What did Ginsberg make of Bukowski's writing?


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Something I wrote when the Ole piece was a little fresher in the bean:

"Issue 7 is a "Godzilla" review issue. Bukowski again makes a noteworthy appearance in the form of a review of Ginsberg's Empty Mirror. It's full of left-handed compliments but surprisingly appreciative. Despite the "asshole" image of Bukowski, he gives a fair review, dealing with the poetry and citing both weak and strong lines. All in all, it's honest. Ginsberg is disparaged, but within the context of being an undisputed trailblazer."

Can anyone get a copy of that out here for us to read?



Art should be its own hammer.
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oh! I didn't know there was one, Bill...if only we had someone letting us know these things...


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And got someone with a "beautiful smokey voice" to sing them! Like, I don't know...Kristin Asbjornsen or someone...
Thoughts on Ginsberg and Bukowski

For anyone interested in Ginsberg as a stand-alone poet and the workings of his mind, separate from any specific comments on Bukowski, or vice versa, I'd like to suggest getting your hands on "Voices & Visions: Walt Whitman." This is a VHS tape I happened to stumble upon at the community library. (It's out of print but may still be available at auctions or some libraries.)

The tape has a controversial interview of Ginsberg on his take of Whitman as the first "urban poet," and Ginsberg goes on to say that, in addition to his own abilities as a poet, he is Whitman's literary descendent, because Whitman was homosexual and Whitman slept with this certain guy, and many years later that guy slept with another certain guy, and so on, until that guy slept with Ginsberg"”voila!"”the "direct" literary descendent of Whitman through this historical series of sexual encounters (You coulda knocked me over with a feather.)

I bring this up not to be controversial but in reference to some of Bukowski's comments on the homosexual poets. I forget where, but Bukowski wondered, in some of his earlier writings (in the 1960s?), why it had been up to the homosexual poets, implying Whitman and not mentioning Ginsberg by name, to advance the development of poetry overall? Why were they the ones? This is his indirect acknowledgment of Ginsberg's influence on modern poetry, at the same time that Bukowski was saying, words to the effect, "well, what gives here?"

In contrast, I feel that Bukowski was trying to advance poetry from a different source, let's say, genderless, not just homosexual, perspective"”whatever that means. I believe Bukowski felt there was a need for this, and that's the point of view he was coming from, not being homosexual himself, but still aware of the impact of sexuality on someone like Whitman or Ginsberg, and feeling separate from that.

Now, the subject of a person's sexual persuasion on the creative process is a huge one, but even the great Bukowski, voracious and critical reader that he was, thought about it, and where he fit in, or wanted to fit in, or came from as an artist, to make his own contribution and advance modern poetry. His results, of course, were historic, but the problem is that Ginsberg was famous before Bukowski.

As for myself, I have enjoyed both Whitman and Bukowski immensely but was never a fan of Ginsberg. In "Howl", when Ginsberg talks about the "negro streets," I never forgave him for, to me, imitating his hero, Jack Kerouac, who had written more aptly before him about the "fellahin streets," and I felt that Ginsberg was not an original; he was simply writing in reaction to things, in a way that was derivative and overly self-important, being too aware of himself and his public stature as a poet. Perhaps I was unfair; but it's too late now, and I'd rather read Whitman, e.e. cummings, and Bukowski, not to mention a few others. Anyhow...


Best wishes, Poptop
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old and in the way
...he is Whitman's literary descendent, because Whitman was homosexual and Whitman slept with this certain guy, and many years later that guy slept with another certain guy, and so on, until that guy slept with Ginsberg"”voila!"”the "direct" literary descendent of Whitman through this historical series of sexual encounters (You coulda knocked me over with a feather.)

Sort of like six degrees of ejaculation, huh?
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In A.D. Winans book The Holy Grail: Charles Bukowski and the Second Coming Revolution he details a reading Bukowski and Ginsberg did together with one other poet, I think Ferlingetti(This may be the Santa Cruz reading Bukfan/Sounes refers to, I don't remember). During the reading there is a bomb threat made by phone, so Ginsberg goes out on stage and improvises a poem to let everyone know what's going on. I believe Winans has a quote from Buk saying how much he liked Ginsberg's improvisation, however at the party afterword Buk drunkenly insults Ginsberg(no suprise there). I will look tonight when I get home and see if there is anything about Ginsberg's opinion of Buk. I will post whatever relevant passages I find.

I was at the reading in the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium when the bomb scare thread was phoned in. At the time Ginsberg was sitting crosslegged on the stage playing a harmonium and chanting to the music. When he was informed of the bomb scare, he changed his text to an announcement of the thread, asking the audience to stay calm and to get up and walk out of the auditorium in an orderly way, which they did. The police came in and searched the building thoroughly. When they were done, the audience returned and the readings continued. Bukowski set up at a small table with a carafe of "orange juice" (screwdriver) and read some poems, including one about how disgusting pizza is. Linda King was among the poets; I remember her reading her poem, "A Cock": "What is it?/ It goes up, it goes down ..."


With me were some people I drove over to Santa Cruz from Stanford University: Joel Roberts, a part-time instructor, and 2 or 3 young undergraduates.
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Here's an interesting interview with Ginsberg I found earlier this month in which he discusses Buk: Interviewer: "Right, he [Buk] wouldn't come to Naropa as I remember" Ginsberg: "No, we invited him [to give reading at Naropa in Boulder, CO]...He was such grumpy old man. Interviewer: "Very grumpy, and wasn't very kind to many of the Beat writers. Ginsberg: "He was to me, in person at any rate. I think earlier, before he got cured, his brothers would say, i.e. before he got much richer than me or any of the Beat writers, because he was very famous in Italy and Germany, and they made movies of his work. Before that, he was wondering why we were so popular and why he was not. And therefore, he was a little bit grumpy about it. But he did meet Neal Cassady and admired him and wrote a very nice story about him. Interviewer: Yeah. G: "And then we worked together; I meant well, at any rate. I wasn't entirely an evil creep."
B met Neal Cassidy, admired him an wrote a nice story about him..

Does anyone know which story that was?


It's one of the Notes, it starts with "I met Kerouac's boy..." or something like that.

Edit: It's on page 16 of Notes of a Dirty Old Man (Virgin edition), the fourth collected column in the book.
Bukowski and Ginsberg are different for me...as bukowski and other beat writers.
I've read most poem of Minimalist like Tolstoi,Kafka,Dostoevskij or Celine and yes....bukowski is incredibily similar to Celine but with fresh and simple writing.
I am right now re-reading the Bukowski-Purdy letters before I put it in one of my damn boxes. I need a big fancy house with lots of bookshelves so I can put all of my "not so fancy" books onto to them. Here is a quote from a letter to Purdy from Buk. I need to warn everyone...Bukowski sometimes uses foul language. Page 37. it is Jan 25 or 26, 1965.

Purdy had just been in NYC where a bunch of poets were gathered. Buk warned Purdy to stay away from such events and almost couldn't believe that Purdy was there. Buk told him, I hate that shit...in so many words.

"Ginsburg is the only one who disturbs me with the mouthing. he loves the crowd appeal. he is a showoff. he is a jackoff in public. yet he continues to write mostly good poetry while the others die."
In one of the Naropa University recordings of Ginsburg, one of his classes on poetry there, he comments on Bukowski. He liked Buk's use of narrative in poetry, says it's rare now for poems to tell stories. But didn't think Buk was great at including enough detail in poems to make the poems come alive in more than a flat sense. He thinks Charles Reznikoff's poetry is better in that respect. But Ginsburg had read some of Buk and showed some appreciation.