The Tao of Buk? (1 Viewer)

Madness

Founding member
I started reading "Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way" today and only got through the first poem before I had to hurry to work. The poem was "So You Want To Be A Writer" I've also been turned on to reading the Tao for a bit now and noticed some striking similarities.

I did some searching for anything relating Buk to the Tao and came up short. SO I have some questons. Am I reading into this too much? Was Buk just being himself or was he genuinely trying to express something about writing that he believed?

I find that my writing tends to be better when I'm not forcing it, so the premise seems plausible at the very least. What I wonder is, was he trying to say more than that or just pontificating on a period in his writing? I know that he has written a lot about writer's block but this poem did not seem to have that air of frustration. I'm interested to hear your opinions.

If this has been discussed before please point me to the relevant discussion and if you're going to flame me please make it as dirty and disturbing as possible. ;)

(BTW- if you haven't seen the cover for the hardcover of that book it is sweet!)

0060527358.jpg
 
My brother bought me 'the word, the line, the way....' last Xmas! It's a great posthumous collection. And 'So you want to be a writer' is a succint piece of wisdom for would be poets, writers and musos!

There is a certain similarity with 'So you want to be a writer' and the taoist poets and philosophers. A lot fo Bukowskis short prose poems really od come across as whimisical and wise little riddles...similar, in a very distant manner, to Li Po.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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not just li po, either. his short poems have a very similar sensibility to the ancient chinese poets.
and I find his longer poems remind me a bit of frank o'hara's "i did this, and then this" narrative poetry.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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it's perhaps fitting that buk had a buddah in his writing room (later in life) and tibetan monks conducted his funeral. perhaps predisposed to zen sensibilities? in life and his writing? maybe, maybe not. tenous connections, but nonetheless possible.
 

mjp

Founding member
I believe those were Linda's influences. I doubt he would have cared who chanted over him when he was dead. But what do I know, maybe he got religion and just didn't tell us. ;)
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
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Madness said:
I've also been turned on to reading the Tao for a bit now and noticed some striking similarities.
Sorry, I haven't read the Tao. What aspect of it strikes similarities for you?
On the other hand I've always appreciated Buk's philosophical bent. Like he says in his letters he's read Plato, Kant, Hegel, Schope and all that bunch of guys. Though he criticizes them for "tilting silver water", he HAS read them. My impression is that Buk's mind has been churning churning churning all thru his life and that many of his comments are well thought thru because of this, even thought they seem "off the cuff". So "don't try" doesn't mean "don't think". It means don't write about something you don't have knowledge about.

Funny thing: just yesterday I was reading "Run with the Hunted" (Harper C.) and noticed this part of "the burning of the dream":
[...] it would take decades of​

living and writing

before I would be able to

put down

a sentence that was

anywhere near

what I wanted it to

be
Now here we see Buk admitting that it took years of "writing and living" to get his simple line just right. This sounds like hard, enduring, "trying" work to me. And it makes sense. The technicalities of writing need to be learned (do try). The "don't try" is more linked to the sincerity of the subject matter, that is: the reason for wanting to write in the first place.
Did I get that right?:rolleyes:
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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mjp said:
I believe those were Linda's influences. I doubt he would have cared who chanted over him when he was dead. But what do I know, maybe he got religion and just didn't tell us. ;)
that makes sense. Linda is a Buddhist, isn't she?
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
Founding member
mjp said:
But what do I know, maybe he got religion and just didn't tell us. ;)
Do you mean to say there was something he didn't tell us???:D
 
Don't forget Bukowski read a lot of Nietzsche. I think he had more affinity with Mr N than any other philosophy.

Writing does take years. But Buk does write in an easy way...the only reason it is difficult or impossible to truly imitate (and this goes for any writer) is that 'BUKOWSKI' wrote it.
 

Madness

Founding member
Thanks a lot for your comments everyone!

Erik, the similarities I saw were that the Tao often mentions letting things go their own way without interference.
I guess what surprised me most about this poem is that it does seem to contradict with a lot of Bukowski's other work. He wrote often about having to toil away in order to get things right. He even speaks of destroying his writing and starting fresh.

Of course "don't try" doesn't mean "don't think", that's not really where I was going. The Tao speaks of bending not breaking.

Another similarity was the title of this particular collection. The Tao talks about "The way" or "the way of the Tao". I think it is more about letting go of a mental block in order to make sure that your hard work is not wasted.

This is why I love to read a new Bukowski book, it seems like I get a different side of him almost every time. I guess most of all I was wondering if he was trying to be a dick or was merely philosophizing. I'm thinking it was a little of both. :D
 

reasonknot

Founding member
dont try

just be

dont try to write
just write

wait

its all there. tao was present
one of my great discoveries was buks knowledge of the tao

it cant be denied its not a mockery
its a way

READ THE BOOKS PEOPLE

get of the computer. buy the books at the barnes and noble.
figure that they were not edited to heavily
and read the books again .there are still first editions everywhere by blackspar
 
Perhaps the most Tao like line I've read from Buk was a good poem is like a beershit. It just happens.
Forget the difficulty with moxie references this allusion loses all meaning unless you've drank a tray (or two ) of cheap draft.
 

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