published buk back in the day (1 Viewer)

Update: Spoke with Johnny. "Poop" as published by Johnny Brewton for X-Ray Book Co. (pictured above) was printed true to the original manuscript. The version later published in a book was slightly edited.

Johnny recently communicated with John Martin by email. Johnny will soon be posting clarification to above comments.

Hello, I think I better weigh in here.
Of course I'd never tamper with the integrity of Charles Bukowski's work, make edits or excerpts.
Correction: "POOP" as it stands (letterpress broadside) was 100% as received and never altered or edited. Any minor discrepancy was ironed out before the plate was ordered to print and I left it as received. I heard the book version was slightly different but cannot confirm. John Martin was always very generous and kept in the loop. As far as the missing word from "Our Bones" is concerned; this may have been a decision made between John and Bukowski. Of course I was shocked to know there was a word missing that changed it to a optimistic piece and that there was an entire poem beforehand missing that I never knew about.... But, that being said, it doesn't mean it was tampered with. We don't know what was agreed upon and we cannot know the inner workings of their author publisher relationship. I believe they trusted each other and made some really great books. I imagine poems at various stages of form may have been fine tuned. That would explain variations and inconsistencies. Anything put under a microscope would reveal the details not intended for the human eye. The John Martin I know has great deal of integrity and without proof I don't see the point of accusing him or any publishers of tampering. Without John Martin you'd probably be posting about Rod McKuen here!
-- johnny brewton


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You're coming at us with all of the same stale arguments people have been using for years. But we aren't talking about "variations and inconsistencies," and when you trivialize a serious issue without really knowing anything about it, you only make yourself look foolish. Your point of view isn't uncommon though. A lot of people believe Martin couldn't possibly be anything other than the kind, benevolent, wise old pure-of-heart publisher they believe him to be. That the evidence suggests otherwise is just an inconvenient truth. So to speak.

And forgive me, but there is absolutely no possibility that Bukowski had anything to do with your version of bones like stems. Do you really believe that any writer would voluntarily gut their work and utterly change its meaning like that? Do you really believe there is a scenario where Bukowski is sitting in front of his typewriter cutting lines out of old work and saying, "Here, use these little excerpts for something." That's what you're suggesting. I'm suggesting that what you have there is the damaging effect of Martin's grubby little red pencil right in front of your face, the "proof" you say is lacking, but you choose not to believe your own eyes. If that's not enough for you, there isn't really anything anyone here could say to convince you otherwise.

Finally, "without John Martin" we'd all still be here discussing Bukowski. Martin didn't make Bukowski. Bukowski made Bukowski. And he made Martin and Black Sparrow. Everyone who uses that tired line, "without Martin there's no Bukowski" has it backwards. Without Bukowski no one would have ever heard of Black Sparrow or John Martin. It was a symbiotic relationship, and to suggest that "without Martin" Bukowski wouldn't have somehow died unknown is quite a stretch.
mjp: Can I rent you a sense of humor? Of course you'd still be super obsessed with Charles Bukowski. Sure, it looks bad and it's easy to assume the worst. Who's to say? You'd have to ask the source to truly get to the bottom of this caper. Best luck!


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Aside from the hilarious Rod McKuen reference, I didn't realize that your post was meant as a joke and that the appropriate response was humor. Now look what I've gone and done. This is so embarrassing.

Well, thanks anyway for weighing in with a printer's point of view. That's always crucial in any discussion about art.

See what I did there? Humor!


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And as if to bring this thread full circle, the original poster sent me this today:


Funny how our memories work. See if you can spot anyone calling him a liar in this thread.

I believe he's referring to me, but doesn't realize that I'm the same guy who so callously branded him a big fat liar. But if seeing Amber's correspondence with Martin taught us anything, it's that our memories and impressions of things don't always line up with the reality of things.

Which is why life was so much better pre-Internet.
I never heard of a potential lawsuit. When we scratch the surface of a lot of these Martin "lawsuits" we find that Martin made no such threats at all (see: Blowing My Hero).
Not explicitly. But stating Martin made no such threats is essentially calling me a liar after I said he in fact did so. My question is, why do you assume I am not telling the truth?
there's a revealing letter from Bukowski to John Martin from August 29, 1978 (now published in 'On Writing').

Not exactly about this matter, nor the other discussed here, but connected in a way.


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stating Martin made no such threats
I said I never heard of a lawsuit around Tarantula, and I hadn't until you showed up.
why do you assume I am not telling the truth?
I'm not saying you aren't telling the truth, I'm saying that Martin never sued anyone in the small press, and the threat was just that, a threat. Of course it worked on almost everyone, because, who want's to be sued?

But also, human memory is faulty. You don't have any correspondence, you have a 30 year old memory of a phone call and your impressions or what was said. The author of Blowing My Hero told a similar story to yours, but then when the actual correspondence became available we learned that Martin never told her she couldn't sell the book, he simply told her never to reprint it with Bukowski's letters in it.

So, again, I'm not saying you're lying. We have other people's stories of similar things happening to them, so we know it was one of the tactics that Martin used to bully people into doing what he wanted them to do (and not incidentally creating new "rare collectibles" for him to sell to his collectors along the way). What I am saying is based on your memories alone I don't trust the details of the story. Because memory is fallible. And seeing how you put an evil twist on innocuous comments here makes me doubt your memory in particular even more.

And the way that you took what was said in the initial responses to your post and spun it into "THOSE PEOPLE IDOLIZE JOHN MARTIN!!!!" makes me question not only your memory, but your grip on reality in general. Anyone who spent more than five minutes here could see that's definitely not the case.
Rather typical you resort to an ad hominem attack in response to an incident that happened when you were in diapers. Since you consider libertarianism kooky, I am assume you are a Democrat or liberal. However, politics have nothing to do with the incident and it is rather disingenuous and vicious of you to insert such in the conversation. Despite your insistence I am suffering from memory issues, I can assure you Martin in fact did threaten a lawsuit. I never said he actually initiated one. I am not in the habit of recording telephone conversations as you might be, being a self-proclaimed "podcast" blogger. You did insinuate I am a liar, and that's why I responded, as anybody would. I should have realized, knowing the reputation of the Bukowski fawners that this would be the outcome, particularly the ad hominem bullshit inserted merely as an insult. I am impressed, however, that you did spend time Googling my name and scanning my political articles. Of course, you didn't bother to research anything I wrote and merely adopted the liberal mantra that anything outside of the mainstream is a conspiracy theory. Considering your penchant for adopting the opinions and attitudes of the herd, you might want to close down this forum and start one fawning over Stephen King or Danielle Steele.


Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
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The Danielle Steele forum I run is already highly successful. I think starting another one would be a huge waste of time. But if you want to try, that's your right as a liberal democrat. I won't tread on that.

Almost forgot: ad hominem.


And in the end...
It was thirty years ago, so I don't remember the exact conversation, but I do remember the tenor. I also distinctly recall Martin saying: "Go find your own Bukowski!" Very territorial. .
Memory is fallible, doesn't matter whether it was last week or 30 yrs ago, we start to edit it. But bad or negative events we remember more vividly.
So even choosing just to accept the bare bones of what Kurt said - that a phone call took place between him and Martin; the events that follow -
(Martin receiving most of the work) would iindicate he wasn't phoning him to congratulate Kurt on his wonderful publication, plus the ensuing letters between
him and Bukowski.

The Pig in A Pamphlet edition reveals the same wish to monopolise his work but at the same time, profit from them by demanding all the copies, that's really mean, unethical behavior.

P.S That was before seeing the letters in On Writing.
How much control did Martin actually have over Buk's writing?

Was it exclusive to the point that Buk couldn't even send poems out to magazines without Martin threatening legal action? I find it bizarre if the contract was that strict, particularly when you look at the tremendous amount of writing Buk sent out to magazines throughout his lifetime. A chapbook has its own unique category, neither a book nor a magazine, so it'd be interesting to look at the contract they had with one another while attempting to figure out why Martin would feel so threatened by these small scale, small press ventures.
mind you - aren't digital discussions, researches or defamations as in here - in the end of the day - nothing more than what they are: internet based trial balloons and not one whit better than that?


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So you're suggesting that research done by the users of this forum is invalid if the results are posted on the internet? Or the discussions here are invalid because they take place on the internet? That it's not valid for people to relate their experiences if they relate those experiences here, on the internet?

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