Yes He Was A Beat Writer!

frist off, let me say that this is an interesting post. for me, buk is not a beat writer for the simple reason that he wasn't part of that movement. end of story. however, i suppose an argument can be made that his style was that of a beat. but i don't really see this. if anything, bukowski was anti-beat. instead of striving for some kind of mystical experience (which seemed to be a common thread in all of the beats) buk just tried to make the best of his lot. he sensed that all that metaphysical striving was pointless. he knew that this was all there ever was or ever could be. so he drank, and went to the track and fucked women. as for the origins of the word beat, i'm no expert, but i know that jack kerouac tried to define the term in one of his books (on the road?) and suggested that it came from the term beatitude. anyways, if the "pros" want to call him a beat writer or an impressionist or a turnip let them. does it really matter? for a label does not change the nature of a thing.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Calling Bukowski a "Beat" writer seems like revisionism to me. I never heard that label until late in the game, and then it was said by people too young to have witnessed the Beats firsthand. He was never part of that scene, socially or spiritually. When he lived and wrote had nothing to do with it. Good Beats (Kerouac, Corso), bad beats (thousands of guys in berets) -- none of them have much in common with Buk, really. He was on a different planet than all of them. I think to call Buk a Beat now is to misunderstand the term Beat as it was used during the 1950s. It's a 1980s take on him, and on the Beats. Just my opinion, I could be full of shit.

David
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
David...of course you're right! ...but it's interesting to hear all the pro's and con's all the same...
 
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number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Hell yeah. And after reading through both arguments, I have to say that Buk was a beat school dropout. How about that - a droput of the dropout scene. Readings at City Lights were what he had in common with Ginsberg, McClure, and not much more. I would say that beyond the surface co-incidences of birth, he was more of his own man than part of a larger scene.
 
S

Slobodan Burgher

I think that calling Buk a beat writer is incorrect as it would seem to place him in a fairly closed time period and style etc. But I would be happy calling him a "writer"; I mean, that would do for me.

:)
 
Hey,I,m new here.I,m a new buk fan too.I read Tales of Ordinary Madness a few years back,then forgot him.I have my own copy of said book now,re read and enjoyed even more.Pulp was cool and Factotum.
I aint an authority on Buk so to speak,but,I picked up from what I,ve read that he certainly didnt want to be considered a beat writer. I personally think he was but because of the moronic adulation of fans towards the great beat writers,surely buk wouldnt want all that.Also I think,although his stories are pretty degenerate,the writer himself comes across as a modest man who never wanted to "sell out" by making it big or getting literary recognition,fame and money.Having read some of the ass licking and serious nerdiness of others on the forum,I feel buk would turn in his grave if he could read some of it.Yea he was one of the most "realist" writers I've evr come across.Surely he would not want folks payin top dollar for menus from one of his wifes cafes?buk memorabilia?The point I,m tryin to make is,although he rocked ,I think he never thought his writing skills were that special.What was special was the gritty realism in the stories which you know aint a million miles away from the truth.I think Irvine Welsh certainly copied his style.Has anyone read Alexie Sayle novels.They aint much like bukowski but they seem to appeal to the same readership.They have gritty realism but also an intellectual decadence you rarely get in this kind stuff.Check out "Overtaken" and "Weeping Women Hotel". Ok sorry back to buk.His name sounds Polish. Is his Family Jewish exiles from the holocaust possibly.He does slag jews off slightly in his writings but Im sure he berates himself enough anyway. Every bookstore in Ireland I ask for buk,the owners have all heard of him alright. That for me was quite a shock.Its pretty conservative here in Belfast, believe me. ok dudes more later

He was a total drop out of all drop outs.I think Ginsberg and the other boys were way more into acid etc,whereas buk seems to be more a total drunk,gambler who would take pot or whatever dropped on his lap for free.Was it not the drug use of the beat crew which led them to their quest for metaphysical meaning in life?Buk seems to me for instance that he could have fitted in very nicely in the pub with my old man and b ok.ginsberg?no way.He seems to me that he s got this ordinary man who everyman could relate to.He hated the fact that druggies had to hang out with other druggies?I loved that anything seemed to be ok in his company
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
dirtbird23 said:
Hey,I,m new here.I,m a new buk fan too.I read Tales of Ordinary Madness a few years back,then forgot him.I have my own copy of said book now,re read and enjoyed even more.Pulp was cool and Factotum.
I aint an authority on Buk so to speak,but,I picked up from what I,ve read that he certainly didnt want to be considered a beat writer. I personally think he was but because of the moronic adulation of fans towards the great beat writers,surely buk wouldnt want all that.Also I think,although his stories are pretty degenerate,the writer himself comes across as a modest man who never wanted to "sell out" by making it big or getting literary recognition,fame and money.Having read some of the ass licking and serious nerdiness of others on the forum,I feel buk would turn in his grave if he could read some of it.Yea he was one of the most "realist" writers I've evr come across.Surely he would not want folks payin top dollar for menus from one of his wifes cafes?buk memorabilia?The point I,m tryin to make is,although he rocked ,I think he never thought his writing skills were that special.What was special was the gritty realism in the stories which you know aint a million miles away from the truth.I think Irvine Welsh certainly copied his style.Has anyone read Alexie Sayle novels.They aint much like bukowski but they seem to appeal to the same readership.They have gritty realism but also an intellectual decadence you rarely get in this kind stuff.Check out "Overtaken" and "Weeping Women Hotel". Ok sorry back to buk.His name sounds Polish. Is his Family Jewish exiles from the holocaust possibly.He does slag jews off slightly in his writings but Im sure he berates himself enough anyway. Every bookstore in Ireland I ask for buk,the owners have all heard of him alright. That for me was quite a shock.Its pretty conservative here in Belfast, believe me. ok dudes more later
if you have read his later poems, you'll notice he enjoyed his relative wealth (BMW, gold card, valet parking, etc.). i think he might have enjoyed the idea of this forum, he just wouldn't want to meet us...
 

zoom man

Founding member
hoochmonkey9 said:
if you have read his later poems, you'll notice he enjoyed his relative wealth (BMW, gold card, valet parking, etc.).
And that's why I love getting his manuscripts from his printer, not the old typewriter....
Because he loved the computer so much...

Sure, the manuscripts pounded out on the typewriter are cool too,...
But he was soooo happy with his computer skills :>
 
dirtbird23 said:
The point I,m tryin to make is,although he rocked ,I think he never thought his writing skills were that special.
I think that one of the underlying themes that I've noticed throughout what I have read of his work is that he knows that his writing is good, he knows that he was special. Half of the time is his just describing how good he is because he does not worry about form but instead he lets it drip from his veins. I think that it is very obvious that he knew that his writing was special and important and that he did not have to write for his fans but he did have to write in order to survive.
 
I do agree with Thomas. I think Buk did maintain a self-confidence in his work that was as much a drive as anything else. I think the line from the Barfly screenplay "I thought I would be discovered after I was dead" was probably pretty applicable through the 1950's and maybe the first part of the the 1960's. I think into the latter half of the 1960's and then for the rest of his life the public validation of his work continued to swell. But I certainly think he was well aware of his artistic merits, long before anyone else took notice. I would even venture to say that that type of self awareness/confidence is at the very root of such a fantastic quote as "Don't Try".
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Bukowski never hides in his work his own high opinion of his writing. He not only knew he was damned good, he knew he was a genius. In the early poems he puts on quite a literary show with lots of stylistic tricks to good effect. Later, he played that stuff down and went for the subtle effectiveness of the simple line and clear narrative. And I still think he was not a Beat, by his or anyone else's definition during the heyday of the Beat movement. Not even close.

signed,

a serious nerd but not an ass-licker
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Hi, rekrab,
For those that may not have seen you in a while, here is a photo that I plan on using in our next book together. Amazing photo by Linda Kay Lund
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
bospress.net said:
of a great writer and friend....
Thanks, Bill. Coming from you, that's a complement that means a lot to me. And I'll return it by saying that you're a great editor, publisher, printer and friend. Everything from Bottle of Smoke Press is of the highest possible quality, both in content and production. I feel very fortunate to be published by BOSP.

The photo was taken at the SPORK magazine "Extravaganza" reading, held a couple weeks ago at Mississippi Pizza Pub in Portland, Oregon. I read a long poem about Bukowski that's in the current issue. I thought it was interesting that the crowd seemed to know who Buk is. The few times I've mentioned him in the small city where I live, I've gotten blank stares. Portland is much hipper, more in tune with culture. This is one of the best photos I've ever had taken. Linda is a talented photographer.
 
back a few posts slobodan described bukowski as 'a writer' - the description reminded me of a young man who's ethnic origins were being questioned - his mother asked my advice on a response...i suggested he say "i'm a man."
i think slobodan has got it right - "writer."
we (writers) are an art form - the difference from visual artists is 'watercolors' to 'writercolors' but the paintings are just as artful - we are all artists -

peace
rrat
 

SamDusky

Founding member
riverrat said:
we (writers) are an art form - the difference from visual artists is 'watercolors' to 'writercolors' but the paintings are just as artful - we are all artists
Hear, Hear, riverrat; keep it rollin'; as in rollin' out the good stuff. 'writercolors' like it much,

SD
 
I know this is now becoming a bit of a yawn.I just saw a "Beat Scene" magazine on e bay with,you guessed it-bukowski on the cover.hum?

ok guys.i was a bit rash with the ass lickers comment.forgive me!Buk 'd probably be amused about this.I didnt realise he actually managed to have a bmw and could afford a comfortable lifestyle later on.ooops .I was a bit rash.No expert guys.just my humble opinion which i now retract.Am i lickin ass now!
 
I just have to say this:

MYTH BUSTED!

(From the acclaimed tv-show 'mythbusters' on Discovery Channel)

Also, man, It's so very cool to be a part of a forum that actually holds an average age of more than 12 yo. Rekrab; I'd love to read your stuff, where can I find it?
 
To Beat And Not To Bop

.... The Beatnik generation consists of the forefathers of this new way of writing, and if you do not think of Buk as one of these forefathers [the Beats] than you are just a damned fool.
Here's my take on it. I never considered Bukowski a "Beat" writer for a number of reasons. I could never imagine him sitting on his ass in a jazz club, snapping his fingers to the hip beat of the sounds. Why it's not mentioned more I have no idea, but my understanding is that the word "beat" primarily refers to the beat of the music"”jazz music. The Beats were into pot, drink, zen, the music and the "high" of it all. That may have been the problem too"”learning how to function on earth.

So the beats were inspired by the music and they were inspired by the spontaneous jazz improvisations of the great players of the time, particularly by the awesome genius of alto saxman Charlie Parker, who Kerouac used to rhapsodize about and idolize (he also idolized the great tenor players Zoot Sims and Al Cohn and did a recording with them). In the same way that impressionism in music (Debussy) was inspired by impressionism in painting, the Beats were inspired to write in the same way the Charlie Parker was inspired to play. They started out by trying to break out of themselves creatively and ended up on the road of incredible free-associative literature, with the problem being that, at least with Kerouac, he burned himself out, burned out his creative reserves, by his late 40s and then drank himself to death at the home of dear old mom. The point being, Bukowski's roots seemed to be related to none of this. While the Beats were searching for a new way of working, related to trusting the first thought that came to them and few if any revisions"”Bukowski had "it" from virtually the beginning. He merely refined his gift over the years but always felt that he had it. Plus he had his blue-collar work ethic and stamina rather than the ants in the pants restlessness that many of the Beat writers suffered from and which caused much of their work to be highly inspired but erratic and uneven, at least to the eyes of yours truly.

The two works of Kerouac I'm most familiar with are On The Road and Dharma Bums, and they are fantastic reads, especially when you're young and unformed. But they were written under white hot inspiration, and Bukowski was different in that he wasn't trying to say everything in one sitting, or all at one time in one book. He knew how to pace himself and knew how to wait for the words to come, rather then open himself as an oracle like Kerouac did, who exhausted himself to the point of no return.

I think Kerouac, the only Beat writer who interests me, also considered himself a failure, as a failed writer, because he felt that his message through his books had been misunderstood as pure self-indulgence. He was crucified by the literary establishment and was so opened wide, perhaps because of his philophshy of the Tao, let's say, the idea of going with the natural order of things"”that he took this criticism personally and lived out this hurtness for the remainder of his days. He gave into it and the bottle.

Bukowski, au contraire, only got tougher and wiser with age and was, yes, self-indulgent in terms of certain habits (drinking and the horses), but not in terms of his creative self-discipline... and I believe that Bukowski and the Beats are separated not only by their dramatically different ways of working, but by an entirely different philosophy of life: Zen vs. Romantic Practical Realism. They were looking at some of the same things related to freedom and spontaneity, but viewing them through different ends of the telescope.

The irony is that Bukowski, through pacing himself creatively, ended up achieving the ends the Beats were yearning to stabilize and harness, but never seemed to do. Bukowski liberated modern poetry in ways that Ginsberg never could, though Ginsberg in a sense modernized poetry by writing about the madness of the times as in "Howl". I think however, that Bukowski went way beyond what Ginsberg achieved and tapped into a creative source that was ripe and fecund to the end... almost to his last very breath, whereas the Beats seemed more a product of the 50s and 60s. The world changed and it seems to me that the only one who kept pace with it all, within this group of writers, was Charles Bukowski, and Bukowski did it primarily on his own, while the Beats seemed to be constantly tampering with each others' creative heads and worshiping Kerouac's genius like he was a god. (Not that it matters, but as a point of speculation, to put it plainly, I also think that Kerouac may have been in love, though never overt or even admitted to himself, with Neal Cassidy, and Ginberg may have been in love with Kerouac, and something like that could complicate the emotions and the mind.) Kerouac was certainly inspired, but I think he, at the end of his life, felt that God had abandoned him, or it didn't matter one way or another; with Bukowski, it may have been the exact opposite. In the end, though, I'd have to agree with Kerouac about everything, at least in this moment"”"I don't know. I don't care. And it doesn't make any difference."

Poptop
 
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Lets also remember the Ginsberg spent 8 months in the psych ward....

Kerouac also renounced being a part of the beat generation and not sure if it was because he thought he failed. He is given a bad rap for a poem/phrase, that haunted him and he couldn't live it down.
I was reviewing A Supermarket in California, Gingberg, and no offense, he might be writing about a lost love, or declaring his homosexuality, or as he is known -loving those who weren't in love with America, its bland and too beat! Too nice, too thought out, planned....
Many people classify Bukowski, as in age, or some things that may have seemed contemporary for the 50's and 60's then, but after the era/made up generation passed, he definitely should have been omitted from that classification.
 
G

grayxray

To beat or not to beat - is the question?
Someone please explain to me why this question is so important. Does it make his writing any better, any more important? Why is this question so important to so many on this board.

If this question has offended anybody on this board, I am sorry, but I just go to know!
 
If you read the Kerouacs Kerouac he never really enjoyed the Beat moniker either unless being labelled king of the beats got him a lot of free drinks which it did. BUt more often beat wannbe's dropped by his mothers to drink his crap.
Odd Keroauc was past the "beat" movement when it became trendy.
He was past what anyone could consider being productive/creative by the time On the Road was published.
What I find interesting is Kerouacs definition of Beat is certainly opposite to Buk's approach to life.
As I recall reading, Keroauc defined beat as beatific not beaten. He wanted the term to reflect a more bBake like state of grace.
Keroauc for all his on the road bravado lived with his mom and drank gut rot wine (tonkay?) until he died.
Moments of literary briliiance may have creeped out after On the Road but nothing was really significant other than Dharma Bums.
The only simliarity I see betweenn the two is that they both had a desire compusion to sit at typewriters perhaps illustrating that the best thing a writer can do is write.
Both displayed a tremdous discipline. Both had to write.
 
I had meant to say Ginsberg...
A Supermaket In California
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I
walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans
following you, and followed in my imagination by the store
detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our
solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen
delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in
an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The
trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be
lonely.

Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher,
what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and
you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat
disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
 
I just have to say this:

MYTH BUSTED!

(From the acclaimed tv-show 'mythbusters' on Discovery Channel)

Also, man, It's so very cool to be a part of a forum that actually holds an average age of more than 12 yo. Rekrab; I'd love to read your stuff, where can I find it?
Check Bill's website. I haven't yet, but he did just compliment him on being a great publisher, editor, etc.
 
I agree with many thoughts here, it doesn't matter how you classify him, why classify at all etc. But classifications are created for history and clarification. And Bukowski doesn't get to classify himself that's left for the historians and critics.

I've seen him lumped in with the Beats and I see similiarities in his style and Kerouac in they didn't like revising in their novels, wasn't On the Road and Post Office written in a few weeks? They both seemed to write non-fiction fiction. But they have differences obviously.

I guess you'd have to have a clear definition of Beat writer and how that stacks up against Bukowski.
 

reasonknot

Founding member
this is beat

okay people
find a poem from
COME ON IN
and compare it to what a beat writer has written
lets see the&$#$#$#&@ similarity and let this game
of no he wasnt yes he was come to an end already
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
I think you could find a poem that shares Beat sensibilities, but an isolated incident does not a Beat make.
Like that time I wore lipstick. One time. I swear.
I kid, I wear lipstick all the time.
But back to the point, and away from the bad humour, Buk maybe sounded like a Beat on occassion (parts of Howl could've been written by him, I swear) he was not.
As far as the Beat Generation goes, there were only a few true Beats, anyway. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and a couple others I can't think of right now. The truest Beats probably never wrote a fucking thing. If the rest only followed their lead. The rest were sycophants and opportunists and posers. The same as any movement.
 
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