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Play the Piano Paperback – 25 Aug 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (25 Aug. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876854374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876854372
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 0.8 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 496,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp (1994).

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About the Author

Charles Bukowsk is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in 1920 in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944 when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dadio on 30 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If all the poetry books in the world were lost tomorrow except Bukowski's I would cope with it with sadness, but if any one of Buk's poetry books were lost, then I would be gutted. This I have read from cover to cover and enjoyed it very much.
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16 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
this book should not be tossed aside lightly. it should be thrown with great force.credit to d. parker. then drink some rotgut.then pick on someone at least twice your size.morerotgut. yhen read it again and you will begin to understand. do this for 30 years and you will fully comprehend. hey, anybody can get a job it takes a man to make it without working.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
It's so easy to be a poet but so hard to be a man. 22 Oct. 2003
By D. Scharlach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine handed me this book and said that when she read them she wanted to throw Bukowski on the table and jump on top of him. Intrigued, perhaps a bit jealous, I plunged into this book.
My only knowledge of Bukowski had been the little biographical notes from Beat literature books or things like that. I was under the impression that I was going to get a beating from some cold unemotional degenerate, or something akin to the dry wit of William S. Burroughs.
Not so.
Bukowski's work is rich with emotion, but not sap. It is not the poetry of little delicate flowers and holding hands in the park; no, with this poetry you have to walk through a drunken hell before you can look at a woman with that special feeling of affection, before you can feel the grace of hearing classical music on the radio. Or maybe you can spend the in between time betting on horses, eating a sandwich, or just trying to understand a little bit about life.
Just dont' ask for any more than what's already here. Because herein lies all the secrets. Snapshots of heaven and hell, and how they are both right in front of us, whichever we see at the time.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A good introduction to Bukowski's poetry 2 April 2004
By SPM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is like a 'greatest hits' from the 1970s for Bukowski. Ranging from 1970 to 1979, these poems show him working on familiar themes, but he's getting better at expressing himself. His chaotic life is drawing to a close as he settles into married life in the 1980s. These poems are more focused than his earlier efforts, but also a little looser --- he's able to sum up a mood, a day, or an old friend in half a page of non-rhyming verse. These poems are full of wry humor and romance, a far cry from his reputation for booze and sullen moods. If you haven't read his poetry, try this book. You'll find out what kind of writer Bukowski was. It's sure to inspire you to read more of his great work.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Sex, booze, and poetry 1 Jan. 2002
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit" is a collection of poetry by the prolific Charles Bukowski. In a down-to-earth, vernacular free verse, Bukowski poetically explores a number of recurring themes: women and sex, gambling and games of chance, alcohol, cigarettes, his life as a poet, and other writers.
I see Bukowski as a sort of literary philosopher-satyr who often writes about the crude, seedy side of life. Some of my favorite poems from this collection are as follows: "fire station," a bawdy, boozy narrative poem; "a radio with guts," about the narrator's drunken abuse of the title item; and "interviews," an ironic reflection on encounters with "young men from the underground / newspapers and the small circulation / magazines."
In this book the reader will encounter junkies, drunks, and various colorful characters. Bukowski's tone is sometimes melancholy; often the bawdy life of his poems is haunted by the specter of death. And I was intrigued by his occasional literary references: to Dos Passos, Mailer, Rimbaud, Hemingway, and others. Overall, a compelling volume.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
a great intro to Buk 27 Nov. 2000
By Schwanda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was my first ever Buk book. I was smitten with the first poem "tough company" which starts by stating that "poems are like gunslingers" before explaning why. An inspired piece for this inspired book. This collection contains a fair cross-section of Bukowski's works, we see into several aspects of his life here. A quick read, initially, but not to be taken lightly. I recommend this book as an introduction to any virgin Buk reader.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Bukowski's Poetry in the Dark 8 April 2010
By K. McPherson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This volume of Bukowski's poems truly lives up to its title, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit. Like his other compilations, the title and his little short preface gives valuable insight to the collection. In this collection, Bukowski gives his wisdom before you hit the actual poems--" waiting/ in a life full of little stories/ for a death to come". This, coupled with the title, reveals that the poems will show how to live a hard, full life, pounding on the piano, until all the little emotions, encounters, and stories make you bleed. Bukowski doesn't disappoint, and his poems in this collection show the bleakness of the unrelenting force of life. Two poems stand out in this collection that really embraces Bukowski's theme and tone, "the apple" and "hug the dark". In "the apple", Bukowski plays off the archetypal view of an apple as the wisdom of life. He enforces that knowledge comes through living, not just books, when he points out the apple "is an experience" (59). Experience and living contain "underlying pits of white" (59), which represent a deeper understanding of emotions and truth. While Bukowski describes eating the apple, he daydreams about "choking to death on the apple skin" (59), emulating the fear of understanding, as well as oppressive nature that comes inherently with knowing too much. The poem ends with "depressive feelings" (59) and an "ending" (59), as the apples gets thrown away, leaving the poet staring at an ashtray. Likewise, in "hug the dark", Bukowski reveals how the cruel touch of life leaves a person jaded. The poem describes how "turmoil is the god" (113) of the modern world. It continues describing how pain can kill or help people survive, but "peace is the worst thing" (113) because it's fake. Peace covers up "the whores/ betrayal/ the worm in the apple" (113). Bukowski offers ominous advice to avoid theses modern gods, but, even if you do, you're still disturbed like anyone else. This collection shows Bukowski artfully peeling off the veneer of America, exposing the hopelessness of fighting against a life that beats you like a percussion instrument.
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