What other writers have you read because Bukowski told you so? (1 Viewer)


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After reading all the volumes of letters -where he mentions over and over again his all-time favourite writers- I decided one day to take the chance and read some of them.
First was Fante. Ok. Not too bad, but no spark for me.
Then Hamsun. Hunger is quite some book. I was quite impressed and I could understand why B always looked up to him.
Then I read Li Po. What a fucking great, almost forgotten poet. I'll always remember how B admiringly recalled Li Po burning his poems sailing down the river, drunk as a skunk.
Finally, I tried Céline's Voyage au bout de la nuit. What a motherfucking masterpiece. I was spellbound, speechless, taken away by the wildness, the frenzy and, yet, probably the best writing ever put on paper. That guy surely knew how to turn a phrase! There's a lot of B in there. Well, I should say there was a lot of Céline in B's work.
Read him. Don't waste your precious time in this forum. Go grab a copy and enjoy it! And don't imitate B by eating crackers and drinking water as you turn the pages.
the best ones were the ones that bukowski emphasized, maybe. for me, i am not that adventurous of a reader but you have celine, journey to the end of the night, camus, the stranger, maybe thomas harding, far from the madding crowd, knut hamsun, you must be pretty deep into things already, dostoevsky, fuckhead #2, the russians, golgoy and toasty, fred the dead head, facts of life star natalie portman, and the bitch in growing pains.
jesus christ. i realize that i might sound like a nut. i don't want to sound like that. the more obscure things i have found are more poetry stuff.
oh, I had forgotten Dostoievsky, probably the best writer ever. If you read carefully B letters and poems, Dostoievsky, Céline, Jeffers and Fante are the only writers B NEVER puts down.
Fante is a good writer.
Céline is almost a genius.
Dostoievsky is a fucking, out-of-this-world genius.

Jeffers, I can't say much, I've only read a few poems.

any Li Po book is a good read.
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cirerita said:
why offended?
no reason maybe. i just figure that if i have ever had a hero in my life, bukowski would be the one. i mean i read these books and i end up rolling around laughing. i just don't want to type the wrong thing.
like carlos bulosan and ivan bunan. there seems to be a tiff with john william corrington. the southern gentleman. "i noticed that you didn't bring your wife."

also frozen roses by emanuel asante, i didn't shoot the sheriff by pauly donkelstein, i didn't drink all of the orange juice but i did throw all of your pizzas out the window by jack bernstein, commodore blitz by elvert swanson, i can't get a fucking job by do not touch my nipples, the fellow who flew out the door by danny ross, steal my wallet but just don't touch my ass by donny nichols, the last time i saw you you really freaked me out by goldberg, if i don't piss now i may let loose in my pants by donald featherland, tragic import by shankenstein, beauty in the southern regions by lewis, knot in my hair by elvis, why can't there just be beer on the sidewalk by fragglestick, i don't see how me licking you is going to clear anything up by lewis again, do not take out the trash by live in reality, don't eat the pills by forkburger, have you ever tasted your own feces by i shouldn't have probably just done that, we are in a lucky age, think of how good the plumbing is (hopefully), we have cars that run on rocket fuel waITING TO PICK US UP ON EVERY CORNER. we now know things. i. mysef, i am a driver. i drive a new model jet engine car. i've only flipped it about 2 times. i jerk my dick while i drive, sipping cola and picking up babes. get in i say. you know theres a storm coming. hop on in. and we go and ride on airwaves through radio stations but then we have to park and just relax. we go to the park on the hill and there is lightning.
inre: factotum, i want to see the part where there is the cab driving school in the water basin. janeway smithson was a crazy little bantam rooster of a man, sing me your little song! i hit the break on instinct before he blew the whistle and we skidded into reality. i'd beaten his mark by 15 feet.
This is interesting, cirerita: I agree with you, exept Li Po, whom I haven't read yet and Celine - I read the german translation and fell asleep. I was amazed and couldn't understand, why B is looking up to this book. Then, years later, I read that what I got obviously was the first german translation ever and this one is so bad, it's almost a crime. Critics say, I, of course, don't know.

So I've always wanted to try a better translation but then forgot. Now reading your comment makes want to again. Did you read in spanish trans. or english? Or maybe even the french original??

I thought I'll give the english one a try.
I tried the English version, but the syntax is so complex and the vocabulary so obscure at times that I couldn't follow the plot properly, so I switched to the Spanish one.
I remember reading this book next to my partner and saying out loud:
Me: This Céline guy is a genius.
She: You've already said that a million times.
Me: yeah, I know, but the more I read him, the more I'm convinced about that.
She: You've also said that a million times.
Me: Well, yeah, but this book has RHYTHM, like a crazy jam session, maybe a jazzy jam session, but definitely a jam session.
She: That comment rings a bell.
Me [2 pages later]: This Céline guy is a genius... Did I ever tell you that?

and yes, sure a bad translation can ruin this book.
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'Crime & Punishment' is certainly a masterpiece.

'The Hunger' by Hamsun is also rather good.

Ditto anything by Hemingway. I really enjoyed his last unfinished book, 'The Garden of Eden' Highly recommended.
I think The Stranger will surely grab you when you're 18 or so. I haven't read it again so I can't say now, but it sure made an impression on me at the time.
The last unfinished nivel by Camus 'The First Man' contains some beautiful writing.

I would recommend the Camus Biography by Oliver Todd.
being the vain arse (and voracious reader) that I am, I'm pretty sure that I would've hit most of the writers that Buk touted, with the exception of Fante and Jeffers (still haven't read much) and maybe Li po.
that being said, buk speeded my course to Celine.
the main guy in the stranger, life just sort of happened to him. it was plaintive. it showed the effect that the world can have. like the quotation if you stand for nothing you can fall for anything. the guy was a good guy and they hung him.

they ran him through things quickly. one version of hell.
we have to change the whole language of the earth. i don't know how yet but i think it is a noble pursuit. although i can't throw a football so far.
jack nasty said:
the guy was a good guy and they hung him.
Well, he did shoot someone because it was too sunny.
are we too sympathetic with mersault because all we get is his point of view? Like women who correspond with killers on death row? fall in love with him and profess to the world that for all his faults, he's a good guy at heart, just misunderstood?
ah, what do i know.....
I should say that The Outsider/Stranger is one of my favourite books. that might not have been apparent in my previous post...
that's a good point. i like that. he shot the guy because it was too sunny out. i don't know, man. when i read it it seemed like he had no choice, of course he did though, god damned sun.
Another American writer I like is Richard Brautigan. 'Revenge of the Lawn' is a good collection. Quite a melancholic atmoshere, witty at the same time.
Me: Well, yeah, but this book has RHYTHM
You hit the nail on the head of what makes any writing really stand out from the crowd - rhythm. It's something I rarely see mentioned or discussed, but every great writer has it. And a poet without rhythm is just...gah, I don't even know what to compare it to. But it's bad.

And I hate typing that damn word, rhythm. I misspell it every time.
yes def...dostoevsky, the brothers karmav(sp), crime and punishment,
celine yes, even though I have yet to actually read much of his work, fante, ask the dust still on its way, dh lawrence? dylan thomas? tolsty? ezra pound?
you guys should check out Joan Jobe Smiths poetry. she wrote a book called "Bukowski Bulevard" and she received much praise from Buk for her poetry.

"The poems of Joan Jobe Smith have the reality of force properly put down on paper . . . a strange woman, a strange, good, basic woman." "”Charles Bukowski (1975)

yes, thats buk not badmouthin a woman.

"Whether or not these poems would delight you, I'll never know. However, they do tell another point of view about you, that from the periphery, the innocent bystander, the passive Bukowski watcher who loved you, admired you, was inspired and encouraged by you . . . and is now grateful to the poetry gods who blessed me with your acquaintance . . ." "”Joan Jobe Smith
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FYI - Joan Jobe Smith still publishes the lit mag pearl, and she edited the Bukowski Review magazines (available at the same link).
yeah..I've been submitting poetry and short short fiction to Pearl for quite some time now.
I must confess though, nothing has been accepted. I mean honestly, what does a man of 20 yrs have to write about?

AND they also published the bukowski reviews

The best thing Buk ever did for me besides giving me his own work was turning me on to Fante. I howl when reading the Arturo Bandini saga and his other work. It is just so close to some of my own experience and to so many of my Italian friends growing up, even though many years before. I think that Fante captured so many shared experiences about this american life in words that just smack you in the face with all the humor and sadness of its realism.
don't feel bad man i submitted to Pearl many times and nothing got published either. but i'm 17 what the hell do i have to write about? :)

but yeah, i think the best writer Buk got me into was Celine. Journey blew me away when i read it.
Because he said so...

I looked up Bukowski when i was about 18 because i was a fan of the L.A. band X. I saw an interview with them on some news program where they asked the band who their influences were. Bukowski was mentioned. I went to the Library and looked him up. Erections, ejaculations.....i'm, like, OKaeeee.
But know one has ever had an impact on me like he and his writings have. Twentysome years later and no one comes close to him, except the writers who influenced him. I read Dostoyevsky, Celine, Thurber, Stenhal, Fante, Li Po, and I can't really think of the others right now. Celine blew me away and Dostoyevski is a genius too. It's really the only thing that makes you steady...to know that you're not really crazy...to know that, OK, I'm really not the only one who see's things this way. It's comforting in a strange way.
can't believe nobody has mentioned carson mccullers. unless i missed it. carson mccullers.
That's an interesting image for your avatar there. Is that your art? I like it. There's a lot of crappy Bukowski art out there, but this captures something.
hey mjp - thanks alot, nice of you to say that. it is mine from a sketchbook. while we're at it i've been meaning to post my thanks to you and everyone on this forum for contributions large and small. i'm an archive/info nut for people/artists that i dig so this place is heaven for me. cheers to all!
I had read quite a lot of the same stuff Buk raves about in his letters and poems, but the only one I can say I discovered through Bukowski, was Céline.

That guy has killer material, especially if you are capable of reading him in French.

I have Portuguese editions of his works, which include some rarities from his most anti-semitic panflets as well. Properly expunged, and critically examined, mind you...

But Céline was more a victim of himself than anyone else. He was just too honest, and got involved with some very unfortunate ideologies, which caused a viral criticism of some of his work (some plainly justified, other mostly prejudice)... afterwards, they rehabilitated him in the cultural circles, and in latest years, his books have been making a comeback.

But his 'Voyage au bout de la Nuit' is supberb...

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