Which is your favorite poetry book?

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Over 1000 posts
To use a horse racing metaphor, I would have to declare a dead-heat between "Mockingbird Wish Me Luck" and "Burning In Water Drowning In Flame".
 

reasonknot

Founding member
Over 100 posts
burning in water

my burning in water doesn't have duct tape
on it yet like war all the time but almost needs it .
speaking of which,playing the piano needs some
tape on the cover too.guess those three have
been read the most.
does that mean they're my favorite? or that i should
buy the hard covers?
 
I've been on the move the past twelve years or so (mainly Asia) and by neccesity have to travel light so although I agree with some posters that there are too many greats to choose a best I always carry with me You Get So Alone as well as (and don't shoot me down) Run With The Hunted - the collection.
Along with Buk I always have Pessoa, Dylan T. and Jim Harrison.
 
Disclaimer: I'm not counting any of the "John Martinized" posthumously published collections here, because of how he despicably mangled them. Now, on to better things!

I haven't read every single published collection of Buk's poems yet (working on it), but of the several that I have read, my favorite one is still the one which first introduced me to Bukowski: The Last Night of the Earth Poems. There is so, so much great work in that one collection!

My least favorite, at this point, is War All The Time. This doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed it at all, but overall, the number of great, or very good, poems in this one seems to be much lesser (to me, of course) than in many of his other poetry books. Maybe I just need to spend more time with it?

What are your favorite and least favorite Buk poetry books?
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
Over 1000 posts
Last Night of the Earth Poems is one of my favorites. I used to think it was such a "comeback" book from him, until I learned that Black Sparrow books contained poems from many different years. Still, I Iove that book.
 
If you happen to know, do even his later (1980s-90s) poetry books contain poems from, say, the '60s or '70s?

I was under the impression that, at least while he was alive, each newly published book of poems was made up, either mostly or entirely, of poems that had been written since the last published poetry collection. If I've been mistaken in that impression for all the years that I've been reading Buk, I would definitely want to know! It could lead to my reading, and thinking about, some of his poetry quite differently (not in a better or worse way-- just differently).
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Over 1000 posts
Yeah, The later stuff Last Night & Sept Stew are favorites. But I also like Roominghouse and am fascinated by its fine example of his early poetry. Their raw 1st take/2nd take quality is compelling. But then again, I find that the wonderful thing about most of Buk's work is that it begs to be read and re-read and there's a joy in the constant discovery and re-discovery of diamonds among the coal.
 
I fully agree. His early and late poetry collections are so wonderful and re-readable. They are written, largely, in such different styles, but I appreciate them equally, respectively speaking, for the early, angry-yet-beautiful, lyricism and for the later, very direct, plainspokenness. I still need to check out Septuagenrarian Stew. Thanks for the recommendation!
 

Andreas

Over 100 posts
But I also like Roominghouse and am fascinated by its fine example of his early poetry
Unfortunately, 'its fine example of his early poetry' had been screwed up a bit.

You should try Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. The book was released in 1974, and it covers the years 1955-73. Poems from three legendary out-of-print books.There's also a nice foreword by the author.
 

Purple Stickpin

Over 5000 posts
I had to think about this question for a while. Burning in Water... is no doubt my favorite, but I couldn't really come up with a least favorite, although Play the Piano was the only title that really made any sense. Not that I don't like it, but I don't pick it up much. Yes, Fire Station is good, but I have two copies of that to read when I want to feel vintage (hell, I feel vintage every day). Actually, I only ever read the second printing.
 
Burning in water is my favorite. It’s got everything.

War and Stew are my least. War has some real great poems and the stories are pretty good as well but overall it’s just not something I return to. Buks talk about other writers and critics gets a little old.

Stew I thought was pretty boring. I love the story about the guy getting money off someone and eating steak in the fancy restaurant. Overall I think he said the same things better in other books. I don’t think it’s a bad book just but it doesn’t have the same bite as other books.

Again who knows. I don’t
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Over 1000 posts
Unfortunately, 'its fine example of his early poetry' had been screwed up a bit.

You should try Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. The book was released in 1974, and it covers the years 1955-73. Poems from three legendary out-of-print books.There's also a nice foreword by the author.
I forgot about that and haven't been back to Roominghouse since I learned of the screwing up. Right. Good eye.
 
I love Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. I don't own Play, but I do remember liking what I read of it several years ago. It has been a long time. Maybe I only actually read a few selected poems from it, if it really is a poor effort overall!

Until now, I didn't know about the severe "Martinizing" issues with The Roominghouse Madrigals. I was aware that Martin had messed with certain books, here and there, when Buk was alive, but I didn't know that it ever was that bad with the poetry. What a frustrating disappointment. I wonder if the Madrigals will ever be re-published in a corrected state? Damn...
 
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I like Love is a Dog from Hell and Burning. I did like reading Roominghouse too, but since Martin has messed with that one, that really puts a stick in my ass. Hmph!
 
I've been back and forth, many times, over the years, with my opinion of Love is a Dog from Hell.

It has some really great poems-- some of my favorites, such as "Alone with Everybody," "One For the Shoeshine Man," and the one which has a title consisting of just his phone number. I love those three poems, and there are others in the book which I really like.

I do think that his writing could slide into laziness and being a bit formulaic, at times, in the book though-- as if he had figured out what his audience wanted from him and was now fine with simply giving it to them. Just my view. I do like Love is a Dog from Hell much more now than I did, say, ten years ago.

One of my very favorite poetry books from him is Mockingbird Wish Me Luck. That might be my second favorite of them all (that I've read at this point-- I still have a few to go), behind Last Night of the Earth Poems. That latter one just keeps knocking me out, year after year.
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
Over 1000 posts
He admits he was lazy... But Mr. Andreas has been the closest to this one. He can show you the changes and I can show more, but there was no way Buk could have compared his poems with the edited ones at the time. All those poems were in magazines no one had access to brfore the internet.

He probably didn't even read them, but if he did, he had no way of confirmimg they were the same as the originals...
 

Andreas

Over 100 posts
Too many edits in the Black Sparrow books, let alone the posthumous destruction, so my favorites now are clearly the Back to the Machinegun Volumes. In total almost 500(!) poems. A great work accomplished by some unknown Bukowski experts.
 
Tie between Roominghouse and Days Run Over (depends on my mood any given day). Def my desert island books. They were the first 2 I bought in '87 and '88...
Then prob Burning or Mockingbird.

(yes, I'm back after 13 years...)
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
13 years is a drop in the bucket. It takes some people a while to warm up.
 
Hi mjp: perfect response!

I'm thinking I should mosey over to the New Blood thread and re-intro myself officially, at the very least to get my posts up to a whopping 3... before I start becoming an active member (as I had promised years ago and never delivered upon)...
 
Dangling in the Tournefortia has been on my end table for months and I never have any problem knocking a few poems out every time I sit on my couch. My favorite has to got to be Love is a Dog From Hell because it was my first introduction to Buk that happened by chance of pulling it off the shelf at a Borders. The title punched me in the gut and I’ve been bleeding internally ever since. That was a good find.
 

Andreas

Over 100 posts
I've just read my woman something from Dangling. She's affected by the death of a well-known Russian singer. Guess which poem I read her. Right, it's strange. Bukowski for everyday use.
 
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