You Are The Big Name On The Marquee, and three more poems - Chiron Review (The Kindred Spirit) No. 16 - 1988

mjp

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"You Are The Big Name On The Marquee" is "Show Biz" in The Last Night of the Earth Poems.

"Dear Editor" is "Dear Reader" in The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain (with the lines about turning a corkscrew removed, because, you know, John Martin).

"Let's Have Some Fun" is in The Continual Condition.

"The Gods Send It Laughing" is "Writing" in The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain (because what's the point of an interesting title?).


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Every time I see an original source of a poem collected in The Last Night of the Earth Poems, the original source differs.
Why do you cancel such a nice title?
Also, there are changes in 3 stanzas.
 
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Every time ... poem collected in The Last Night of the Earth Poems, the original source differs ...
Which shows changes during his lifetime again, like what you, Andreas, have discovered in "The Roominghouse Madrigals" before. And even though these are usually minor changes compared to the posthumous butchery, we can't ignore the fact - and have to wonder...
 
The most legit Black Sparrow poetry collection is probably The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills. The reason is simple: It was edited by Sanford Dorbin, not John Martin.

The first three parts of Burning in Water Drowning in Flame are identical with the versions of earlier collections, while the last part (Poems 1972-1973) was edited.

As you mentioned, Roni, several years ago I digged into The Roominghouse Madrigals and compared about 100 poems (out of 139) with earlier appearances. Only 25 of them did not differ from the original sources.
 

mjp

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If you look at the (new) poetry collections in terms of what was going on in Bukowski's life, the last collection that was published before he started having health problems is You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense in 1986.

In 1988 and 89 he spent almost a year dealing with Tuberculosis and skin cancer. Septuagenarian Stew was published when he was feeling better, but then in 1992, when The Last Night of the Earth Poems was published, he has cataracts, and in 1993 he's finally brought down by Leukemia.

All of which is to say, if he didn't pay much attention to what Martin was doing when he was healthy, it's likely he paid much less attention in the years after You Get So Alone. Make of that what you will. Maybe it's all coincidence. 🙄

I still think there's a line there, somewhere. A lot of the changes that we're uncovering to the pre-posthumous (is that a word?) collections are pointless and stupid (for instance, what's the purpose of changing the title of a poem? Ever?). But when you look at what came later...the wholesale, scorched-earth kinds of rewrites...

But yeah, if there is a line, maybe it should be drawn in 1986 rather than in 1996. It just seems to me that it's a little counterproductive to take the stance that every Black Sparrow collection has pointless changes, so we should look at them all in the same way. Putting all the collections into one basket diminishes what happened in the posthumous collections.
 
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