I compare his posthumous books to a band you really like that puts out a box set filled with a bunch of unreleased tracks. At first. you're all excited because its stuff you haven't heard before. After awhile, you understand why they didn't make the record.
The only after death books I find myself going back to seem to be Muse, What Matters Most and Continual Condition. Just my personal preference. Not saying I'm right or wrong. I was just curious what others thought of the later books.
I started out, not on purpose, reading the after death stuff when it came out. Once I discovered the difference, the real difference, between the before & after material I had an almost impossible time going back to the after death Martin-ized stuff. Still do.
There's nothing wrong with the poems in the posthumous books as Bukowski wrote them. When you read the manuscripts for them, they're just as good (or bad) as the poems in any of the collections that were published when Bukowski was alive.
The problem is John Martin's "editing" in the posthumous books. You aren't seeing the poems as they were written, you're seeing watered down, poetry-for-dummies versions of them. But if you didn't know that the poems were altered - as most people don't - no one could blame you for believing that many of them just stink, and maybe they shouldn't have been published.
But again, look at the manuscripts and you'll quickly be disabused of that notion. As the kids say.
Bersarin: why do you think (or why is it) that "The People Look Like Flowers At Last" is being able to stand up against the books Bukowsi put out while he was alive? No offence meant, just curious to know, I want to learn. Thanks!
I can't speak for Bersarin, but I do think that, overall, the uncollected stuff is usually stronger than most unpublished stuff. For The People Look Like Flowers at Last, Martin culled most poems off early little mags. Posthumous doctoring aside, the poems in The People might be stronger because they were largely uncollected then --rather than unpublished.
When I was putting together Storm, I re-read everything unpublished and uncollected, and I picked some 400 poems that I found strong enough to be published: 300 of them were uncollected, 100 unpublished.