Roominghouse Madrigals (1 Viewer)

I just recieved my copy of The Roominghouse Madrigals
this morning! I can't wait to get the knife and fork out (my tentacles) and get stuck into it! Hmmmm, BOOKS, *licks lips*....chocolate!

It's his earliest book, right? I can't wait to taste it.

(If I wanted a meal, I'd go to a Resturant...):D

I arrogantly dedicated this thread to recieving my book: but any thoughts on Roominghouse may as well go here: is it his best early collection? What do you think?
I honestly was disappointed with Roominghouse. He hadn't hit his stride yet. Was still rather uptight, self conscious. No va-va voom. Wings still wet. But hints of what was to come were certainly present.

I redd it long after I had redd his best stuff.

I remain the golden needle in the haystack.
It's his earliest book, right?

no i don't believe so. its got lots of early stuff. but, it's not the earliest. i may be wrong but i don't think so.

EDIT: well actually i guess it might be. maybe somebody else is a better authority on this. its a great collection though. one of my favorites.
HenryChinaski, I understand now, the poems are from 1946-66, but the book wasn't made until 1988.

So some of his earliest poems....along with 'the days run away...' which I have a copy of, thank god.

I'm reading through the collection now: it's good, unpolished....reassuring to see him still finding his feet with his style, his voice, his throat, his stomach!

There is hope for us all
...well, mostly for me
That is the book of poems that I am reading now. Some of them do seem a little self conscious. There are some real gems in there. One of my favorites is Genius Of The Crowd.
It's definitely worth reading but I can't help comparing it to the brilliance and full force of Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame and The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills.

I'm reading Mocking Bird Wish Me Luck (1st edition, BS Los Angeles) and it hasn't moved me much. I'm nearly finished with it and it's been fair to middlin at best. But that's okay. They can't all be home runs.

I remain the golden needle...
...the poems are from 1946-66, but the book wasn't made until 1988.
Right. Most of the poems appeared in little mags and chapbooks.

... I can't help comparing it to the brilliance and full force of Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame and The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills.
Sure, there is some affinity between them. And it's great to take these with you on a really hot summer afternoon when going to a cheap Taco-restaurant, sitting outside, looking at the people, the traffic and reading, drinking ...

Go for:
- It's not who lived here (p.21)
- The Genius of the Crowd (p.31)
- Old Man, Dead in a Room (p.53)
- 86'd (p.139)
- Practice (p.150)
- Everything (p.185)
- As I lay Dying (p.210)
- Eaten by butterflies (p.254)

each one a killer!
I like O, We are the outcasts, Poem for my 43 birthday, Breakout, A trick to dull our bleeding and of course Genius of the crowd and Old man dead in a room...
I like the poem: suicide.

really funny ending,
which makes the
whole poem perfect...

plenty more.

I'm trying to find a poem in it
that had the line
'Whitman was the only true American'

I caught that line
while flicking through
but can't fucking
find it now....damn!
Sorry for digging up the past but I've just finished The Roominghouse Madrigals. Holy shit what a wonderful book! My second full-book of Buk poetry after Burning in Water. Poem after poem after poem- what a collection! I really like the writing style in this book. I'll admit I have kinda been stretching it out over the months while as reading other books, which made it a bit of a disjointed reading experience but still I really rate it highly with Burning in Water - I almost favour it but I guess I'll have to re-read the two again.

On a side note I have North no South coming my way in the post. As far as his short story collections I only have 'The Most Beautiful Girl in Town' which I enjoyed, but not so much as his poetry or his novels. Anyway I was just wondering how the two compare?

*The Most Beautiful Woman in Town

Oh shit my memory is appalling - kill me now:rolleyes:
'South of No North' is more 'mature' (to my impression), so you might like it better than the one split-off from the original 'Erections'-volume.

Glad you like these poems.
They are immortal as hell!

( No need to read a book of poetry in one sip or in the given order. Seems to me, you did the right thing: read whenever you feel like it and read whatever seems to appeal to you in the given moment. No pressure. I haven't read about 30% of Hank's collected poems! This is not a test. )
'South of No North' is more 'mature' (to my impression), so you might like it better than the one split-off from the original 'Erections'-volume.
I enjoyed the majority of the stories in some way or another but very few of them really stuck with me after putting it down (of course The Fiend was one of them) His poems and novels have that great punch-to-the-stomach effect. But saying this I am very much looking forward to South of No North. It sounds like a good'n.
I too still haven't read big chunks of the collected stuff... I've got copies of the last few BSP releases (Last Night of the Earth thru Open All Night) that have been sitting on my shelves for almost a year, mostly un-read... I spent about $200 last January on Abe just grabbing some BSP editions and have been slowly thumbing through them.

I'll read them all eventually. Y'know, some day.
Here's a tip. Look up the poems in the database on this site. Some of them are among the earliest poems Buk ever published.

But: do it AFTER you've read the book. You might be be surprised.
Well, Roominghouse always reminds me of travelling the East Coast back in 2000, since it was one of the many books I took along with me on a trip. I liked it, and re-read it probably 4-5 times since then.
I picked it up with a massive discount, just before Borders went into liquidation last year. It would've been worth the full price, but you can't complain. Well, you can. But I won't.
One of the things I always liked about 'Roominghouse' and 'Burning' is, that they have a forword/preface. It would have been beautiful to have this in the other books too.
I'm about halfway through this and I'm less than impressed. I think this is my least favorite Bukowski poetry so far. I can see that he was laying the groundwork for what would eventually become some great poetry but this stuff just isn't grabbing me. At all. It's all very forgettable, in my opinion. That being said, I still feel it's important to read it.
Rooming house was the first book of Hank's poetry I read, so it has special meaning for me. As a survey of his early
work and and style, it's invaluable. Plus, it does happen to contain a few of the best poems of the 20th century.
Beside being the first full-poetry Buk book I ever read, TRM contains (among many other great poems) one of my all-time favo(u)rites: O, We Are the Outcasts.
It's hilarious.
Summer? I might scrape up
trainfare. got an Indian friend who'd like to meet
you and yours. he swears he's got the biggest
pecker in the state of California.

and guess what?
he writes
Contrary to some of you guys I don't see these early poems as awfully self-conscious or pretentious. They're bit fumbling, sure, here and there insecure, maybe even bad, but almost always filled with the rawness and vigor that time after time makes me return to Buk. As a whole I don't see this collection as the least bit more inconsistent than the others.
Go for:
- It's not who lived here (p.21)
- The Genius of the Crowd (p.31)
- Old Man, Dead in a Room (p.53)
- 86'd (p.139)
- Practice (p.150)
- Everything (p.185)
- As I lay Dying (p.210)
- Eaten by butterflies (p.254)

each one a killer!
To this fine list I'd like to add:

4:30 A.M. (p. 34)
Layover (p. 51)
Death Wants More Death (pp. 92-93)
The Blackbirds Are Rough Today (p. 97)
The Sun Wields Mercy (pp. 158-160)
With Vengeance Like a Tiger Crawls (pp. 177-178)
A Trick to Dull Our Bleeding (pp. 245-246)
Destroying Beauty (p. 256)

(Re-reading these poems, I realised that I wasn't really fair to my emotions in my earlier paragraph. I don't just think that this collection is as good as the others, I think it's amazing and probably better than a whole lot of them.)
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I agree with roni, skiroomalum and Ghado: The Roominghouse Madrigals includes some of Bukowskis all-time-great poems that kick everything in the ass which had been done in poetry before, like

The Genius Of The Crowd
- pg. 31
An Empire Of Coins - pg. 45
Old Man, Dead In A Room - pg. 53

a lot that are simply very very good in the Bukowskiversum

22,000 Dollars In 3 Months - pg. 13
O, We Are The Outcasts, O We Burn In Wondrous Flame! - pg. 22
Poem For My 43rd Birthday - pg. 30
The Night They Took Whitey - pg. 37
The Japanese Wife - pg. 39
Layover - pg. 51
The Day I Kicked Away A Bankroll - pg. 73
Hello, Willie Shoemaker - pg. 86
Death Wants More Death - pg. 92
The Blackbirds Are Rough Today - pg. 97
Fleg - pg. 107
The Best Way To Get Famous Is To Run Away - pg. 121
Hangover And Sick Leave - pg. 169

... a couple, that represent his "lyrical" early style

I Wait In The White Rain - pg. 65
Horse On Fire - pg. 70
Imbecile Night - pg. 77
The Swans Walk My Brain In April It Rains - pg. 125
A Rat Rises - pg. 165
With Vengeance Like A Tiger Crawls - pg. 177
I Am With The Roots Of Flowers - pg. 236

... some that are simply shit ass funny

Somebody Always Breaking My Dainty Solitude - pg. 204
Friendly Advice To A Lot Of Young Men - pg. 184
Farewell, Foolish Objects - pg. 102
O, We Are The Outcasts, O We Burn In Wondrous Flame! - pg. 22

... and one I could never read through, despite the strong ending:

The Sun Wields Mercy - pg. 158

I love it.
Mark me down as someone who holds Roominghouse in high regard. Yes, it has some clunkier work, but some excellent work and a few gems, as has been mentioned. Plus I prefer the more narrative style to the more terse style he used in the late 80s and early 90s.
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Roominghouse? Insightful foreword and a lot of raw and outstanding poems spanning two decades. Let me give you an excerpt I like. It's from Wrong Number (think that one hasn't been mentioned before):

the wall-eyed butcher spits
and flaunts his blade
backed by law, dullness and admiration-
how the girls rejoice in him: he has no doubts,
he has nothing
and it gives him strength
like a bell clanging against the defenseless air...

there is no church for me,
no sanctuary; no God, no love, no roses to rust;
towers are only skeletons of misfit reason,
and the sea waits
as the land waits,
amused and perfect
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I was one of the people who put this book down in other threads by calling it full of "B sides." I was wrong and drunk, which I never quite believe until I'm actually sober. It's a valuable book, even though my tastes live in other decades, including the '90s.
I am still not convinced that the poems included in this book were not edited to some extent by Martin. I don't have the time or energy to do a line-by-line comparison to the originals -- and I don't think Buk did either at the time. And how could he -- even if he wanted to? The internet did not exist.

This book just doesn't pass the sniff test for me. I thought a lot of the poems were soft when I read the book the first and the second time.

Mind you, I could be completely wrong -- the sniff test still needs further enhancements and limited user-group releases by Google.

But something just doesn't feel right.

Those poems are all so old that we don't have manuscripts. But we probably have some of the original mag appearances around here. It's hard to tell sometimes with the early poems. He threw a lot of things we might find "uncharacteristic" into them.
The Madrigals contain 139 poems. I've found 23 scans and references to original mag appearances in the database/forum. If you own certain periodicals and chapbooks you will be able to compare a lot more poems, but the result would be pretty much the same I guess: The vast majority of these "early selected poems" had been changed.
Only 2 of the above mentioned 23 poems remained unchanged, Layover and A Conversation on Morality, Eternity and Copulation. In six(!) of them the title was altered. Some of the poems are seriously damaged, such as An Empire of Coins, 22,000 Dollars in 3 Months and The Night they took Whitey. Sometimes the changes don't seem to be serious. Unfortunately, the replacement of a single word can make a big difference; a perfect example is I Cannot Stand Tears.
You can also see typical Martin-patterns, his constant attempt to alleviate Bukowski's language: "anus" became "arm" (Friendly Advice to a lot of Young Men), "I shit myself" turned into "I kid myself" (A Kind of Lecture on a dull Day when there isn't even a Fly around to kill), and lines like "in a sense we needn't quiz the radiant aspect of Catholic funerals" (The Night they took Whitey) were simply removed.
There are more examples, I've mentioned only some of them.
It is.

I'm pretty sure Abel went back to the oldest source he could find (magazine appearances or manuscripts) rather than using the Black Sparrow versions.

You can see the first page of the On Love version in the Amazon preview...
I've found another reference to an original mag appearance. It's from the book 'Art, Survival and so Forth' and considers the poem O we are the outcasts. Bear in mind that the book is written in 2000:

"Bukowski's poems in Ole have been mostly reprinted by Black Sparrow in variant versions. Words such as 'bung-hole' and 'cock' are curiously cut out (a literal emasculation), presumably self-censored by Bukowski when he sent material off to John Martin. If so, he also removed rhythm and pungency from, for instance, an entertaining satirical blast at his fellow little maggers in 'O we are the outcasts, O we burn in wondrous flame' (Ole #4). Here is the original opening:

ah, christ, what a bung-hole crew:
poetry, always more
P O E T R Y.

if it doesn't come, squeeze it out with a
laxative, get your name in LIGHTS,
get it up there in
81/2 x 11 mimeo.

keep it coming like a miracle

So far Jules Smith. The Black Sparrow version not only lacks the words "bung-hole" and "cock", but also half of the title. In addition to that "squeeze" has been replaced by "coax". And this is just the opening of the poem, a very long one, by the way.
I feel like trashing this collection.
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