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  1. #1
    Elder Member jesse_custer's Avatar
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    Default Charles Bukowski.

    My wife recently gave me a book of Bukowski's poetry, Love Is a Dog from Hell, so I've been going through it. His poetry is easy to read and sometimes funny. At the same time, I'm not seeing the genius of Bukowski; he's a highly acclaimed artist, but what I'm reading seems to be entertaining trash. It's just as easy to forget as it is to digest.

    What is your opinion on Bukowski?

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    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Bukowski is one of those people who are on my list to read, but I haven't gotten round too it. I'm not a poetry guy, so when I find the time I'll probably go with his prose. He's a big influence on Tom Russell who built the album Hotwalker around Bukowski.

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    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    And while I have you here and am thinking of Tom Russell and looking at your avatar...

    Have you ever read Sterling Hayden's prose, either his autobio Wanderer or his novel Voyage?

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    Elder Member jesse_custer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    And while I have you here and am thinking of Tom Russell and looking at your avatar...

    Have you ever read Sterling Hayden's prose, either his autobio Wanderer or his novel Voyage?
    I haven't, but I watched a pretty lengthy interview with Hayden recently and it really made me want to read his stuff. I'd probably start with Wanderer.

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    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesse_custer View Post
    I haven't, but I watched a pretty lengthy interview with Hayden recently and it really made me want to read his stuff. I'd probably start with Wanderer.
    It's on my list as well. So many books. So little time.

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    I have yet to get around to Bukowski, so I don't have any particular opinion about his stuff yet. I did like the movie about him with Mickey Rourke and Fay Dunaway, though. I think the first thing of his I'll end up trying will probably be a novel called Pulp, rather than his poetry. This book seemed to be a tribute to the hard-boiled detective genre. I read the first page a local bookstore once and was impressed enough to buy it on the spot. And then of course promptly became distracted by other things and never have gotten back to it.

    [edit:] Hayden was great in Robert Altman's film version of The Long Goodbye
    Last edited by berk; 11-16-2012 at 04:30 PM.

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    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    I have yet to get around to Bukowski, so I don't have any particular opinion about his stuff yet. I did like the movie about him with Mickey Rourke and Fay Dunaway, though. I think the first thing of his I'll end up trying will probably be a novel called Pulp, rather than his poetry. This book seemed to be a tribute to the hard-boiled detective genre. I read the first page a local bookstore once and was impressed enough to buy it on the spot. And then of course promptly became distracted by other things and never have gotten back to it.

    [edit:] Hayden was great in Robert Altman's film version of The Long Goodbye

    Not to try and dissuade you or anything, but Pulp is usually viewed as Bukowski's worst prose work.

    The movie was Barfly for which Bukowski wrote the screenplay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    Not to try and dissuade you or anything, but Pulp is usually viewed as Bukowski's worst prose work.

    The movie was Barfly for which Bukowski wrote the screenplay.
    That's it, Barfly. I was going to type "Lowlife", for some reason, but thought it didn't sound right, and, feeling too lazy to look it up, omitted the title altogether.

    I'll still give Pulp a try. It's pretty short, the first page read nicely, and I bought it thinking it was probably just his tribute to a genre he happened to like rather than his attempt at a great artistic statement. Whether I like it or not I'll still read one of his more acclaimed books later on, prose or poetry.

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    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Bukowski, himself, had the good sense to admit a lot of his more self-lionizing or overly-dismissive-of-others poetry was, in fact, him feeling a need to play down the significance of others in his life and career. I think he's a talented guy, and some of his work is very powerful, but on the whole, he built a cult of personality, he sold a persona, and that element appeals to me less.

    Barfly was excellent and a lot of that does stem from the script.

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    Elder Member jesse_custer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    but on the whole, he built a cult of personality, he sold a persona, and that element appeals to me less.
    That's definitely the vibe I'm getting from this poetry. Like I said, it's entertaining and easy to read, but I'm not really getting anything out of it.

    Interestingly, Hunter S. Thompson also sold a persona, but unlike what I've read of Bukowski thus far, Thompson had a cultural and political purpose, thus giving his writing a lot of weight behind the style.

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    Elder Member Libaax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    Bukowski, himself, had the good sense to admit a lot of his more self-lionizing or overly-dismissive-of-others poetry was, in fact, him feeling a need to play down the significance of others in his life and career. I think he's a talented guy, and some of his work is very powerful, but on the whole, he built a cult of personality, he sold a persona, and that element appeals to me less.

    Barfly was excellent and a lot of that does stem from the script.
    Which of his novels would you say is powerful work? I know he is rated for poetry but i have more good poetry authors like him than prose works authors of his type.
    Pull List:
    The Walking Dead,Fatale,Near Death,Storm Dogs,Happy,BPRD,XO-Manowar
    American Vampire,Animal Man,Swamp Thing
    Daredevil, Winter Soldier,Indestructible Hulk

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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    Bukowski, himself, had the good sense to admit a lot of his more self-lionizing or overly-dismissive-of-others poetry was, in fact, him feeling a need to play down the significance of others in his life and career. I think he's a talented guy, and some of his work is very powerful, but on the whole, he built a cult of personality, he sold a persona, and that element appeals to me less.
    You do get that impression just from hearing about him, and it does tend to make me take him less seriously as a writer than I might otherwise; but I'll try to keep an open mind whenever I do get around to trying something by him.

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    Elder Member jesse_custer's Avatar
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    I've read a few stories from Tales of Ordinary Madness. One of the stories, "Rape! Rape!", is about Bukowski stalking a woman and eventually raping her because she likes it. However, she calls the police and has him thrown in jail but never presses charges. He then goes to an apartment near the woman's residence and has sex with a large lady in front of her "idiot" son.

    Bukowski is never boring, but you really have to wade through a lot of decadent pieces to get to anything redeeming.

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    Universal Turing machine cgh's Avatar
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    The novels to read are Ham On Rye, Factotum, Post Office and Women, in that order. They chronicle the life of his semi-fictional alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. Reading his stuff in my early 20s, when I was broke and barely making it, was a stunning experience.
    “Wonder Woman is a lame superhero...She flies around in her invisible jet and her weaponry is a lasso that makes you tell the truth. I just don’t get it.” -- Megan Fox

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    Anyone here read anything by John Fante? I haven't myself but hope to get around to his novel Ask the Dust sometime over the next few months. I've seen his name mentioned as an influence on Bukowski.

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