The neutering of prose by Martin when Bukowski was alive

In working with the prose, I am coming across more and more examples of the following: the first is original LAFP "Notes" and version in South of No North as "Hit Man". Here the evidence is incontrovertible: no way Buk revised these AFTER they appeared in the Freep. Note the changes in word choice and removal of the best lines. Vanished is: "The sex was really secondary; it was the capturing of the soul that was needed. Love was the babytalk of idiots."

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but 'South of No North' was in the 70s.
Don't you think, Buk would've complained if this wasn't okay with him (like he did with 'Women')?

Also, not all the changes here are for worse. (Like "women meant so much trouble" vs "women meant trouble".)
 
"Love was the babytalk of idiots" is just too good to leave out. Also, there is "editing" similar to the "clean-ups" of the poetry...I have a feeling he didn't even reread the book versions of everything carefully...
He wrote so much he couldn't keep track...But as you say, who knows for sure? But there are a LOT of changes from the newspaper versions and later versions. I think we would find almost as much as the changes to the poetry. We'd have to line up South of No North, Hot Water Music and the posthumous collections to do the comparisons...
 

mjp

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Don't you think, Buk would've complained if this wasn't okay with him (like he did with 'Women')?
Since the Notes columns/stories were written quickly, I suspect that he wouldn't have been as likely to notice changes. There's obviously a difference between the care you'd give a novel manuscript and a weekly column. He may not have read most of those columns more than once or twice.

South of No North was published five years before Martin's neutered version of Women, and there we so few changes to the poetry collections at that time that Bukowski didn't have much reason to have his antenna up.

That'd be my guess.
I have a feeling he didn't even reread the book versions of everything carefully...
That too.

He really had no reason to look too closely at them, until Women.
We'd have to line up South of No North, Hot Water Music and the posthumous collections to do the comparisons...
I understand the urge to do that, but frankly I'm not sure the changes to the prose matter as much as the rape of the poetry. The meaning of the story isn't fundamentally changed by weakening it with Martin's junior college creative writing class idiocy. But many, many poems were utterly destroyed by the changes made to them.
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
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"Love was the babytalk of idiots."

Thanks for rescuing that line, at least.
But I prefer "is" rather that "was".

Wonder if it will fit onto a t-shirt. ;-)
 
In working with the prose, I am coming across more and more examples of the following: the first is original LAFP "Notes" and version in South of No North as "Hit Man". Here the evidence is incontrovertible: no way Buk revised these AFTER they appeared in the Freep.
Just took a look at this story from 9/20/1974 LA Free Press, titled "A Couple of Gigolos" in Hot Water Music. Just about every line has been changed. Note how much more beautiful also the original is with the drawings--the difference between the full-bodied version and a skeleton.

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PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
It continues to amaze me, this editing process. Maybe i just don't know shit about editing. love the little bit of the original we do get to see. Thanks.
 
it's getting weirder.
with all those prose-changes during his lifetime without him complaining.
 

mjp

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I have a feeling he didn't even reread the book versions of everything carefully...
Maybe especially after the Women episode.

They went through all of that, Martin published a restored version, then, if I'm Bukowski, maybe I think, "That'll teach him. He won't do that again," and I spend even less time poring over galleys. Which is a horribly tedious thing to have to do anyway.

Maybe he made the mistake of trusting him again after Women.

Maybe he made a mistake trusting him when they met in 1966.

But again, this issue and this thread aren't about what happened when he was alive. It's about the destruction of the posthumously published poetry. I'm not saying this isn't bad or it doesn't matter, it's just a different thing. The poetry was not "edited" like this story was when he was alive. And again, I'd suggest that the prose can withstand a greater level of tinkering without suffering as much as the poetry does.
 
MJP, previously I would have agreed with you that what was done to the posthumous poetry was the major crime, but after working with the stories I see things a bit differently. Take a look at the rest of this story--the changes may have been done while Buk was alive, but the effect is as startling as what was done to the poetry. Great prose can be butchered as easily and as badly as great poetry...

[I removed the pages from the Black Sparrow book. You can't "publish" the entire piece here on a public forum. Excerpts are fine, and the Free Press pages are fine, but HarperCollins/Ecco might take umbrage at the posting of entire stories from their books. - mjp]

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And take a look at the opening of the story from January 25, 1974 LAFP, titled "Harry Ann Landers" in HWM. Note the opening change from: "The phone rang. It was the drunk, Paul. Paul was drunk. Paul was in Northridge", to the Christian Scientized: "The phone rang. It was the writer, Paul. Paul was depressed. Paul was in Northridge..."

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Here's my "un-editing" of first page of "A Couple of Gigolos"...pencil a bit faded, but if you compare to LAFP version, you'll see clearly the extent of the changes.

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Just took a look at this story from 9/20/1974 LA Free Press, titled "A Couple of Gigolos" in Hot Water Music. Just about every line has been changed.
This is not editing. This is killiting.

The drawings are very nice and lively, indeed.
 

mjp

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I split this off the rape of Bukowski's ghost thread since Bukowski wasn't a ghost when this was done.

It's the same wanton destruction, but the context is different.
 
OK, great--wasn't sure best place to post it. Here are the final pages of "Gigolos"....Thought I might as well finish it since I spent a good part of the afternoon on the first parts...Was curious myself just how far it would go, and as you can see it went pretty far indeed.....

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Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
After seeing this, I have a hunch many, if not all, of Buk's short stories from the underground mags were edited when they were later published by BSP. :(
 
Man, I can't believe the sheer scope of these senseless edits, even during Buk lifetime. At what point should Martin just write the damn thing himself?

"Love was the babytalk of idiots" - great line isn't she!
 
Tragic, senseless, stupid and offending. Is this what BSP stands for, actually?

If one doesn't own real manuscripts signed by the man, nothing can be taken granted anymore. I wonder to what level Hollywood, Ham on Rye got affected by the above mentioned idiocy of George Martin. I guess this will be the reason and final nail in the coffin of real Bukowski stuff skyrocketing on future auctions.
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
Anyone know if City Lights kept them clean?

Also, why did Martin allow those books to happen?

Was the content not "appropriate" for BSP?
 
That's exactly right. Martin didn't want the stories from EEEAGTOOM in a BSP publication. I'm not sure about Notes..., but perhaps the title itself was enough to convince him or he had seen them in LAFP. I would think that Ferlinghetti might have, at most, done minor copy editing; you know, what an editor is supposed to do.
 

Johannes

Founding member
By the way and a little off topic, but Roger Comstocks story about his failed marriage in A Couple of Gigolos is funny as shit. I almost pissed myself when I first read it.

Her whacking his friend with a wooden salad spoon and claiming she needs to go to ceramics class, attacking him with butcher knifes etc. Bukowski always rolled in high spirits when writing about the man/woman-situation but this scenes are on top of the list :D
 
If all of the stories in HOT WATER MUSIC had been changed to such an extent, which I still hope is not the case, I'd tend to call HWM a book written by John Martin/based upon an idea by Charles Bukowski.

In German we say: 'Verarschen kann ich mich alleine', which means something like 'I can fuck myself, don't need anyone else to do that'.

I want my money back!
 
Wow, did not know that the city lights stuff appears because they were deemed "inappropriate" for BSP! Why didn't Martin just slap Buk on the wrist each time he wrote something "unacceptable". Makes you rethink a lot about that relationship.
 
I was curious whether the "Notes" from High Times were "edited." Looks like "Blocked" which appeared on p. 244 of Septuagenarian Stew from the January '84 issue of High Times was Christian Scientized: "hung over" and "shit" have been changed to "asleep" and "stuff."

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