It would be pointless knowing what Fogel or Martin or cirerita or they guy who bags your groceries considers a good or bad poem, and pointless to argue whether one period of Bukowski's life produced work superior to another. It doesn't matter.
By letting (almost) everything through you leave it up to the reader to decide. Someone who thinks the posthumous books are genius is right. Just like someone who thinks he never wrote a good poem after 1968. Both right. It's art, and whether it's good or bad is subjective, period.
People with university literary educations - here's where I alienate half the forum members, I suppose - tend to give more weight and validity to things that are obtuse and impossible to understand. Same goes with an art education, a film education, you name it.
If you don't understand a film or a book or a piece of art, you can bet there are hundreds of people with very important degrees crawling over each other to praise it. They don't understand it either, but while they were in school they learned how to say clever things that make it appear that they understand everything.
What bothers these people is that Bukowski wrote poems that they can dissect and critique and write thoughtful essays full of words you have to look up in the dictionary about, but he also wrote many, many poems that they don't know what to do with.
The plain, clear language confuses them. Where are the metaphors and the semaphores and the pinafores?! What the fuck is this shit?! So they say, "Bukowski's work after <stick any random year in here> is not poetry, it is merely typing! Only simpletons and hillbillies could take pleasure in such rubbish!"
The fact is, poetry has an audience, at least in America, that would fit into a teacup, and great sales for a book of poetry are in the 1,000 to 2,000 copies area. That's a fucking poetry blockbuster for virtually every poet out there. The reason for this minuscule audience is glaringly obvious as soon as you open one of these books. A regular, normal, average person cannot appreciate them.
Bukowski wrote a lot of poetry that appeals to people who hate or ignore all other poetry. If you want to say all those poems are shit, then you are saying everyone who loves them is an idiot, which only proves that you are an elitist, and probably an unbearable asshole as well. And you smell bad.
Yeah, I know these are all generalizations, but prove me wrong. ;)
There is an independent poetry underground that has been percolating for years, but that's not who I'm talking about here. Their audience is even smaller than the university press poets. For now. But things could change, couldn't they?