Recommended Bukowski poetry books for newbie

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Ok guys,i've read post office,factotum,women,the most beautiful woman in town and am half way through ordinary tales of madness.But HIS poems!Where do i begin?
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Over 5000 posts
Roominghouse Madrigals - For a taste of the early poems,
Love is a Dog From Hell - for a taste of the middle
Septuagenarian Stew - for a taste of the late.

Also, you could pick up Run With the Hunted. For the longtime reader of Bukowski it is not the favorite, but would not be a bad place to start either. All of his books have something that makes them special. What you will find is that his style changed greatly over the 50 years that he was writing. If you decide that you like the more lyrical, then you will find yourself wanting the earlier. In the end, you will probably end up with them all, so where to start is not as important!

Sept Stew also has short stories, so it may be a great tie in with you having read one book of stories.

Bill
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
I must admit, though I appreciate Bill a Lot, I'd recommend others:

I'd start with 'Burning in Water Drowning in Flame', the reason is, there are poems from early books (back to the beginning 60s) till the start of the 70s. So it gives some overview anyway. Yet at the same time it's somehow 'complete' in itself.

Also it contains some 'classics', as 'tragedy of the leaves', 'to the whore who took my poems', '2am beer', 'love&fame&death', 'beans with garlic', 'don't come around but if you do', 'class', 'a poorly night', 'the rent's high too', etc.

For the later ones, I, too, would prefer another one:
'You get so Alone at Times that it just makes Sense'. The reason: we see a very 'mature' Bukowski here. Reflecting on his former life as well as on his present one, reflecting his idols in literature, in classical music, etc...

Not sure, if there are 'classics' in it, but recommend very much: 'beasts bounding through time', 'cornered', 'darkness', 'a funny guy', 'final story', 'friends within the darkness', 'the wine of forever', 'party's over' and especially: 'how is your heart?' and 'forget it' (which is double as moving to read now, only one week after March 9th).

So, that's mine.
But I can tell you: everyone has his own favorites. So maybe there are still others to come. It will overflow you.

Maybe it's BEST, to buy one of his Live-Readings. You'd get a glimpse about his sound and tune and his ways and all that. It will never leave you, listening to his voice reading his poems. There's no escape from having some of his readings anyway, so, why not start with them, esp. as a poetry-newbe?

Highly recommended readings: 'Poems and Insults' (1972, San Francisco), 'Solid Citicen' (1978, Germany), 'Hostage' (1980, Redondo Beach).
 

bright

Over 100 posts
For the later ones, I, too, would prefer another one:
'You get so Alone at Times that it just makes Sense'. The reason: we see a very 'mature' Bukowski here. Reflecting on his former life as well as on his present one, reflecting his idols in literature, in classical music, etc...
I also like this collection very much, i really dig the poem where he is sitting drunk in his room in san pedro, searching for fire to light up a cigarette.
Its 2am, all the damn lighters are broken, finally he finds some cheap matches and ends up setting the ashtray and wooden wastebasket on fire.
He grabs some manuscripts and is trying to beat the fire out, Linda wakes up from the noise, "I smell smoke.Hank, did you set the house on fire?"
"Its alright baby,i got it."
Then he continues wandering through the house, searching for matches.

Marvelous,this boy really can laugh at himself..

I think that(this?) is why i like him so much, his ego isnt getting in the way too often, when he is talking about
how he sees things.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Over 1000 posts
OK - I did not read any of the previous recommendations at all. All I saw was a question about Buk's poetry and where to begin. So these suggestions I have here may be repetitive...

Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
Burning In Water : Drowning In Flame
Dangling In The Tournefortia

3 of Bukowski's best :)
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
Over 1000 posts
I'd recommend: "Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame."
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Over 5000 posts
Most of it. Don't try, just read it. The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills or Mockingbird Wish Me Luck or Play the Piano Drunk, etc etc.
 

Stavrogin

Over 1000 posts
Go with solo's recommendation. My pick, too, but being brand spanking new to Bukowski you'd be fine picking up The Pleasures of the Damned which is readily available on most bookstore shelves - covers much ground and believe you'll be begging for more once finished.
 
J

johnwayne12

Well I've read most of Bukowskis novels and some short story collections but I just wasn't sure which poetry to read since everyone seems to have a different opinion on it. I've read love is a dog from hell and that was very good, I just wanted recommendations for the next one I'll get. Thanks a lot guys.
 
J

johnwayne12

well I was saying what poetry book I should, I haven't really read his poetry before. I've only read a couple of things from love is a dog from hell but its my brothers so I was asking what I should get to start with.
 

Gin Soaked Boy

Over 100 posts
Everyone is gonna say a different book so just choose anyone of the ones published when he was alive. You can't go wrong. Personally I love The Last Night of the Earth Poems.
 

DirtyJersey13

The Cruelty of Loveless Love
Over 100 posts
Pleasures of the Damned covers his poetry from '51-'93, so it gives you a taste of all the stages of his work, not to mention they did a damn good job choosing poems to include in it. It includes many of my favorites, like Dinosauria, we and Burning the Dream. But, as it's been stated, we all have our own opinions, so just get your hands on as many collections as possible and go from there. Opinions are like assholes, we all have one.
 
Brand new to Bukowski. I have all of the novels and am currently going through them at a breakneck pace. I want to get into his other work. The letters, the columns, the short stories and prose. What I really want to do is get into the poems. What are the best collections? I don't need a whole lot, just what is considered to be the best and most encompassing stuff.
 

zobraks

Moderator
Over 1000 posts
What I really want to do is get into the poems. What are the best collections? I don't need a whole lot, just what is considered to be the best and most encompassing stuff.
I'd suggest you read as much of his poetry as you can and find the best stuff by yourself. "What is considered 'the best of Buk' stuff" often didn't work for me and it may not work for you too. On the other hand, there are a lot of Bukowski's poems that are great (for me) and hardly anyone consider them his best.

Discover the man and his work on your own, you can't go wrong with any pre-1997 collection.
 
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PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Over 1000 posts
Well, from what you've read so far what have you like most? Considering you've read all the fiction you'll probably make your way through all the poetry eventually. Although I love all of Buk's writing in varying degrees his poetry is far and away the best. Just don't read any of the post death poetry comps except for Betting on The Muse maybe and here's why http://mjpbooks.com/blog/the-senseless-tragic-rape-of-charles-bukowskis-ghost-by-john-martins-black-sparrow-press/ . If you intend to become a true reader and true fan of Bukowski this link by our moderator mjp is essential.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Over 1000 posts
Oh, and a favorite of mine is The Last Night of the Earth Poems.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
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Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
War All the Time
Love is a Dog From Hell
You Get So All Alone...
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses...


Those are some great ones...

bill
 
G

GDPR 4124

I guess that just about every poetry collection by Bukowski, the non-Martinized ones that is, has been recommended by now, but what truly got me hooked on the verses was "Love is a Dog From Hell". I think that the poems in there are some of the strongest and most accessible ones. Not that Buk otherwise is inaccessible or complicated, but the earlier collections can come off as more lyrical, I guess. At least they did for me until I really dug into them and began loving them, too.
 
"War all the time" is my fave, but that changes from time to time. He got better as he got older in my opinion. His late 50's and 60's word was more abstract and metrical than what developed starting in the 70's. I prefer latter but respect and understand anyone who prefers his earlier poetry.

As time marched on he developed an ability to get to the meat and marrow of the issue, no fat, no dressing - it's what makes him the greatest.
 
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