The senseless, tragic rape of Charles Bukowski’s ghost by John Martin’s Black Sparrow Press

The article gives you a list of what to avoid. In short, you might want to pass on these:

Bone Palace Ballet
What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire
Open All Night
The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps
Sifting Through The Madness For The Word, The Line, The Way
The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain
Slouching Toward Nirvana
Come On In!
The People Look Like Flowers At Last
The Continual Condition

Those titles may eventually be repaired and reissued, but for now, they are not so good.
I'd add Hot Water Music to that. John Martin's fantasy of no such thing as alcohol, drug or domestic abuse (may impact sales). Someone posted Buk's original of A Couple Of Gigolos from his article in the free press and, what a change! He wrote about needing to watch Martin more closely but, seemingly, the book still went through. Anyone got any more pictures of his original articles from Notes of a Dirty Old Man?
 
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Waaaaah no. Thank you, gold.

main body of text exactly as it appeared published, editor obviously not Martin. Wow. Click Save.

City Lights, riiiiight. and Buk shitted all over Ferlinghetti with his type.
 

mjp

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I'd add Hot Water Music to that.
The list is related to poetry, not prose.

I understand that a lot of people take issue with what Martin did to the prose too, but (I think) that's a separate issue.
 
Are there any others I should avoid that are not on this list?
What about -The Pleasures of the Damned”?

https://mjpbooks.com/blog/the-sense...is-ghost-by-john-martins-black-sparrow-press/

The dirty dozen posthumous Black Sparrow/Ecco books that should be avoided:
Bone Palace Ballet
What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire
Open All Night
The Night Torn Mad With Footsteps
Sifting Through The Madness For The Word, The Line, The Way
The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain
Slouching Toward Nirvana
Come On In!
The People Look Like Flowers At Last
The Continual Condition
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
The post-death John Martin edited books are nonsense. Go to the checklist/bibliography. Post death books from & including 2010 to now are a safe bet & Portions from a Wine Stained Notebook. How much you may or may not like them are up to you. The On series is a good but I especially like Essential. It just came out in paperback if I'm not mistaken. Currently reading Mathematics and digging it. Oh right. And Pleasures. Is that tampered at all? IDK. I don't think so. If I'm wrong someone around here will know and clarify for me.
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
Free Thought, Vol 2, Issue 1, Summer 2000.

A a complete lie... It makes zero sense... Much like a response our current President would make... The FUCKING magazines are the truth... Not JM's dirty little lies...

IMG_20181205_0001.jpg
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
that's fucked up - the real uneven shit is the shit HE fucked with!

what an a-hole...
 

mjp

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Moderator
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Well, he's painted himself into a corner. When someone says Bukowski's later collections are "uneven," they are criticizing what Martin did (whether they realize it or not). So short of admitting that he is the reason the posthumous books can be seen as "uneven," how else could he answer that question?

That interview was done shortly before he asked me to take the page down from smog.net that had some unflattering poem comparisons and links to a few manuscripts. Really just small potatoes compared to what's out there now. But he had to see that the Internet was going to cause problems for him so he formulated his "Hank rewrote the poems for the books" bullshit, and now he's stuck with it.

It would be interesting to look at any interviews that might have been done with Martin during Bukowski's lifetime and see if he ever mentioned the idea that Bukowski rewrote the poems before they were collected. Bukowski certainly never mentioned it, and I'd bet Martin didn't either. Since it isn't true.
 
We make it our job (here, on this site) to differentiate between the Ecco press shameful editing and his pure work. I am now doing it at 11:10 pm cayman time,..........................
 
I must be more ignorant that I thought. I genuinely believed that when I had a book of his poetry that I was reading his words. Apart from buying/reading books, I know very little else about the industry at all.
I have a digital copy of South of No North there now, by Harper Collins Ebooks. It says Copyright 1973, would these be tampered with too?
Please forgive my ignorance on these matters, the situation is all at once illuminating and devastating.
 
Just read this entire thread. I write poetry and prose and have even published a novella with a small press. I don't believe my words are sacrosanct and can accept changes....if they are run by me first. When my novella was published, the editor only changed it by breaking up the manuscript into chapters. I accepted all the chapter breaks. It improved the work to be honest. But again, she ran it by me first.

I wonder how much Buk approved changes or let Martin have some free reign when publishing collections when he was alive. Maybe for some of the posthumous works changes were approved before his death? But then again, I suppose correspondence would exist attesting to whether or not changes made were ok'd or not. Most of the changes I've seen seem unnecessary and not only diminish the work, but mar the authentic "voice" of Bukowski with unnecessary adjectives and incomprehensible changes (Cézanne becoming Dali for example). Why? Cézanne to Dali may seem insignificant, unless you know that the other artist in that line, Picasso, has a historical relationship with Cézanne completely different than to Dali. Part of the thought process, the associations, the implications of the change, what the use of one artist or another can mean, is affected. So yeah, editors can be a good thing, even if an article or plural or preposition is changed without explicit consent. But what Martin has done here is unacceptable and incomprehensible unless the man just wanted to sanitize things for commercial viability or because he needed to feel he could improve his star writer, to stoke his own ego in order to feel BSP made Bukowski as opposed to Bukowski making BSP...

Just curious, though. Are there any examples of changes you all think actually improve the original? I'm kind of queasy seeing a man's work changed when he can no longer agree or contest the changes as a general rule, and would want to see the work as written, warts and all. General outage (merited) aside, are there any instances where the changes in posthumous editions make for better lines? Or does the fact they don't represent what was written preclude such a possibility, a priori?

I've been away from these forums for a while and this thread has been so thoughtful and lively, it's a real pleasure to be back. Great stuff comrades, and much respect for all of your thoughts on the matter.
 
So, shit, I hadn't listened to the podcast before writing this so clearly, my questions about Bukowski's consent is a bit ignorant. Can't think but that these changes were not at all ok'd but stem from some marketing or other concern. Can't really say why Martin changed things but he did, for the worse, and surely without any consultation with Bukowski prior to his death. So sorry for not listening to the podcast before posting. That said, almost perversely and because its 3:52 and I'm already buzzed, knowing the answer in advance (Hint: no!)...can anyone point to a line that Martin improved....not considering that any change without consent is, um, let's say dastardly?
 
It would be like standing in the middle of the forest that John Martin burned to the ground and marveling at the beauty of the single tree that somehow managed to survive.
haha! Don't mince words and tell us how you really feel :) Yes, I suppose you're right. Just me trying to find a silver lining. Even if only a sliver of silver.

Like I said, I find it both unnecessary and wrong myself. What I didn't say was thank you for bringing it to the world's attention and the work you've done showing specific examples has been really helpful. I was lucky to have read a lot of books by and about CB when I worked at Cornell, and was later gifted Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way, which I found sub par. Now I know why, and it's a relief, if that makes sense. I mentioned I've been away from these forums for a long time so this scandalous news had excaped me 'til now.
 
I think it can be plausibly argued that Like a Dolphin is a far superior, stronger title than Stone Tiger, Frozen Sea. Martin did have his moments of brilliance.
 
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The first collection I read was 'what matters most is how well you walk through the fire' (one of the first books to allegedly be 'edited' a little bit too much) and I still loved the book. The Bukowski tone, attitude and tone had not been butchered out of the writing at all. I came to that book without knowing because in-depth and it totally sucked me in and encouraged me to go on to read him and become engrossed in him. Sometimes the idea of his writing being 'raped' is overstated?

Interestingly, I was one of the readers who noticed some of the early edits, particularly the poem 'the crunch' in the collection which read me to discover more edits etc. The thing is you can read the different versions and the differences are so slight it is hardly worth mentioning. It literally doesn't kill the poem or the tone.

The idea a few edits make something inauthentic is pushing it for me. I do see some of the tone shifts. Some of the edits are too clean but the meat remains. You can't neuter Bukowski out of the poem with a few edits and it does seem it would be hard to distinguish between the edits Bukowski made himself and some of the changes Martin made.

Maybe it does make sense to 'stay away' from the recent collections....I understand the desire to do that...but I can only recall that it was by reading 'What matters most is how well you walk through the fire' that I first met the great spirit of Bukowski's writing, so surely that is evidence that it wasn't tampered with too much? Or that the tampering wasn't actually detrimental.

I suppose we could argue back and forth like Biblical scholars debating the authenticity of Biblical tests. Ultimately, I don't think the edits smother the fire at all.
 
Thanks. That's a lot of work to find.

Take for example 'So you want to be a writer' originally titled 'Do you want to be in the arena?' There are some edits however they don't actually change or destroy the meaning of the poem at all. So there really isn't anything 'wrong' with the edits. Arguably, the title' So you want to be a writer' is better than 'Do you want to be in the arena?'

Even the edits to 'the old anarchist' are tiny and don't change anything at all. They read the exact same. They really are the simple work of an editor. Not the carless butchering of an amateur butcher. The changes don't 'change' the meaning or distort the writing in any significant way. I will read on though....

I just think maybe people are being a bit too precious about the changes. If they were out and out lies then maybe I'd understand the annoyance. I first noticed some of the changes way back in 2006! And although they can be a bit weak or 'too tidy' ultimately they don't jar that much. Like little words here and there, that's just editing, not historical revisionism gone bad, surely? Happy to hear opinions.
 
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zobraks

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There are some edits however they don't actually change or destroy the meaning of the poem at all. So there really isn't anything 'wrong' with the edits.
For me it's not a question of whether JM's "edits" make original poems better or worse (although I strongly belive they turn the original poems into muck): I like Bukowski and I want to read Bukowski, not anyone else (let alone some office supplies manager who thinks he could write better than him).

One word changed in a poem manuscript without the author's consent is one edit too many, no matter whose poetry it is.
I first noticed some of the changes way back in 2006!
And I appreciated it.
 

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
olaf! - oh my god i forgot how exasperating that guy was.

well, if your don't notice or mind the changes that says more about you than the work.
 
It doesn't say that much, does it? That it is OK to edit? Bukowski edited a lot anyway.

I'm not being puritanical? It is OK to edit a work and it still retain the whole of its meaning? Literally changing a verb or a noun here or there, is normal editing. It doesn't corrupt the poem or commit some editorial sin.

I have been reading some of the other edits and they are shit and unnecessary, yet in the end the poem isn't actually mutilated, i.e. the meaning is still retained.

It is a subject that always interested me and only now during lockdown giving it a bit more time. I guess to many of the Bukowski fans on here it can seem like a perversion of the original. And, i get that and in some cases agree. Yet, I don't know, who knows what goes on behind closed doors. All writers have editors etc. Can you really know the extent to which an editor helps? Is it really a cardinal sin to have an editor make some changes?

I don't mean to be a dick. Genuinely. Maybe I am in denial. I don't want to believe all the books published after Bukowski's death are essentially 'duds' - that seems so harsh. I think it is possible to read those duds and still get the full flavour of Buk!

I'm torn. It has been so long since I've been here, sorry to ruffle feathers. I type and think out loud.
 
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