Which Bukowski title should my sister use in class? (1 Viewer)

My sister is a professor at a college in upstate New York. She teaches English, rhetoric and gender studies. I received the following message from her last night:

I need a good Bukowski book for fall (I have to submit my book list in two weeks). The class is Language and Gender and I want to work with specific, gendered poetry (not necessarily the writing style but the themes of the poetry. He is about as masculine as I can imagine. I am countering it with a Gertrude Stein book about domesticity.) So I need you to think about this. Of all of Bukowski's books, which one do you think would be a good book for an undergraduate 200-level writing course (mostly juniors and seniors)? Any length, as I can pick and choose which poems for analysis and discussion.

What do you think? I've always thought that MOCKINGBIRD was his golden era. Or, perhaps she should abandon poetry and go with WOMEN?

Thanks, in advance, for your input.
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Funny, that's the same one that popped into my mind. It's heavily "gendered," as it were, mainly because of a thrust toward relationships - so it's masculine because of the feminine. On the other hand, a book like Burning in Water... has a nice cross-section of different periods.

If she wants to keep the class size down, she could always choose At Terror Street... ;)
Well, to me Love Is a Dog...and Women are pretty much on the same level: fucking around the clock seemed to be a greater concern than writing, which is just fine, but I think the writing part suffered from that a bit. EVen though there are a few very good poems in Love Is a Dog and some parts of Women are hilarious and accomplished (great flow and rhythm), to me they are weaker than most of the books he published while he was alive.
I agree.
And Gay Brewer says something similar in his book on Bukowski. He writes that Bukowski had not achieved sufficient critical distance from his material. That the writing is uneven and while entertaining, not as good as his earlier or later works.
I agree.
What college? I live in upstate NY. Not trying to stalk your sister, just going for my PhD.

And, I have nothing to contribute to the actual conversation. I agree with Love is a Dog & Women. Women over Love is a Dog.
...fucking around the clock seemed to be a greater concern than writing...
I am surprised that you would believe there was ever a time he was interested in - or capable of - "fucking around the clock." Especially in his mid 50s.

That's just more myth; the whole "research for Women" line of bullshit. In fact, one of the reasons Women is so funny to me is because about halfway through you have to put it down and laugh because the sheer volume of fucking he's describing in the time frame he would have you believe is absurd. Especially considering his age and the first hand reports we have of his...inability to perform. It's exaggerated and compressed. I thought that was obvious and part of the comic effect.
Well, I guess you could say that he was fucking around the clock when compared to his scarce sexual activity in the late 60s.

I think no one knows for sure how much fucking there actually was in the 70s. But I think it's obvious to say that after his first public readings, the 1973 documentary, his first novels, the early success in Germany, etc, sex was probably more available than ever before. How much he took advantage of that is pure speculation. But I believe that his interest in sex (whether performed or not) became more apparent than ever, especially in Love Is a Dog and Women.

Everybody knows B. liked to clown around and play the fool part, so it's safe to say that he exaggerated this for comic effect, but I feel it was a new opening for him -as a result of his growing popularity- and he seemed to enjoy it.

And in his correspondence from the period, especially the unpublished one to Linda King and other women, sex is more present than ever. His writing suffered from this, methinks.
I think Buk basically lived through his adolescence in his fifties. He hadn't experienced all the romantic/erotic psychodramas of the typical Southern Californian teenager, so he went through them a bit later, that's all. I'm starting to think that you've got to go through every stage sooner or later. And it's all serious and funny at the same time. What is that quote of his? Something like love is funny because it doesn't last, and sex is funny because it doesn't last long enough?

Or love is like a fog that disappears with the first sun of reality? (I think in "Born Into This")
And in his correspondence from the period, especially the unpublished one to Linda King and other women, sex is more present than ever.
In his correspondence? Meaning when he was sitting at a typewriter? Writing? ;)

Even if you fucked a different Nordic teenager or Hollywood Boulevard skank every day - which I hope we can agree did not ever happen for Bukowski (because if anyone takes Women literally there's no point in discussing this further) - there's plenty of time for writing. Sex took up no more of his time than any other non-writing activity he ever took part in. He spent considerably more time sitting around his apartment with people talking and drinking, but apparently that didn't detract from his writing. But sex 3 or 4 or 10 times a week did?

Doesn't make any logical sense.
Ok, I shouldn't have said that B. was fucking around the clock as it seems to be misleading. It was just a comparison. If you spend 4 years having very little sex, or none at all, and then all of a sudden you begin to have more sex than ever, then it might feel as if you were fucking around the clock. Nevermind, it's not really important.

I still believe that most of his writing from the 70s is weaker than any other period -save, perhaps, the very early output- and I think his talking and writing about having so much sex -whether for real or not- had a lot to do with this.

And sure, some things detract from writing, and others don't. I'm not trying to be logical here, it's just an impression. I won't write a thesis about that ;)
[...] perhaps she should abandon poetry and go with WOMEN?

I am with you (and some others) on this one here!

It fits your sisters needs much better, I think, than any other book by him. But of course, this only works, if it doesn't destroy her CONCEPT to switch from poetry to prose.

Otherwise I go with most others here and vote for 'Love is a Dog from Hell' - the title alone says it all.
I forgot to say that a large part of the material published in the posthumous volumes of poetry is from the 70s. You know, those critically acclaimed (insert a sarcasm icon here) books released after B.'s death...
Anything by Elmer Batters. Bukowski had enormous respect for his work, as do I. They were of the same generation. Or as my smarmy NYC hipster friends like to refer to: "A dwindling demographic"

God Bless Them All
My sister was so impressed with the thoughtful conversation here that she said she was going to incorporate some of these responses into her teaching. I haven't spoken to her recently but I'm betting she skips that Elmer Batters reference.
Hello Everyone--

I'm Dave. Big Bukowski fan. I just stumbled on this site (looking for info on the Scarlett book).

As for teaching Bukowski in a gender studies class-- has anyone suggested "Fire Station" in Piano. It's always been one of my favorite Bukowski poems and it didn't even make his Selected. I think it's one of the great poems about men and women treating each other terribly and loving each other at the same time.
I'll take that dollar and save it for Fire Station the chapbook with the gold pole on the cover. I could probably buy it on e-bay for a million dollars.

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