Thoughts on Editions and Editors (1 Viewer)

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Just received my HB of Portions and I did notice that there's nothing to indicate "First Edition" or "limited to 1000 copies" but... I'll keep the whining to a minimum! ;)
 
Portions

The book is a regular trade publication with an initial printing of 1,000 hardcover copies.
Hence, no limitation/colophon notation.
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
Founding member
I did notice that there's nothing to indicate "First Edition" or "limited to 1000 copies" but... I'll keep the whining to a minimum! ;)

I thought the same. would of been nice. but, ah well. only in a perfect world...

The book is a regular trade publication with an initial printing of 1,000 hardcover copies.
Hence, no limitation/colophon notation.

really? I understood that this was a Limited edition with only 1000 printed. and while on the subject, could someone tell me what is the difference in a first edition with multible printings and a second (3rd,4th,ect.) edition?
 
Portions...

Editions have revisions/changes from the previous edition. Printings are the number of times a publisher has gone back to press for more copies of the same edition. Independent publishers tend to do small initial print runs for economic reasons, so when one of their books sells well they could end up doing multiple printings of the first edition. If there are corrections to text or other changes made between any printings that becomes a new edition from the publisher and the number of printings start over for that edition,e.g., second edition and first printing. And so on and on...

If you are Bob Woodward and S&S is publishing your latest book which is due out today, it's first edition may have a first print run of 10,000,000 copies. Just imagine that for yourself! ;)
The down side is that first edition will never become a collectible in our lifetime, but somehow I don't think Woodward cares.

I do think CLB missed an opportunity for a fine limited edition. Perhaps for the next volume, and Garrett Caples said they are doing volume II, they could get John Martin to do an interesting brief introduction or commentary and have him sign a limited edition of the book. Maybe 250 copies or more at a premium list price with a reduced price for prepublication orders paid for in advance. ARE YOU LISTENING GARRETT? :D

Garrett, you do understand I am offering this expert marketing consultation gratis?
Any of those ARCs still available?
Huh?
 
I suppose I should have also mentioned revised printings/editions. On one occasion Buk did not like the editorial changes John Martin made in one of his books, so JM changed the text back to what Buk had originally written for the next printing. That changed printing became a revised printing. There is more to the story, but this serves as an example of a revised printing/edition.

Rekrab, I feel so much better now. Thanks for the encouraging tale.


(I wonder if David pulls the wings off flies and then let's 'em go.)
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Hi,
I have seen sellers call much later printings first editions. While they are technically correct, I guess, a 1st edition, 23rd printing that was 20 years after the original press run is NOT collectable as a first. Still I see people listing them that way.

This question is for Planahea as he is an expert (although anyone can jump in and answer). If the true 1st/1st of BSP editions have a colophon page and the next printing does not, does this qualify as a change to the edition? In other words, if they changed the text by removing the colophon, how can the next printing still be considered a 1st/2nd? It should be a second edition. The same with the color page for the true first. If they change the color of the title page, does this count? What about the "also by Charles Bukowski" page?

It really bugs me when I see a copy of Burning in Water (1974) that is a 2000 HB printing referred to as a first edition. 26 years and 20 printings does not seem to make a first edition. Some sellers will say 1st edition/20th printing, which I think is silly. Others will just call it a first edition.

Thanks,
Bill

p.s. Sorry, but I may have taken us off-topic.
 
Hi Bill,

Yes, it is technically correct to refer to a 20th printing as a first edition if the original edition has not been altered in any consequential manner and the original publisher is releasing that printing. Otherwise, it's a reprint if another publisher releases it. I would personally never consider any such modern book as a collectible item, but I'm picky. If you noticed on my book collection inventory, I have both edition and printing noted for all hardcover and paperback trade books. I hated it when I had to acknowledge on the inventory that a particular trade paperback was an 8th printing and I still may just give it away to someone. Second printings and beyond, like too much salt, spoil the soup. Virtually all true limited editions speak for themselves as to edition with a limitation or colophon page or at least they should. As a publisher, you already know there is no codifying of the edition/printing practices. It is mostly based on tradition and a supposed convention. It would be nice if there were only one standard that all publishers followed. I still chuckle to this day over an old limited edition I have that is noted as a "Salesmans' Specimen Copy" instead of "Presentation Copy." Do you think the sales copy is worth more? ;)

The color title pages of BSP books are entirely idiosyncratic with John Martin and do not effect the textual content of the edition any more than changing a sepia tone photograph to monochrome, as some publishers do to save money, changes the edition. Again, as there is no agreed upon standard in the industry, I suppose there are some old curmudgeons who might argue otherwise. Those colored title pages sure make it easier on we collectors. So I'm grateful to JM for that bit of imaginative book making.

Now for that tricky question re BSP colophon pages. (Watch out for slippery obfuscation here!) :p Does the colophon page constitute a component part of the book just as a dust jacket does? If the answer is yes, then the edition has been changed. If the answer is no, the edition is unchanged and the above rationale re colored title pages and photographs applies. Please recall that JM removed his editorial changes to a Buk book, thereby restoring Buks original words, but the copyright page of that edition or printing, your choice, now merely states "revised printing" not 2nd printing or 2nd edition. So we are back to that lack of accepted industry standards problem once again. My personal opinion is that a colophon page is a component part of the book and when it is removed it changes the edition. When my turn comes to remake the world, I will make that a publishing law. Until then, don't you just love the wide spread confusion and strong individuality expressed in our industry, even when it pisses you off?

As to what really bugs you re Burning in Water, the answer is in the opening sentence of your post. It is technically correct.

What really bugs me is when David R. Godine, Publisher "reprints" an old BSP title and because the text is unchanged it is referred to as a 1st edition. That damn lack of standards once again biting the posterior.

Whew, that's it for now. If you didn't produce such beautiful books I would not have taken this much time. American publishing needs more like you!

Kindest regards,

Bill


P.S. Now I will take an afternoon nap after my overlong answer to your off
off topic question.
How many members do you think we bored? :rolleyes:
 

mjp

Founding member
On one occasion Buk did not like the editorial changes John Martin made in one of his books, so JM changed the text back to what Buk had originally written for the next printing. There is more to the story...
Well, you are referring to Women, of course, and we have noted a lot of the changes in other threads here. But if there is "more to the story" than we know, I am going to have to twist your arm to come out with it!
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I wouldn't call removing a colophon a new edition -- only a significant textual change or the addition / deletion of an intro -- that sort of thing. A colophon is, to me anyway, like a dj blurb or the stuff on the copyright page -- minor details of publication that aren't a part of the author's text. The same text from a new publisher I would call a new edition. But that's just my thinking.
 
mjp, stop guessing. :p

Besides, what are the editorial bona fides of those critics of others editing?
Do they have real book editing knowledge and experiences from publishers of consequence?
Fault finding is anyone's craft!
 

mjp

Founding member
I guess it depends on how you define "editing."

I am the most vocal critic of Martin's heavy hand around here, and unapologetically so. His changes to Women were ham-fisted creative writing 101 bullshit. As I read the first edition after having read Bukowski's version a few times, Martin's changes stood out like dozens of sore thumbs. You don't have to go to Krumhansl to get the page numbers of the changes, you can smell them (besides, AK missed some in his list).

And since we're on the subject, I think he ought to be horse whipped for his changes to The Crunch (I don't care how old he is), and who knows how many other hundreds of Bukowski poems he "improved" by ripping the balls off of them and substituting his tea-party sappiness.

Anyway, I changed my mind. I don't need to hear any "inside" story regarding Women, unless it came from Bukowski. Martin has had many years to hone and justify his asinine changes, and I'm sure he comes out smelling like a rose if he ever has to discuss it (which I'm equally sure he avoids whenever possible).


Not that I have a strong opinion on it or anything...


I don't diminish Martin's accomplishments. I believe I have praised him just as much as I have taken issue with him. But I will not be standing in line to bestow sainthood on him.
 

cirerita

Founding member
We all know that Martin edited B's fiction for the worse, but no one knows for sure who made the changes to B's poetry. As I said in some other thread, B. complained about Martin changes re. his fiction, but I've never read a single complaint about Martin changing his poems, and that should tell us something.
 

mjp

Founding member
I unexpectedly received a copy of the trade softcover of Portions today (thanks again Garrett), and ironically, packed in a mere padded envelope, it arrived in pristine condition.

The hardcover I paid for on the other hand, arrived in a bag the size of a football, most of the packing being bubble wrap. But for some inexplicable reason the bubble wrap was only sealed on three sides, so the book, naturally, partially slipped out during shipping. The end that slipped out did not fare well.

But what the hell. It didn't ruin my day, but it was areal head-scratcher. One more piece of tape folks.

...I've never read a single complaint about Martin changing his poems...
Here's one: Compare the three versions of the crunch. Tell me if you honestly believe that Bukowski is responsible for all of the language in the last one.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
Has anyone ever known someone who won a pissing contest? :D

billy flannery. he was magnificent. got a bit on his shoes, but he didn't care. pissed into a beer bottle at 50 yards. jesus, it was beautiful.

died in a port-a-potty a few years ago on a job site. it was hit by a wrecking ball.

how's that for irony.
 

cirerita

Founding member
mjp said:
Here's one: Compare the three versions of the crunch. Tell me if you honestly believe that Bukowski is responsible for all of the language in the last one.


I'm not sure, it could be B. having fun, who knows?

When I said that I haven't read a single complaint about Martin changing his poems, I obviously meant by Bukowski, not by us readers. I've read hundreds and hundreds of unpublished Bukowski letters, and Bukowski never complains about Martin changes when it comes to his poetry, while he does complain a lot about the changes made to his fiction.
 

mjp

Founding member
Has anyone ever known someone who won a pissing contest?
Yeah, me.

Actually, it's a funny story -- I could sense that I was about to lose the contest, I could just feel it, you know? So with my free hand I reached back and pulled an Italian switchblade out of my pocket, hit the button and stabbed the other fucker hard in the small of the back. I was aiming for a kidney but I think I was too close to the spine so all I got was maybe a corner of the pancreas at best. It was enough though, because he quit right there on the spot (you couldn't really blame him).

So there. Now you can say you know someone who won a pissing contest.

I'm not sure, it could be B. having fun...
Sure.

Maybe just for fun he used a lot of completely uncharacteristic language to alter many of his decades old, established, heartfelt works.

Then he marked the new manuscripts with big gold stars and set them aside in a shoebox in the attic and said, "I had nothing better to do, so I spent the last few months really improving these! But don't publish them until I've been buried for several years!"

Yep, that's probably what happened. How stupid of me to think otherwise.
 

cirerita

Founding member
Well, what can I say? If you think Martin is responsible for the changes in poetry as well, that's certainly up to you. I'm just saying that I wouldn't be so sure, and I'm also saying that Bukowski never complained about Martin changing his poetry. Maybe that's not important in your equation, but it is in mine.

Bukowski made fun of his own style (and style in general) in many poems, though I don't think he was actually having fun in "The Crunch (2)". It reads to me like an early or discarded draft or something.

Yes, an early draft. Bukowski did revise. He didn't spend a lifetime over a ten liner, but he did revise much more than what's commonly held. If you ever take a look at the old MSS, you'll see what I mean.

But maybe it's not a discarded draft, and someone did change the original poem as it appeared in The Second Coming to make it, huh, sappier. And that is indeed stupid.

In any case, I think it's quite obvious that B. revised this poem more than once. What about the version which appears in Love Is a Dog from Hell, with the "new" hopeful ending? Was that also Martin's hand? In my opinion, Bukowski wrote the 3 versions (or a single version with several changes), and Martin could have changed a word here and there in the TWO book versions.
 
Opinions

I love opinions they are such wonderful things, and the most wonderful thing of all about opinions is they require no knowledge whatsoever. They are merely someones opinion. ;)
 
I have to admit that I have had a shit-eaten grin on my face for most of the evening; having read this interchange from some of Buk.net's finest. Keep it up. We love the dialogue.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Please don't eat shit and please don't smile when you eat it.

Someone needs to make a smilies (to the right) to be a shit eating grin.
 

cirerita

Founding member
I love opinions they are such wonderful things, and the most wonderful thing of all about opinions is they require no knowledge whatsoever. They are merely someones opinion. ;)

Well, I guess you've noticed there are some opinionated characters on this board, haven't you?
 
In My Humble Opinion

cirerita, I too was once arrogant and abrasive in my opinions, but I have since risen far above that character defect. :rolleyes:

(psst, hey Gerard, is the above smart ass comment enough for you? Or should I try even harder? ;) )

(Purple Stickpin, you are right this is far too much fun to let it go. Join in!)
 

mjp

Founding member
Well, what can I say? If you think Martin is responsible for the changes in poetry as well, that's certainly up to you.
If I didn't know any better I would say you were dismissing my opinion as cute but irrelevant.

Abel, I believe that your research into Bukowski's work is unprecedented, and I respect you greatly for that. When all is said and done I believe we will see your name up there with Dorbin, Cooney, Fogel and Krumhansl as one of the people who really worked hard to shed light on Bukowski's work. In fact, knowing a bit of what you have up your sleeve there, I feel quite certain that your work will eclipse those others in the end.

But with all due respect to that research, as a poet whose native language is English, I believe that my opinion on the subtle nuances of his work are valid.

I think you would agree that we have concrete evidence of a very free hand by Martin in the first edition of Women. So when I say that I suspect that changes were sometimes made to the poems by someone other than Bukowski, I am not pulling a wild guess out of my ass. My suspicions are based on the style of changes made to Women.

Martin's changes to the first edition of Women are glaringly obvious. His language is identifiable. I invite anyone to sit down with the first edition and read it. As you get to a word or sentence that just doesn't sound right, find the passage in a subsequent edition and you'll see the words and phrases that just don't seem to fit were inserted by Martin. Every time. Understandably this may only be apparent or obvious to a native English speaking person, since these are linguistic subtleties we are dealing with.

So when I see things like "in the thrall of a senseless moon," or "streets of pain" substituted for "streets of blood," in the crunch (2) it does not ring true to me. And this:

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock


is absolute poetic perfection. While this:

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
a clock's hands.


is downright clumsy. How many of you poets out there would make that change?

It is impossible to say that Bukowski never complained about changes to poems because we haven't read every letter that he ever wrote, or sat in the room for every conversation he ever had. Only two people know the extent of Martin's changes to any of Bukowski's work, and the only one of them I would trust to tell me the unvarnished truth is dead.

If you think Bukowski's work is important, then making an issue of seemingly incongruous alterations is valid. That is what I am doing, and will continue to do, even though I know that a definitive answer is unlikely.

Wait, let me take that back - the definitive answer is almost certainly contained in Martin/BSP's archives. You can see Jon Webb's changes to Bukowski poems written on the manuscripts, and I believe you would find similar kinds of clues in Martin/BSP archives. But who knows if they still exist, or if we will ever have access to them.
 

cirerita

Founding member
Good thing you know better, and thanks for the nice words re. my research. I know you're not usually publicly lavish with your praise, so I guess you really meant that.
And since we're no longer trapped in "cute" territory, I might be able to offer a coherent reply. As a non-native English speaking person, that "cute" territory sometimes is simply beyond me.

-Everybody knows Martin changed Women for the worse. Martin was the first one to acknowledge that and he righted that wrong when the second edition came out, and alsowhen he published the Bukowski letters where B. said as much. He could have not published those letters, but he did. That should tell us something. Where are the letters where B. complained about changes to poems? I have probably read 85% of all the letters B. ever wrote and I haven't seen a single mention in that sense. Again, that should tell us something.

-You said that Martin changed Women and then you quoted a poem to prove your point, but you're simply extrapolating your conclusions from the one fact everybody knows: Martin did fuck up Women. Ok. So far so good. But where are the facts to support your idea that the poem was also changed by Martin? I don't need to be a native to feel those nuances you mentioned. The second version sucks big time because the rhythm is gone. Ok. But there's no evidence at all that Martin changed those lines. There's a great danger when one says that, because the underlying assumption is that Bukowski couldn't have written such a bad line and that it had to be someone else's doing. Well, do you want me to quote here a few dozen poems with very bad lines by Bukowski? No need, right? B. wrote an awful lot of shitty poems, we all know that.

-I'm not saying that Martin didn't change that poem, I'm just saying that I don't know who did it, and that it could have been Bukowski's doing. I've learnt quite a few things while doing my research on Bukowski, but I think that the most important ones (bibliographically speaking) are NOT to extrapolate things and NOT to take anything for granted. Anyfuckingthing. Believe me.

-Bukowski complained about Martin changing Women and Post Office (yes, he did). He even told some people to read the stories which appeared in Adam as they were the raw versions which Martin then "polished" for book publication. Martin never hid that, why should he hide the fact that he also changed B's poetry? It does not make sense to me. In Jules Smith book, Martin is quoted as saying that it was Bukowski himself who changed his poems for book publication. I've read quite a few unpublished letters -especially to Corrington- where he acknowledges as much: many rejected poems were reworked by Bukowski and submitted again for publication. Bukowski revised much more than what he claimed, and many early MSS confirm that.

-I guess we're never going to agree on this one -not that we have to- but I'm sticking to my guns and, to partially quote Bukowski here, I'll give you $5 for each instance that you find where Bukowski complains about Martin changing his poetry. Get rich, babe ;)

Take a look at the poem I posted here:
It's All a Matter of Entertainment - 1975 poem with MANY revisions

And compare it with the version which you have online in the MSS section. Who made the changes? Martin? Uncle Howard?

Bukowski crossed out a lot of lines here, and Martin (or Bukowski) could have easily "restored" them for book publication, though this poem was never published.

See below another example of a bad poem with a lot of discarded lines. I'm uploading the last page of the poem only. This was written in 1964, when Bukowski was at "his lyrical best", blah, blah, blah. The poem was originally titled "The Man with the Dirty Shirt" and then "The Death of the Poetry Writing Machine" and Bukowski used another title in his correspondence -to Corrington?- saying he had submitted it to Evergreen Review. The poem was never published. No wonder, really. It's a bad poem. Try to read the crossed out lines as well. As with the other poem, someone could have used the discarded lines and then you would have 2 or 3 versions of the very same poem.

00643.jpg
 

mjp

Founding member
...thanks for the nice words re. my research. I know you're not usually publicly lavish with your praise, so I guess you really meant that.
I did and I do.

the underlying assumption is that Bukowski couldn't have written such a bad line and that it had to be someone else's doing.
The changes between the Second Coming version and the Love is a Dog From Hell version are completely believable and reasonable Bukowski changes. But then, after he has been conveniently dead for five years, we get the crunch (2). But the crunch (2) has some problems that can only be explained by the assumption of tampering (or I suppose they could be seen as proof of it, if you were so inclined).

But even if we assume that Martin never altered any of the poetry, which I am willing to do from here on out, what are we left to believe? That Bukowski rewrote the crunch, which he had already "polished" for Love is a Dog From Hell? Aside from the fact that parts of it were made worse rather than better in the crunch (2), it defies logic that he would rewrite the poem after BSP publication (for use in another BSP publication).

Anyway, even if we view Martin as an objective, transparent vessel through which Bukowski's work flowed, the troublesome fact remains that someone ruined that poem, and if it wasn't someone at BSP, then the only suspect remaining is Bukowski himself. If that is the case, I would like to see someone come up with other examples of poems he "polished" much of the quality out of. That will make a believer out of me.

I've learnt quite a few things while doing my research on Bukowski, but I think that the most important ones (bibliographically speaking) are NOT to extrapolate things and NOT to take anything for granted. Anyfuckingthing. Believe me.
I agree with that completely. A bibliography should be factual, and where facts are not present, assumptions should not be made.

But many times, outside of the creation of factual documents or lists, it is reasonable - even necessary - to make assumptions, because facts cannot be found or no longer exist.

If we only accept known, provable facts about Bukowski and his life, three-quarters of his persona - literary and personal - falls away, and we see that much of what was considered autobiographical is not so at all. But people don't want that Bukowski. They want the Bukowski of legend and assumption.

I just want to read the words.

And your bibliography, of course.
 

cirerita

Founding member
But even if we assume that Martin never altered any of the poetry, which I am willing to do from here on out, what are we left to believe? That Bukowski rewrote the crunch, which he had already "polished" for Love is a Dog From Hell?

Or that Martin used an early, discarded draft. Take a look at the two poems I mentioned in my previous post. If you use the discarded/crossed-out lines, then you would have a "new" (poorer) version of that poem. Is that "editing" a poem?

Quite possibly, Bukowski rewrote that poem for book publication -the Love Is a Dog from Hell version seems truly "bukowskian" to you- and that means that Martin probably had the early (revised) version [Second Coming one] and the reworked (and also revised) version [Love Is a Dog from Hell one]. He could have used any of the discarded versions or blend them somehow and come up with "the crunch (2)".

Anyway, even if we view Martin as an objective, transparent vessel through which Bukowski's work flowed...
That's certainly not my view.

But people don't want that Bukowski. They want the Bukowski of legend and assumption.
In that case, they should read Uncle Howard's book.
 
Bukowski's Posthumous Publications

Hi, to All of you Fine Folks! I really wasn't sure about creating a new thread for this, but it seems to fit well enough here. I wonder if alot of editing was done to Bukowski's postumous writings. It dosn't SEEM so. I mean, I've read a good ammount of the works contained in 'Sifting Through The Madness...', 'The People Look Like Flowers...'; and the uncollected works in ,'The Pleasures Of The Damned'. & they read like Bukowski to me. Martin is listed as editor in 'Sifting...' but no editor is listed in the other two, (& yes, I could be missing it somehow). So, any-hoo, anybody out there care to help me expand my thoughts in this regard? Thanx, CRB:)
 
It is a source of much conjecture. Being the owner of several small-published mags or chapbooks/poetry anthologies, I can personally attest to differences. In the handful of different editions I have, in each case, the small press version is far better to me than is the BSP version.

mjp has cited several major differences in the first and subsequent editions of Women. Where those differences, and those in the poems, came from is the $64,000 question. It is well known that John Martin had a certain disdain for the dirty side. I'll leave it here, since most of the differences I've seen are more related to word structure. Again, it is the source of much conjecture.
 

Digney in Burnaby

donkeys live a long time
beef tongue from The Outsider

Here's how beef tongue looked in The Outsider back in 1969. Seems to be many differences, starting with the removal of the "...for J.T" dedication below the title onward.

Maybe it's just that I copied the thing back in 1977 and have read it few times since then, but it feels natural and like a Bukowski poem to my untrained ear.

beef tongue doesn't reappear, as far as I'm aware, until The People Look Like Flowers At Last in 2007, 38 years after it first appeared, 30 years after I first read it and 13 years after Bukowski died. Who made the changes, and when?

It's on page 10 of the book. Edited by John Martin.

beef tongue outsider 1.JPG beef tongue outsider 2.JPG beef tongue outsider 3.JPG
 

cirerita

Founding member
Digney,

I think I have a copy of the MSS that B. sent to the Webbs. I'll try to find it to see if there are any hand-written changes there... Jon changed quite a few things in B.'s poems AND letters...
 
Wow! Quite a difference in comparrison. The original, albeit a tad rough, is so much more concise. Less is more, as they say, and it becomes so much more 'wordy' with the edit. Changing the line;"and we didn't shake hands, a thing neither of us had to do"-to-....'a thing neither of us liked to do'... Well, that's huge IMO. Thank You, Purple, Digney and Criteria, I look forward to what you might find.CRB
 

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