Who is the girl in 'An Almost Made Up Poem'? Any ideas?! (1 Viewer)

It is one of my most favourite of Buk's poems. Someone suggested to me Sylvia Plath - the timeframe could work out, but the details don't match (France, not England, and (I presume) drowning, rather than gas). However, he does suggest that the poem is almost made up, also suggesting that it is almost true...

I'm aware of this mention of Plath, in the Stonecloud interview:

STONECLOUD: Have you read anything of Sylvia Plath's?

BUKOWSKI: Yeah, she did the thing, didn't she? And she didn't get famous until after she did it. I never read too much of her stuff.
There's a thread here that deals with this subject; I can't seem to locate it right now. There was some speculation that it could have been Carson McCullers or Anne Sexton. And while the reference to ANGELS and GOD makes some sense in consideration of her posthumous book The Awful Rowing Toward God, the problem is, Sexton "did the thing" on October 4, 1974 and Buk wrote the poem on January 3, 1974 (I know this because just a month ago I bid aggressively on the signed and edited carbon of the poem (only to lose out at the last minute) and that's the date Buk signed it). I suppose Plath is a possibility, but I'm not following where you've come up with drowning and gas, as neither are mentioned in the poem. Both Plath and Sexton used gas - Plath from the oven and Sexton via carbon monoxide from car exhaust.
Thanks so much for your insightful reply! I don't know anything about either Carson McCullers or Anne Sexton, so thanks for pointing me in their direction.

You're right, drowning isn't mentioned, but I think drowning (or jumping from a bridge) is hinted at:

"you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide
3 or 4 months after it happened."

and Plath died, as you said, by the oven.

I looked for a thread on the subject too, but couldn't find any mention of it. If you do find it and you could post the link here that would be great!
I think the discussion is buried in a thread that is not obviously about this topic. We (well, some of us) tend to ramble a bit here, not unlike most Internet forums.

And yes, it is a strong poem, as evidenced by my willingness to bid high on the manuscript. The strongest point of the poem is its conclusion, having been built up to by a strong reflection. Then the kicker line. Classic Buk.
Hi there! I'm just a little bit obsessed about this poem right now and was wondering who can possibly be the girl mentioned, I also guess Anne Sexton but had you ever consider Ingrid Jonker? I know she's not very popular but as hinted in the poem she did the thing by drowning, in 1965 or so, the thing is I dont know if she ever went to the USA... but of course it's an almost made up poem...
Hi there! I'm just a little bit obsessed about this poem right now and was wondering who can possibly be the girl mentioned, I also guess Anne Sexton but had you ever consider Ingrid Jonker?...
Hello Alexandra, I think it was Anne Sexton too, no evidence for that, but for me she is a strong possibility. Purple Stickpin confirms the date of Bukowski's poem as being January 1974, which would be a bit premature since she died in October. But perhaps it's an almost made up date:)?

I've read (bits) of Anne Sexton A Self Portrait in Letters, there are no letters to Bukowski that I have seen, which would be in keeping with the content of the poem somewhat, as would the references to Gods and Angels which can be found in Sexton's work, pre1974. It's an interesting puzzle.

Kay Johnston (Kaja) was I think was at/in Berkeley in 1973 and ?1974, not committing suicide though. So not sure of that. But perhaps it's a mixture of women.
Yes, I'm virtually certain the poem is based on Kay Johnson--she lived in Paris, Buk wrote to her, liked her poems which appeared in The Outsider, she wrote about love, abandonment, spiritual themes and to my knowledge he didn't like any other women writers very much except for Carson McCullers....
So, Buk's inclusion of suicide, in a poem he wrote in January 1974, was pure poetic license about a woman who lived well into the 1980s if not far beyond that? I have a hard time believing that. His poetry was far and away the most rooted-in-reality vehicle he employed. Granted, his early work had highly abstract elements, but by the mid-'70s, he was writing mainly about day to day experience.
Yes, but Kaja--like Hope Savage--was one of the mysterious Beat women who disappeared apparently without a trace. I don't believe anyone knows what happened to her. She lived in Greece for a period, returned to States. It seems quite likely Buk would "make up" ( "almost made up") what might have happened to her.
I'd forgotten about Andreas' other thread and the reference to the other poem in Burning - Letter From Too Far. Which as discussed by Purple and others looks like Kay Johnson.
I don't have the Jules Smith book, but perhaps he never found out she returned to America and was fine, but believed wrongly on information given by a friend that she had killed herself. Does look more like Kay Johnson than Anne Sexton.

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