, i.e., listen to a "rockin" Doors' song, may I recommend, "Roadhouse Blues."

The voice, the balls: pure rock & roll.

Let it roll, baby, roll...all night long...
 

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