The People Look Like Flowers At Last (1 Viewer)

Considering that this is the final poetry collection (not including the best-of), how do you think it stands? Does this volume give you closure, any new insights into the man? Or does it all fall apart (scrapping the bottom of the Buk barrel)?
Since I am new to Buk and have only read "Love is a Dog from Hell", "Slouching Toward Nirvana", "Notes/Old Man" and "Lightening" I am wary about this book. Is the end, is death thematically present in this work? Should I save it as the last?
In general how do people, the longtime followers of his prosetry feel about this volume?
 

mjp

Founding member
Since I am new to Buk and have only read "Love is a Dog from Hell", "Slouching Toward Nirvana", "Notes/Old Man" and "Lightening" I am wary about this book. Is the end, is death thematically present in this work? Should I save it as the last?
If you are just starting with Bukowski I think you should ignore all of the posthumous books until you've read everything that was published during his lifetime. The best was not saved for last, and anyone who tells you it was is full of shit.

For me, I think I had to be familiar with the middle and early work - in that order - to really appreciate the later stuff. But that's just me. Everyone has a different opinion. But there are definitely distinct periods in his poetry, and there are fans of each period. To know for yourself you have to sample them all.

You've sampled the late period and had a little taste of the middle period with Love is a Dog From Hell (I would also recommend Dangling in the Tournefortia for prime mid-period work), so you need to read some early stuff. I think that everyone would agree that the best place for that - without spending thousands of dollars on rare old books - is The Roominghouse Madrigals.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
yes, Roominghouse is an essential element in Bukowski's writing career. it's simply one of his best collections of poetry. Speaking of early work...I'd go with Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame because it's got poetry from It Catches My Heart In Its Hands and Crucifix in a Deathhand. ALSO, for other good early work, as far as short stories go, get tales of ordinary madness and most beautiful woman in town.
 
Nothing new to add to this. mjp and HenryChin are right. (and I think that's BEST for you - to not have too many different oppinions in cases of recommendations, bc after Everybody has told you about a different reccommend you wouldn't know Anything, right?)
So: these guys were Right:

1st:
go for the stuff published at his Lifetime.
2nd:
go for some older stuff, just to get a glimpse.
AND THUS:
go for "The Roominghouse Madrigals" and "Burning in Water" - as mentioned before. For the reasons mentioned before.
I just wanted to confirm to help you decide.


Considering what you've read before, you seem to be one of the few guys who Start with poetry.
That's a Good start, if you're in that kind of literature. And it's not easy to recommend one of the prose-works next.
Did you like the 'Notes'? Would you prefer going on with short-stories or novels next?

Before all the others appeare here, with all their different - yet founded - oppinions, I'd recommend: go on! READ! You won't regret! Buk has a great LOT to give! He did a lot of IMMORTAL work - in poetry, in prose. He also did a great lot of crap! (no one here would doubt this) - only not all of us agree in, what IS the crap. So - find out yourself!
But in case you're the poetry-guy: start with these above!

Best,
roni
 
I'd like to thank everyone for their thoughtful suggestions, they're a great help. I'm still plugging through "Notes" and will move on to "Post Office" which fell into my lap last weekend. I'm going to keep my eyes out for "Rooming" and "Drowning" though.
I am enjoying "Notes", what I like about it is the stories (duh!), the ones which are fiction and are not autobiographical. The one about the man with spots really stood out, it's incredible, I thought that I had the man figured out from his poems but he surprises me all the time. I cant wait to try out how he handles a novel.
What is best about Buk is the stories. That's what appealed to me about the poetry, the stories. The amount of heart and insight he can cram into a brief prose poem is beyond... I want to say "words" but they're words, well beyond mine. Having read the poems and the short prose, I feel that the poems (inc. the post-humous collections) do beat "Notes", just because of a consistant level of goodness, while "Notes" I find is very hit (the lucidi plot pieces) or miss (the political rants).
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
speaking of early work, I was reading some stories from the Erections...era and came across The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, Calif. I'd read this story before but I guess it slipped my mind as one of Buk's most creative/shocking earlier pieces. Man oh man, this is really a great short story. The idea of the whole thing is just amazing.

Depending on what kinda of Buk fan you are, I highly recommend this story and other stories from the whole Erections...and General Tales of Ordinary Madness era.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
speaking of early work, I was reading some stories from the Erections...era and came across The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, Calif. I'd read this story before but I guess it slipped my mind as one of Buk's most creative/shocking earlier pieces.

Speaking of shocking stories from Erections...Try read The Fiend...:eek:
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
yeah thats another one of my favorites. how can you be a bukowski fan and not know about that story?

well, I got to thinking. here we are, sitting here, chatting about good earlier poetry and nobody has yet to mention The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills. This is another essential element if you're trying to get in touch with Buk's roots in poetry. It contains lots of really great early poems and a personal favorite of mine, Kaakaa and Other Immolations.

The Days
...is a very great poetry collection to start with Paul.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
The book "Erections, ejaculations, exhibitions and general tales of ordinary madness" is a book of short stories which has now been split into two books, "The most beautiful woman in town" and "Tales of ordinary madness", both of them still in print...
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
yes, and they have his best short stories in them, other than South Of No North, of course.

you can still get erections though. thats next on my list. i want a copy of it more than anything else.
 

ROC

It is what it is
I received this book about a week ago and am slowly making my way through it.
I am really disappointed by the quality of the paper and the trimming of the pages. Ecco has done a really shit job here - not to mention the cover art!
Given that the binding style is the same as "The Flash of Lightening' and "Slouching', I don't see why they had to downgrade their production qualities re paper.

To answer Paul Schemschis' original question, I don't think this is bottom of the barrel stuff. Within the first 10 pages there are some great poems. The quality has dropped towards the middle of the book - poems which were probably written around the time of "Love is a Dog From Hell' and "Women'.
But, as mjp has pointed out previously, you'll end up with all of the books anyway, so don't worry too much about the order you read them in.

Two questions/gripes; why do Ecco state that in the coming years they will be publishing more books of poetry and letters? I thought this was it for poetry. And, why do they show You Kissed Lilly as one of the titles "also available from Ecco"?

Do they just not care about accuracy?
 
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HenryChinaski

Founding member
good questions.

about the You Kissed Lilly one, I asked my friend who designs covers for them if they had it available so I could possibly get one and he said no, that they must've made a mistake when listing it.

as for the other one, about them publishing other collections of poetry, technically The People isnt gonna be the last. Pleasures of the Damned will be out soon enough. I know its just a colllection of previously published stuff but i guess it still counts.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
very true. Also, this may sound like a really stupid question, but maybe you "higher-ups" can help me out. I'm curious, The Bukowski/Purdy Letters. Think they'll ever make this item affordable? I really don't wanna pay an arm and a leg for it but I really want to read those damn letters.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
True! It was my first letter book, thank God, - otherwise I would have been disappointed! I think it's ok, but the three letter books from BSP are much much better...
 
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Pretty Damn Good For A Dead Guy

I was actually VERY impressed with PEOPLE LOOK LIKE FLOWERS. I think it's one of the better posthumous books, probably my favorite since BETTING ON THE MUSE.
The fact that 13 years after his death Bukowski can reach out from the grave and hit me with something "new" amazes me - not to mention the fact that this is the 10th time it's happened - and most of the stuff that's come out since he died is still better than 99% of the poetry being published by living writers anyway.
I was definitely sad to see that this is the last of the "new" Ecco collections scheduled for release, but that doesn't neccesarily mean that it's the last of Buk's unpublished horde.
Unfortunately, though, it does look like I'll finally have to say goodbye to Buk, as I'll no longer have my regular, yearly fix of his work to look forward to.
 

cirerita

Founding member
I was actually VERY impressed with PEOPLE LOOK LIKE FLOWERS. I think it's one of the better posthumous books, probably my favorite since BETTING ON THE MUSE..

somewhere in this forum, I posted that this posthumous is the one with more poems from the 60s, so chances are that the -many- people who claim the "early" Buk is the best one will enjoy this last (???) book.
 
I just started reading The People Look Like Flowers At Last and I was quite disappointed when I came to the poem "Salty Dogs". It's a slight variation of an older poem collected in War All the Time. Look up the poem "Horsemeat - Part VI" from War and compare it to "Salty Dogs". Words have been changed slightly but it's basically the same. I don't mind when Bukowski revisits events in his life and it's okay when he tells many of the same stories multiple times but for some reason this one bothers me a bit. Read the two poems and let me know if this bothers anyone else...
(BTW - if this point has come up before let me know where on the forum because I just joined)
 

mjp

Founding member
Yeah, there are many examples of repeated poems or slightly different versions of poems. Or even the same poem reworked slightly and sent out to different magazines only a few months apart. He got a lot of mileage out of some of them. It would be an interesting project to gather these similar poems together for comparison.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
I am really disappointed by the quality of the paper and the trimming of the pages. Ecco has done a really shit job here - not to mention the cover art!
Given that the binding style is the same as "The Flash of Lightening' and "Slouching', I don't see why they had to downgrade their production qualities re paper.

Jesus, where did they get this crappy paper?
The quality is just so poor.

I think I have better paper in the bathroom.

I guess Black Sparrow spoiled us all.
 
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Picked it up at the book-store, leafed through the couple of poems. It was O.k. untill I got to People as Flowers, and Minute...These two, were just as good, as any of his best work.
 
Recycled Poems

I've noticed a few poems in the posthumus collections that I've recognized from elsewhere. Usually they're at least laid-out a little differently, or else you get a complete poem John Martin originally excerpted between sections, but sometimes they seem like straight reprints.
In particluar, I remember a version of AN EMPIRE OF COINS appearing in BETTING ON THE MUSE.
It would be nice if there were some notes at the end of the newer books explaining how the poems were selected. Maybe that'll happen when Linda starts letting her stash of unpublished Buk out into the world.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
I won't be surprised to see more reviews downgrading Buk's work.
The fact of the matter is, they've milked it for all its worth.
The question we should be asking ourselves, or John Martin for that matter is, should these poems have been published in the first place?

lets face it, the last of the posthumus collections have received shitty reviews.
 
I received this book about a week ago and am slowly making my way through it.
I am really disappointed by the quality of the paper and the trimming of the pages. Ecco has done a really shit job here - not to mention the cover art!

I think the cover art is great. One of the nicest looking Buk books I've seen.
Perhaps this could be a new thread? What do people think is Bukowski's best cover art?
 
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ROC

It is what it is
I think the cover art is great. One of the nicest looking Buk books I've seen.
Perhaps this could be a new thread? What do people think is Bukowski's best cover art?

Are we talking about the same book?
The People Look Like Flowers... right?

:D

Worst cover ever!
comicguypoint.gif
 
M

MULLINAX

GOING MODERN No. 10, ORO MADRE, published by the friggin' RUDDY DUCK PRESS, is the worst ever Bukowski publication.
 
oh, you're in search for some really ugly and/or stupid Bukowski-covers?
Eat this !

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(Ham on Rye - German version)

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(Hot Water Music - german)

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(Shakespeare Never Did This - german)

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(Notes of a Dirty Old Man - german)

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(Post Office - german)

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(Erections... [one part of 4] - german)



and on and on ...
 

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