Poor Pound - ouch!

Discussion in 'All things Bukowski' started by cirerita, May 5, 2013.

  1. the amazon? thats not a backwater its the largest river in the world isn't it? just kidding ... the backwater I live in is called Central London, dunno if you've ever heard of it. Thats really what I was driving at, how to decipher whether the works were posthumous and tampered with or not. I shall keep an eye out for anything that was published 1996 backwards from now on.

    also is John Martin, aware of the majority displeasure at his actions? has he ever passed comment on people being pissed with his editting? how does he justify it
  2. The why question will never be answered. And even if it was, what difference would it make?

    The damage is done, and it would be a difficult task to go back to the manuscripts and make those collections "right." I certainly don't see HarperCollins/ECCO doing it. ECCO is a "long tail" imprint. They publish titles that sell steadily but in very small numbers. There's no financial incentive to "fix" the text.

    And as some Martin apologists like to point out, most people who read the books don't know that they have been neutered, and wouldn't care if they did know.
  3. This may sound cold, but I think what Martin saw is that Bukowski's books consistently sell. I don't get the idea that he ever, really, understood or appreciated the depth of Bukowski's literary genius. Sure, he liked Buk's writing, thought he told a good story, it was funny, insightful stuff, but did he ever see how perfectly crafted the work was? No evidence of that, especially in these "before" and "after" editing comparisons. Publishing Bukowski was a wise investment, a solid bet.
  4. That's what happened. Exactly.
  5. Martin bet on a lot of writers. Look at the first 100 Black Sparrow publications - only seven were Bukowski titles.

    Bukowski became famous because he was Bukowski, not because Martin or Black Sparrow made him famous. Had his books been published by City Lights or anyone else, we would still be here talking about him today.

    Considering all that Martin has done to neuter and sanitize Bukowski's work since his death, I think an argument could be made that his involvement with Bukowski did more to hurt him than help him in the long run. He effectively ruined half of the poetry collections that are still in print (and are likely to remain in print for a long time to come). That's his legacy. We didn't make it, he did.

    But I'm told he's a really swell guy and a sweet old man, so apparently he isn't to be criticized.
    Erik, Skygazer and hoochmonkey9 like this.
  6. Well I heard he likes puppy dogs so everyone BACK THE FUCK OFF.
    Black Swan and Skygazer like this.
  7. F*** him and his puppy-dogs where they breathe...
    The one thing that Black Sparrow did way better than City Lights would have done is the general presentation, covers, and layout of the Buk books. They deserve credit for that, but damn, this blatant destruction of a man's work is inexcusable by anyone's standards.
    Skygazer likes this.
  8. based on conversations i've had with people outside the forum who are invested in bukowski one way or another (book dealers, publishers, etc), the attitude seems to be, "every editor did that," and also, "this is just a bunch of noise from message board geeks" - i honestly believe that if the EXACT same research were published in a reputable literary journal rather than the eww-gross-internet, it would have been a big scandal.
  9. Yes, exactly. It's easy for old timers who think the Internet is all pornography and pictures of cats to dismiss anything that's said here. Regardless of whether some of the people here may be more knowledgeable than those who are dismissing them.

    But yes, if the same information was stripped of all emotion and anything else interesting, and presented in an impenetrable, dull, legitimate form, then they may agree that it was wrong to foul Bukowski's work after he was too dead to complain about it.
    Skygazer likes this.
  10. did you mean both of these in one picture? I'd like to see them, since it's my favorite fetish. Where can I get those?
  11. mjp likes this.
  12. Hemingway yep - but only when he was dead and only the posthumous stuff. Never heard of anyone going through The Old Man and The Sea and snipping the ends of the sentences.
    Yeah, Martin - not really editing but circumcising. Or do I mean "castrating"?
  13. No doubt this has been mentioned before, possibly even in this thread, but Raymond Carver's stories were heavily edited, to the degree that what we think of as his sparse, tight style is really the editor's style. This fact came out recently, long after Carver's death, and was a big scandal. Carver may have been on board with this, or merely tolerated it -- I forget which -- but he certainly knew about it.
  14. That's quite different, isn't it.

    We know that when Bukowski became aware of the edits in Women (which weren't even major, just idiotic) he made Martin revert them. So any comparison to Carver is meaningless.

    We don't have to speculate, we know that Bukowski did not approve of Martin's edits.

    And Martin knew that dead men can't complain. Which only makes what he did all the more cowardly and vile.
    d gray likes this.
  15. Lish editing Carver, and fundamentally changing the work, did become the "Carver style" we've read. It also ended their friendship. It's every bit as heavy-handed as these Buk edits -- but Lish was at least a pretty damn good editor. Without debating who was "right," or which versions are "better" -- it was done while Carver was alive. My sense of it is that Carver trusted Lish, and that it was collaborative (initially).

    These edits of Bukowski's work cut out the heart of the original texts. And reasons why don't matter. I don't think there can be a debate about which versions are better -- because it's not even a question! The edits are so much worse in every instance I've seen. Probably it began as a good, and helpful thing: "I'll just clean up the typos..." but quickly hurtled into this horrific situation we see today.

    I think what makes an editor great is questions -- collaborating with the writer with questions. Could this be tightened up some? Is there an opportunity here to connect to the theme again? Did you consider something like this here? But it should only ever be a collaboration.

    Anything changed without conversation or consent just ain't right, dawg.
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  16. The evidence suggests that the butchery began immediately, with the first collection that was put together after Bukowski's death, Bone Palace Ballet, and was in full swing by the following book, What Matters Most.

    That What Matters Most link says it all. Everything was changed.
    Bukfan and Hosh like this.
  17. Cicerita dud you get this manuscript from the Huntington Library?
  18. Hard to tell at this point, but I don't recall seeing many yellow stickers at the H. Library. I think that was probably S. Harrison's doing.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
    Dora likes this.
  19. Russell Harrison?
  20. Scott Harrison, the guy who sold a thousand manuscripts on eBay.
    Dora likes this.
  21. Thank you MJP, I just typed his name in the search bar and found a lot of threads that I am going to read.
    But just in case I get lost in all those posts, was everyone certain at the time that his manuscripts were authentic?
  22. Yes, they are authentic.
    Dora likes this.

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