'The City' in Bukowski's work: advise a student of literature!

Well hello there all, and thank you for reading this. I am not a frequent visitor to this site, but I was hoping to get some advice from you guys.

I study literature in The Netherlands, and I have a paper due in about a month where I can discuss the theme of 'the city' in any piece of self-chosen literature.

Since Bukowski was tightly connected to his city L.A., I was thinking of doing the paper on him; either how he represented the city in his novels or in his poetry. I've read all his novels, but not all of his poetry, and here's where you guys come in.

Do you know if Bukowski used the city as a theme in his poems, and, if so, which ones would have to be included in this case?

In the next couple of days I will be browsing the books I have myself for city-related subjects, but I know there are people here who could point me in the right direction. Thanks in advance!
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Over 5000 posts
That is a tall order. There are hundreds of poems on this subject, to some degree.

It would probably be a good idea to pick up a book like "Run W/ The Hunted", which has poems and stories and is arranged chronologically. Otherwise, it would be a matter of us culling through poems and posting them here to help you with your paper. This is something that few people here will be willing to do.

Can you get the books of poetry in a local library? Did you want to read them in English?

Bill
 
Hi Bill,

My request is not to get any work being done for me, I am enthusiastic about writing the paper and hoping to find enough of useable poems of Bukowski to be able to conclude something from his use of the city in his work.

I have a number of books of poetry myself, about 6 of 'em. The libraries around these parts have very little Bukowski. I'll see into Run With the Hunted, thanks for the tip!

And yes, I plan to use the original, English, poems. To clarify, please don't look for specific poems for me; but if you happen to think 'hey I know a great one where the city is really the central theme', that would be of great assistance to me. :)
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Over 5000 posts
Any story or poem about a boarding house or hotel. The best mood creating image I recall is the one where the red neon lights of the Mobil Gas pegasus is flashing into the window of a cheap room.

3063934087_9d9c80efa4.jpg


There is also the one about the Fire station.
 
A Plate Glass Window, from Love is A Dog From Hell comes to mind,
"dogs and angels are not
very different.
I often go to this place
to eat
about 2:30 in the afternoon
because al the people who eat
there are particularly addled
simply glad to be alive and
eating baked beans
near a plate glass window
which holds the heat
and doesn't let the cars and
sidewalks inside.

reminds me of James Joyce's musings on the city, the urban entity, in his Dubliners.
I imagine this inspired by Clifton's Cafeteria in Downtown LA, which he cites in Ham on Rye, a storied eatery where during the Great Depression customers could pay whatever they had on them.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Over 1000 posts
I agree with Bill. Seems to me you can pick up pretty much any book, novel, poetry, essays, short stories, any of them and get a good feeling for the city of angels.
 
Yup that's what I've been finding out for myself the last few days. Thanks for the replies and tips here!
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
... where the red neon lights of the Mobil Gas pegasus is flashing into the window of a cheap room
Being no American, I wonder:
I guess, that said "Mobile Gas"-Pegasus is the same as in Barfly, right?

red-pegasus-Barfly.jpg


Now what about Bukowski talking:
... a large red bird
which flapped its wings
seven times
and then a sign lit up
below it advertising
advertising
SIGNAL GASOLINE.

(from: '40 years ago in that hotel room' in 'Wormwood Review' 110-111, Vol.28, No2&3, 1988. p.44-46)

Has there ever been such a neon-bird working for "Signal"? I thought they had - nomen est omen - only traffic lights.

So am I wrong or is Bukowski intermixing two different oil-companies' logos?
Just curious.
 

David

Over 500 posts
The red neon Pegasus signs were common in LA when I was a child during the Sixties. I just looked it up and yes, they were at the Mobil gas stations. Don't know if it was Schroeder or Bukowski's idea to have Pegasus flashing in the window as he is writing poetry in "Barfly", but Pegasus the flying horse is known as the symbol for poetry so it was a cool moment in the film.
 
Top