Why Bukowski's work is so black and white? (1 Viewer)

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caraculo

Hi guyz.

I have read several books of CB, and I was curious about what other people could think about his work.

So I've been reading reviews in Amazon, and discovered several patterns, that I'd like to comment with you, CB fans.

Overall, his work has a very black or white nature: people either love him or hate him.

Most rates were positive (3 to 5 stars). His fans often praised his honesty, his commitment to an ideal; his prose is like a punch on the face, like a morning hangover, like a crude awakening to life; his manly style sober and elegant.

But I was surprised at the viscerality of those who rated his works one star. I wont quote the comments I found there (you can check them yourselves if you are interested), but basically came to say CB was a monotonous, boring, agressive, fustrated misogynist who just wanted his fair 5 minutes of attention and wanted the rest of the world to vouyer his emptiness.

So all that confrontationality stroke me as odd, there's not many authors who get so black and white criticism, such a wide and deep abyss between fans and detractors.

So I guess I am in the right place to ask why?

Thanks.

PS:

Of course some books were more confrontational than others. Ham in Rye and his poems were highly praised, meanwhile Pulp, Women, and some of his short stories collections were the most bashed.

PS2:

I noticed as well that there were some sort of social status clash among fans and detractors.

In many a time, detractors were deemed as "conservative suburban middle-up class" type of people, or soccer moms who read Dan Brown novels.

I think that was very interesting, do you think there's a profile of the average CB fan, as far as social status, or lifestyle is concerned?
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Most people are black and white. If you don't like an author you just ignore them, that is if they suck. Bukowski has a lot of powerful work and it can provoke some of the people who disagree. If he were bland and sucked there would be little or no reaction but Bukowski makes a point he is not dull.

Now, how much of Bukowski have you read?
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Many poets are jealous of his fame and hate him for it. They think that they write better than he did and cannot understand why they are still obscure while he is in every major bookstore in the world and is translated into dozens of languages.

Take Henry Rollins, for example. If not for him being a "famous" rockstar, who would buy his books? Who would attend his "spoken word" concerts?

Bill
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
Or many poets try to write like Buk, they're not able to find their own voice.
They get stuck with words like piss, shit and stars.

I never read Rollins and will never do.
 
C

caraculo

Most people are black and white. If you don't like an author you just ignore them, that is if they suck. Bukowski has a lot of powerful work and it can provoke some of the people who disagree. If he were bland and sucked there would be little or no reaction but Bukowski makes a point he is not dull.

Now, how much of Bukowski have you read?
In Amazon people review the specific book they just read (or movies, or CDs or wotever), most of them rate 5 or 4 stars and praise the book/author, but those who read a book and think it sucks have the right to say so, otherwise it would be a bit boring to read only positive reviews.

But meanwhile I've read negative critics about other books, Bukowski's are by far the most acid ones, they are almost plain hostile and agressive. That's why I think his feedback is black or white, people love him or hate him.

I've read Factotum, The Postman, Pulp, and Hot water music.

Or many poets try to write like Buk, they're not able to find their own voice.
They get stuck with words like piss, shit and stars.

I never read Rollins and will never do.
I think Nick Cave could fit into that category, I am currently reading The Death of Bunny Munro.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I think Nick Cave could fit into that category, I am currently reading The Death of Bunny Munro.

Yes, that is true. Bunny Munro is not nearly as good as "And The ass Saw The Angel", in my opinion. And, he would not have the cult following with his words, if he was not a rockstar. Still, (again in my opinion), he is an amazing songwriter (I'd say genius, but then that opens up a can of worms).

Cave and Rollins are friends and Rollins published a couple of Nicks books, so there you go. That is the connection.

At least Cave writes like Cave. He is not copying anyone else. Rollins wrote like he wanted to be Bukowski in his early books and now just does the spoken word thing, which consists of him talking about touring, masturbating, and the death of his friend, Joe Cole. There is very little poetry in his spoken word concerts. It is more of a monologue about how fantastic Rollins is.

Bill
 
P

pigmantoo

The drunk or bum persona who became a successful writer is a turnoff to many people, as that just cannot be. It just is not right and many people were not prepared for his rawness and lack of compromise. However, I have a different theory. Bukowski was a sensitive poet (just read The bluebird) who understood the market was ready for some rawness and provided that rawness in order to make a buck.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
......................
But meanwhile I've read negative critics about other books, Bukowski's are by far the most acid ones, they are almost plain hostile and agressive. That's why I think his feedback is black or white, people love him or hate him.
.......

You see, like I said, he got a powerful reaction from them. They were moved, yes in a negative way, but he got their attention. Bukowski communicated to them and moved them. We don't know how many people were bored with his words and had no feelings about his work, but I doubt there were very many of them. Like Ponder said, Bukowski makes it look easy and some become frustrated when they cannot copy that.
 

mjp

Founding member
I have a different theory. Bukowski was a sensitive poet (just read The bluebird) who understood the market was ready for some rawness and provided that rawness in order to make a buck.
Because he made so much money with those early poems and weekly newspaper columns, right?
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
Bukowski was a sensitive poet (just read The bluebird) who understood the market was ready for some rawness and provided that rawness in order to make a buck.
Read/Research Bukowski's letters, the buk.net poem database, the timeline,
the biographies, memoires, essays on him, all the threads on Bukowski on buk.net,
the magazines devoted to him and you know...etcetera.
You'll see your theory doesn't make sense.
Oh- and, read all his books.
 
Well how about the Three Dog Night tune?

The ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Excellent James. One of my favorite episodes and quite fitting for this thread. The vomit was appropriate for a Bukowski forum.
 

nervas

more crickets than friends
Take Henry Rollins, for example. If not for him being a "famous" rockstar, who would buy his books? Who would attend his "spoken word" concerts?
Well now Bill, that's a good point. I own every Rollins book, the limited editions etc, and have attended several of his spoken words shows, but often wonder why? He's not a good writer, heck I think I can count 11 friends who are better writers off the top of my head. However I still buy the books and go to the shows, I guess because he was the 2nd singer in Black Flag. I do find some of his journals entertaining, but a good writer? certainly not.
 
Some people have strange ideas about what is literature and what isn't. The same people will eat the ass out of a cow, but they won't kill it. In other words, many who criticize Bukowski adopt an air of superiority that they don't deserve.

Pigmantoo's comment surprises me. He says that Buk wrote what he wrote in order to make money. The man spent most of his life in penury! Plus, it would be impossible for a man to write sixty books purely out of some hope for monetary gain"”that would take some motivation! An olympic gold medalist wouldn't even have that kind of motivation.
 
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Well how about the Three Dog Night tune?

The ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

mmmmmm......that'll work. written by a dirty communist, though.
 
The black is a nigger

The white is a cracker

Together the learn to hate the spics

The despicable spics

The despicable sp-iii-ics
 
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