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

mjp

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Oh, didn't you get the memo?

This forum is sexist, misogynistic and a probable front for the KKK. It's controlled from the shadows by a secretive group of ultra-rich white men (or hundreds of puppet user accounts controlled by a lone megalomaniac - no one can be sure)...Bilderbergs, Illuminati, Vatican - that kind of shit.

So obviously, no girls allowed!
 

mjp

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Can I get a WTF?


a great place (manuscript)

by the way, Moses, sitting here with the
short deck with Kraft Meyerbeer
we saw these Indians climbing over the wall.


a great place, here (the night torn mad with footsteps)

sitting here with my pal
Kraft Meyerbeer
we saw the wetbacks climbing over the wall.


- - -


legs (manuscript)

Houdini was fucked-up by a kid
who punched him in the belly
before he was ready.
he hadn't made his air cushion
yet.
the same thing happened to me
at a party once:
I told this big guy:
"go ahead, hit me in the belly
as hard as you can! I am built of
steel!"


legs (what matters most is how well you walk through the fire)

Houdini was caught off guard
by a kid
who punched him in the belly
before he was ready.
he hadn’t inflated his air vest
yet.
the same thing happened to me
at a party once:
I told this big guy:
“go ahead, hit me in the belly
as hard as you can! I have abs of
steel!”

"abs of steel"? Really? "inflated his air vest"? wtf indeed...
 
Oh, didn't you get the memo?

This forum is sexist, misogynistic and a probable front for the KKK. It's controlled from the shadows by a secretive group of ultra-rich white men (or hundreds of puppet user accounts controlled by a lone megalomaniac - no one can be sure)...Bilderbergs, Illuminati, Vatican - that kind of shit.

So obviously, no girls allowed!
I thought only porn came out of Chatsworth.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
everyone defends john martin, oustide of this forum. the enduring perception problem with the internet is that no matter how much research goes into proving something, no matter how much hard evidence there is, and no matter how obvious a given conclusion is, people will always revert to the standard, "well, it's just some loser sitting in his mother's basement with an axe to grind."
 
The case for us is clearly closed. That find what you love shit is also ridiculous. I've lately concentrated my reading and collecting to mostly pre-1980 and non BSP items. No doubt BSP was invaluable to Buk, but in terms of pure legacy, everything he did for Webb, Malone, and the other small presses would, I think, have stood the test of time, even if you take Jon Martin out of the picture. The longer Hank's gone, the more projecting can be done by people who have no idea of the truth. Which is an almost impossible hill to climb. MJP' s work and efforts in that are incredible and will hopefully continue to educate all who "stumble" into this amazing place.
 

mjp

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some loser sitting in his mother's basement with an axe to grind.
I would say to them, grind this.


THE PRINCESS TINA (manuscript)

we knew it was tourist, of course, but sometimes you go in
anyhow.
It was THE PRINCESS TINA, on the far side of the harbor,
valet parking
then up the ramp, table for four would be thirty minutes,
there was a bar with orchestra and dancing,


- - -


Mother and Princess Tina (open All Night)

we knew it was a tourist trap, of course, but sometimes you go in
anyway.
PRINCESS TINA was performing
on the far side of the harbor,
in a floating restaurant/bar,
valet parking available.
a dinner table for four would be a thirty-minute wait but
meanwhile there was the bar with orchestra and dancing and
(of course) PRINCESS TINA.​


The "Princess Tina" he's referring to was a ship that was converted to a restaurant in the San Pedro harbor. Or, if you're John Martin, it's a singer.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
That "Princess Tina" bit clearly shows it's been edited and changed by somebody who did´nt know "Princess Tina" was a ship converted to a restaurant in the San Pedro harbor like Bukowski obviously did.
It's a crying shame hundreds, if not thousands, of Bukowski's poems were edited and changed just like this one was. What an unnecessary loss!
 
That "Princess Tina" bit clearly shows it's been edited and changed by somebody who did´nt know "Princess Tina" was a ship...
I don't think that Martin didn't know 'Princess Tina' was a ship.
He just didn't care too much about Bukowski's poem and rather constructed his own version, which he thought is better.

Is the manuscript of The Princess Tina dated?
 
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This really angers me. The more examples I see, the more it affects me in a real bad way as a fan of the man's work that must stand on its own against anyone's not to mention all of Martin's disrespectful, misunderstood views and takes. Has anyone once in this world said to him what he deserves, like "Fuck you John Martin, you're a disgrace." Hope at least once he met with such honest but much deserved opinion stuck into his face. For God's sake, really, what the fuck he was thinking?! Trying to expand the number of readers to sell more? That he was serving good by committing himself to all this shameful censorship, scribblings of additions and deletions, in order to make it more Academic?!
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
That is amazing, isn't it? Buk was so prolific Martin didn't have to even edit as a (normal) editor might. He could have just left all the post death work as manuscripts, acknowlge it as such and be proud. Apparently not. Martin...what a dick.
 

mjp

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Hope at least once he met with such honest but much deserved opinion stuck into his face.
Well, he's no longer editing the new releases. What does that tell you?

And yes, he has been asked about the "editing." He dismisses the question.

But what else can he do or say? He knows what he did. But like any criminal worth his salt, he will deny any guilt right up to the bitter end. Because that's what criminals do.

I do believe that A) he thinks he improved the poems by dumbing them down and "cleaning them up," (removing references to drinking, drugs, madness and changing the intent of many of the poems) and B) when he started his attack on the poetry the Internet was in its infancy, and he couldn't have known that the horror of something like bukowski.net was looming on the horizon. But here we are.

If you accept A above, you can understand his motives. Understanding is one thing though, excusing is another altogether. The problem with his defenders is they excuse anything he's done (when they bother to look), and just ramble on about what a great guy he is. As if that makes everything square.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
A new editor! F'n A, the guy that did King of the Underground. Nice. My first venture into Buk's work was Barfly the movie and eventually his post death works. Never again. Imagine my surprise when I discovered his pre death work and this haven here. Keep up the good work mjp. I can't say that enough.
 
There are distinct weaknesses on both sides of the coin (and the coin's sides are all too human, I'm afraid). Martin wanted Buk on the reading lists of schools & colleges and so he 'airbrushed the cock & balls off of the Christ child' as Buk may have put it. Anyway, I sent Martin a letter years ago about this very issue. He didn't deny it. For the sake of his work, Buk should've stayed in small press mag's - his integrity and work may have been preserved better, but his devoted audience would have remained small and there may have been a situation where could have slipped into obscurity, in the way Fante almost did. I understand why he wanted to get himself out there to an international audience and break out of the P.O., write full-time, etc. For his own sake, I think Martin gave Buk a better belief in himself and his talents, he gave him more confidence with his abilities. If it wasn't for Black Sparrow, and its global distribution, I probably would have never discovered the Buk. Small press just doesn't have that global reach that larger publishers have with their distribution. Going with Martin enabled Buk to make a decent living off of his writing. He never would have made a living, in the way he did, had he remained solely with the small presses.
 
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I didn't know BSP had global distribution. I thought Buk sold foreign rights to publishers specific to each country that purchased them.
Was that through Martin or did all foreign rights belong to Hank?
 
There are distinct weaknesses on both sides of the coin (and the coin's sides are all too human, I'm afraid). Martin wanted Buk on the reading lists of schools & colleges and so he 'airbrushed the cock & balls off of the Christ child' as Buk may have put it.
Actually, it may have been Lenny Bruce who said "airbrushed the cock and balls off the Christ child," but CB could have said it as well. And I agree with everything you've said here. It was a trade-off. A tough call. A longshot for broke players, as Buk did in fact say.
That is amazing, isn't it? Buk was so prolific Martin didn't have to even edit as a (normal) editor might. He could have just left all the post death work as manuscripts, acknowlge it as such and be proud. Apparently not. Martin...what a dick.
It IS disturbing that JM evidently DID edit the posthumous works. I mean, at that point, there would have been no rationale, and further, Buk was no longer in any position to protest. That's a tough pill to swallow.
 

mjp

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Martin wanted Buk on the reading lists of schools & colleges and so he 'airbrushed the cock & balls off of the Christ child' as Buk may have put it.
You're missing the point. There was no "airbrushing" when Bukowski was alive. The books published while he was alive (the ones that made him famous, incidentally) are relatively untouched. If Martin's goal was as you suggest, how do you explain that?

Had Martin sent Bukowski a galley proof like What Matters Most when Bukowski was alive, he would have never been allowed to make those changes. We know that because we know Bukowski's (negative) reaction to the first published version of Women. And the changes in Women are tame in comparison to what has been done in the posthumous poetry collections.

The idea that neutering and destroying half of Bukowski's work is what made him "acceptable" to academia is ridiculous because he still isn't "acceptable" to academia. And his distaste with Martin's changes to Women make it pretty clear that impressing or pandering to idiots wasn't high on Bukowski's list of things to accomplish.

While we're at it, maybe we should put an end to the "without Black Sparrow Bukowski wouldn't have become known" myth. When you perpetuate that idea you are suggesting that no one but Martin - or some other small press - would have ever tried to publish Bukowski, and no one can say that for certain. We don't know what could have happened, because Bukowski was loyal to Martin. But the idea that was only Martin who saw anything in Bukowski is also pretty ridiculous.

And finally, Black Sparrow was the small press. Look at the publication numbers. The big presses discard (or give away) more copies than Martin printed for first editions.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
i don't think you need to argue that martin "made" bukowski to acknowledge that martin's work at BSP is a tremendous contribution to literature and culture. and not just with buk - it's a secondary feather in his cap, but martin put together probably the best collections of ex-pat literature from northern africa, and via paul bowles he gave voices to a lot of people that may not have had a platform without him. (big asterisk here that paul bowles wasn't exactly on the up and up, and that there's a thread of exploitation that runs through a lot of his "finds.") like we say about complicated artists (celine, or even bukowski the wife-kicker come to mind), you have to separate the man from the work. now, this is a little different, since martin's shortcomings come through in the work. still, what he did at the end doesn't discredit or invalidate what he did before, and whether or not buk would have become famous doesn't really matter at that point. the truth is that martin DID publish the books, and he published them his way, in beautiful editions whose design has stood the test of time. (also, i'm impressed at how he was able to play with big bookstores like B&N and Borders as they began to take off and displace independents.) i'm going a little long here, but the point is that you can hate the crime that he committed against the later works while still revering the work he did up until that point; on the flipside, you don't need to apologize for the crime by mythologizing what he did do while buk was still alive.
 

mjp

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what he did at the end doesn't discredit or invalidate what he did before...
It doesn't?

What he's done to Bukowski's work casts a pall over everything at Black Sparrow, because, really - how can you trust anything he ever did?

When you see the scope of the destruction where Bukowski is concerned - and count yourself lucky if you haven't - you can't just dismiss it. You can't just say, "Well, that was that, but you know, before that he was great." What he did after Bukowski died speaks to his (lack of) integrity and his personality. It speaks to what kind of man he is.

And I beg to differ that it happened "at the end." It started with Women in 1978, when Black Sparrow had only been around for 12 years. And after Bukowski died - 16 years later - it went on for another 14 years. Three decades after Women. And it would likely still be happening if Linda Bukowski hadn't pulled the rug out from under him.

Maybe all of that doesn't make you question everything from the press. Maybe every other book he ever published was not the victim of his idiot pen. Only Bukowski's poetry. I don't know. You'd have to ask the 50 people who bought the non-Bukowski Black Sparrow books.

The fact is, without Bukowski, there is no Black Sparrow press as we know it. And just look at the way Martin chose to repay that debt.

What a man. What a great man.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
yeah, but this isn't a marvel movie with heroes and villains. i never said he was a great man, but i don't agree that what he did invalidates the rest of what he accomplished any more than celine being an anti-semite invalidates journey ot the end of the night. i guess we disagree there, but my point is that the books are now part of our shared literary history. it's certainly worth studying whether he pulled the same shenanigans on other authors, but i don't need martin to be a saintly man in order to remain interested in the books that black sparrow press published.

if you're really so down on ALL black sparrow books, it's time for you to trade your signed/numbered copy of war all the time to me. RIGHT?????

EDIT: actually, don't worry about it... i don't want the book on my shelf, since it will always remind me of how far you're willing to go to prove a point!
 
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I didn't know BSP had global distribution. I thought Buk sold foreign rights to publishers specific to each country that purchased them. Was that through Martin or did all foreign rights belong to Hank?
That's a good question. I'm not sure what distribution rights he had over his own work. That would now be in the hands of the estate, I imagine.
You're missing the point.
I wrote Martin the letter well after Buk had passed away. This would have been in the late 90s early 00s, while I had been listening and comparing Buk's spoken word poems (the earlier recordings) while reading the written word (as cited in Black Sparrow) and I became curious as to why there were differences.

'mjp' - Academia are divided about him. One of his earliest supporters (a gifted, prolific writer and an academic and somebody who I'd love to know more about) was John William Corrington - who did a lot to promote Buk well before he became famous (I think as far back as '62). Carl Weissner mentions him briefly in 'Born Into This' and describes Corrington's uncanny prediction of how in 40 years time Bukowski will become a very famous writer and that his poetry will be read by many.

I'm not saying for certain that, without Black Sparrow, Buk wouldn't have been known by a larger audience. I'm basing my point on the fact that the first book I found of his in Australia, was a book published by Black Sparrow. And nothing more. So the distribution was good because I found more of him soon after. Martin was sharp enough to know that here was a gifted writer who wasn't being picked up by bigger publishers, which he should've been. It was a timely approach for the both of them! Martin wanted to start up his own publishing house, Buk wanted out of East Hollywood.

Small presses run on chicken feed, 'mjp', Black Sparrow started on $50,000 (early 1970s - what would the value of that be in today's money?). You tell me if that's small?
i don't think you need to argue that martin "made" bukowski to acknowledge that martin's work at BSP is a tremendous contribution to literature and culture.
You've got some good points, Jordan.

'mjp' what is your problem with 'Black Sparrow'? Are you a writer? Did you get rejected by them or something?
 
I think it was Bukowski that put BSP on the map, and none of the viceversas some have suggested here. I never found another bsp book I thought was worth buying, but maybe one of the 50 that bought them could suggest some titles to convince me ?
It is clear to me that when bsp's book-cowski died, JM resorted to his editing to keep milking...
 

zobraks

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when bsp's book-cowski died, JM resorted to his editing to keep milking...
He could have kept "milking" without resorting to "editing" Buk's poetry, milking (I believe) was not the reason.
'mjp' ... Are you a writer?
Does a bear shit in the woods?
You haven't read too many of his posts (and this forum in general), have you?
Well, you should. I recommend the forum fauna series. :DD
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
 
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mjp

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'mjp' what is your problem with 'Black Sparrow'?
'BukFan Brad,' if you're reading this thread and don't know what my 'problem' is with 'Black Sparrow,' then I don't 'know' what to 'tell' you.

I do appreciate your 'expertise' though. All the 'insight' you bring to the conversation. You 'wrote' a 'letter' to 'John Martin,' so you have all the 'answers.' Thanks.
 
'mjp' what is your problem with 'Black Sparrow'? Are you a writer? Did you get rejected by them or something?
Now finally I understand what your real problem is, mjp. It has nothing to do with edited or deleted or raped poetry from Bukowski, no, it's just that YOUR poetry has been rejected by John Martin. Continuously, I suppose.
All of your dumb and boring threads, which we've been bravely reading for years, are nothing but a fucking aftermath of a lengthy rejection slip!

Thank you, Brad.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
This issue is only controversial if you think:

1) it's okay for an art dealer to add brushstrokes to a Picasso (because he's the one selling it), or
2) totally okay for a Medici to take a hammer to David, maybe because you can see his wang, (and by virtue of being Michelangelo's patron, are somehow are entitled to).

An artist's work is theirs alone...in all its glory and imperfection. Changes, IF ANY, should be made by the creator without prompting...or, in the worst case scenario, agreed upon collaboratively. There may well be some grey area in terms of collaborative teamwork...but, in my mind anyways, there ain't much. To mangle something without consent -- regardless of 'intent' -- just ain't right.

There is compelling evidence demonstrating that the work has been changed -- and at a time when it was physically impossible for Bukowski to have consented...as he was a corpse. That much is, to my eyes, beyond debate.

And, as such, there are not additional issues (the good vs. the evil BSP wrought) that muddy that picture for me. I am glad BSP published Bukowski books. And I wish they would've simply KEPT PUBLISHING BUKOWSKI BOOKS, instead of these neutered Bukowski-like books they put out after he died.
 
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