From On Writing, pp. 161-162.The play discussed below, called Bukowski, We Love You, was premiered in Rome in 1981. Galiano produced Storie di ordinaria follia [Tales of Ordinary Madness], directed by Marco Ferreri in 1981.
[To John Martin]
February 24, 1981
You’ve probably gotten something from Silvia Bizio about
wanting rights to about half the Black Sparrow Bukowski books
in your arsenal to put into a god damned play. They offer no $$$
and claim to be a little non- profi t outfi t but actually they are going
to run this thing for two years in many different cities. I hope you
didn’t give your o.k. but if you have . . . well, they aren’t clear on
the rest of the steal which are many stories from City Lights books.
Bizio has been bugging me constantly to sign away these
rights. I did an interview for her and also let her do a bit on video
with me spouting off about various nothings. But I’ve personally
taken a dislike to her as a person and to her ways. She’s evidently
fronting for these crooks and I’ve told her I want nothing to do with
the whole scene.
“But they’ve been preparing this for two years!”
“They love you!”
“They want to pay your fare to come and see them and their
I told her, “That’s balls! Why didn’t they try to get permission
before starting out?”
I don’t like the Italians, they’re sneaks, their whole way of
doing things makes me sick. How can they just steal my work and
put it on stage without asking? [Sergio] Galiano is trying to make
a movie out of some of the same stories. If he pays, where do they
And then there’s another problem, Galiano. Supposed to pay
$44,000, he has sent 4,000 and claims the other money was wired
over a month ago. Nothing but a lie. And he’s down in Georgia with
Ben Gazzara, shooting the films now. The Italians . . . Hitler didn’t
trust them either and I can see why, they slide and lie and trick.
I’m sure the same thing has happened to other writers. A
writer is only looked at as a guy who puts words down on paper.
He’s an easy take. He’s only thinking of the next line and doesn’t
want to be bothered with externals that don’t fit his little mood-state.
Which is true but he also doesn’t like to get raped.
The bastards also know the cost of court procedure and that
they can flee and hide in some Italian hamlet, giving us the big
Ah well, John, a couple of poems enclosed.