Visceral Bukowski (1 Viewer)

Anyone read Visceral Bukowski by Ben Pleasants? I just finished and really liked it. One thing that struck me was how often Buk mentions Marvin Malone and how much Buk compliments him, yet Malone is mentioned just one single time in the Sounes bio. In Visceral, Buk practically says Malone is a better editor than Martin. I'm surprised at the discrepancy. What's your take on the relative importance of Malone to Bukowski - you think Buk overestimates it?
 

mjp

Founding member
What's your take on the relative importance of Malone to Bukowski - you think Buk overestimates it?
Not at all. Wormwood Review was a respected mag, and Malone printed hundreds of Bukowski's poems.

Martin would not have found Bukowski without Jon Webb, Malone, and the small chapbooks like Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts (in fact, Martin mentions Confessions in an early letter to Bukowski).

Martin later (in the late 70's) gave Bukowski and Malone and the editor of New York Quarterly some grief about publishing too much Bukowski, and Bukowski responded to him that Black Sparrow was only a tiny part of his income, and he wasn't about to abandon or snub the "little" magazines.

You can read that in another letter around here somewhere.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
mjp -- that surprised me, about Black Sparrow only being a tiny part of Bukowski's income. Do you think that's true? I always figured BSP was the bulk of Bukowski's income, and anything else, from other publishers, was small and incidental. Perhaps there was some jealousy between Martin and Malone?
 

mjp

Founding member
I think cirerita has posted some - what looked like adding machine rolls - with comments next to the numbers, and at least during that late 70's early 80's era, his BSP income was significantly less than the overseas royalties. Maybe that changed near the end of his life, but I think it's safe to assume that he never would have had the comfortable life that he did - home ownership and new cars - based on only BSP royalties.

Here's the 1978 letter where he says he's making $500 a month from BSP. That's about $1700 today. Note that he says that he could qualify for food stamps (presumably without the overseas royalties).
 

Petey

RIP
He later made $7000 a month see the letter to J.M. in " Reach for the Sun " page 273 first editon from January 15, 1993
 
"and he wasn't even a famous shipping clerk."--(page 3 of the letter to john martin) ha! buk and the black sparrow shipping clerk were making similiar wages...
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Very interesting letter mjp, thanks for reposting it. I'm glad to have a more three dimensional perspective of the whole situation. Thankfully, this board\site is all about presenting many sides of the same issue.

Visceral Bukowski is on my list, but considering the author... it remains fairly far down on it...
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
indeed, interesting, thats pretty shitty of John Martin. Bukowski stayed true to his roots all the way up to the end. some say he sold out or whatever but I disagree.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
I just finished the Pleasants book. I bought it a while back (a year maybe?) from Bill, but hesitated to read it because of Uncle Ben banging the Nazi gong every 10 seconds, but I have to say it was a pretty good read. Pleasants thinks a lot of himself and tries far too hard to push the Nazi angle, but I enjoyed it.

now maybe I'll finally finish the Harrison book.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Malone was a far better editor than Martin. He avoided making a profit on Wormwood, so his operation stayed small, and he's not as well known as Martin.
 
Sorry, I don't intend to bump this thread about ... well, er, ... about this person, who wrote a sort of book about a fictional character who has accidentally the same name as our author.

Does anybody know, what it was that split the (formerly friendly) relationship between Buk and - this person? Wasn't it something Buk wrote about him? Not sure here.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Buk wrote a short story whose character, Rifko, was reportedly based on this person. This was in Issue 81/82 of Wormwood Review (Good-Bye to Hollywood). The title is A Friend. Not only does the poem accuse "Rifko" of cheating on his wife, it really paints him in a bad light as a self-important bore.
 
Have read it now.
Must say, Buk had written MUCH worse about others.

But one thing is striking:
No one - not even the real-life Rifko - would have been able to identify the Rifko in the story/poem as the Rifko in real life - EXCEPT the things described REALLY happened. And if so - what's to complain about? If you make a fool of yourself in the presence of Charles Bukowski, how can you wonder he uses you in his writing.

I wonder if CW really got this tape. Would be wonderful, wouldn't it? (if we'd get hold of it, that is.)
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
That copy of #1 is cool and I'd love it (I have a full run, but #1 & #2 are with xerox covers, numbered 1-27 by Marvin Malone.) Still, $199 is too much. This seller has good stuff, but tends to be on the high side and from my experience is not willing to negotiate, even if you do him a solid. He once outbid me on a lot of about 7 books. I contacted him to ask to buy one of the 7 books (they were all worth about the same per piece) and he wanted what he paid for just one piece. I mentioned that to him (and that I backed off when I saw that it was him so that I did not raise his price) and he basically, said that this is his business and take it or leave it. Again, nothing dishonest on this, but it left me feeling that in the future, I would not hold back on bids (at the time you could tell who you were bidding against, and I backed off with the hopes of getting a fair price from him).

If looking for an AMAZING bookseller in the Bay Area, look no further than Jeff Maser. One thing about him is that you cannot just judge what he has by looking on abe as he has 10-20 times more at his warehouse. He has the goods, his prices are fair, and he supports the small press. Plus he is a hell of a nice guy.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
not only does jeff support the small press, he supports small collectors. unlike many of his colleagues, he realizes that the rare book trade can't live on if it only caters to old, wealthy collectors, and so he treats people like you or me with respect, rather than being snotty and looking down his nose if he doesn't think he's going to make thousands of dollars off of you.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
That is very true. I have joked with Jeff about pitching a tent in his warehouse and spending a week there. The few times that I have been there, I spent a few hours each time and spent maybe a couple hundred each time, certainly not a high roller. You could never get away with that much loitering at Peter Howard's or many other high-end book sellers. Peter would have ejected you or just made you feel uncomfortable about wasting his time for so little return.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
well... that's not totally true RE: peter howard (i know from experience, trust me). peter didn't pay attention to his customers either way, so he was perfectly happy to let people wander in and out of very nook and cranny of the store for hours on end (again - experience). also, although most of the books there were priced really high, he would mark them way down when you brought them up to buy them. a lot of the complaints about peter were due to this pricing policy, which was definitely arbitrary. i suspect peter was a lot like red - plenty of people adored him, because if you knew how to act around him, he was great. he had access to the best stuff, good pricing, and he didn't bullshit or misrepresent his stock in any way. the things is, because of his stature in the rare book world, people seemed to be okay with all the little "rules" about dealing with him, and if you broke one of those rules, you would be, at the very least, made to feel uncomfortable, and at worst, subjected to a tirade and blackballed.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
That great website was designed by our very own CHRONIC, with the input of Marvin Malone's daughter, Christa.

The number one place for info on this great magazine.

Bill
 

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