I've linked to the article in the title of this post
(and its companion
) in other threads, but I wanted to have a separate thread here to talk about the issue.
(Also, there is now a podcast that sums the issue up, if you'd rather listen than read.
There are some good comments on those articles, including one very long response from someone who suggests that maybe it would be best to "delete this entire discussion from your blog."
It's curious that a lot of people who disagree with the facts regarding the of mangling of Bukowski's work would prefer that the subject not be discussed at all. I honestly don't understand that.
Side by side poem comparisons and dissection of Bukowski's work habits aside, this is an interesting issue because the most damning evidence isn't mechanical or technical, but literary
. And as such, is open to interpretation.
One group who reads the altered poems next to their manuscript versions believes that they are worse, another claims not to see any difference (or that any difference all falls on Bukowski's shoulders).
To me, as someone who read virtually all of Bukowski's poetry before his death, I know
that the posthumous collections do not have the same spirit and fire that the collections published during his lifetime have. I can point to words and lines and minutia, or I can tell you that for the most part I just feel it in my gut
And I also know that it isn't because it's "second rate" Bukowski work. A reading of the manuscripts (or literary magazines of the 70s and 80s) suggests that yes, Bukowski's work was certainly uneven, but it's quite clear that it was consistently uneven
throughout his career. He didn't become a worse
poet as time went on. He was equally brilliant and shitty from day one.
Anyway, I thought a thread like this would be a good place to let everyone else get a word in edgewise, and try to centralize this scattered discussion.