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Reads His Poetry

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Product Description

Charles Bukowski , who died in 1994, wrote about the seamier side of life – losers and boozers, prostitutes and bums. This Takoma release captures him in front of a San Francisco audience in 1972, an event sponsored by the City Lights bookshop. It was his biggest live reading to date and captures him in full force – as ripe and bold and concentrated a dose of the poet and his art that you will find off the printed page.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Bukowski Reading 8 Dec. 2009
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Poetry is meant to be read aloud. Thus, although I have read a good deal of the poetry of Charles Bukowski (1920 -1994), I learned a great deal from this CD of his readings at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center in San Francisco on September 14, 1972. The track includes 14 poems excerpted from the reading; an earlier recording of the complete reading is no longer available.

Known as the "poet of skid row", Bukowski became a cult figure for his portrayal of low life in Los Angeles. Bukowski's novels, stories, and poetry continue to be read, and his reputation has grown with the years. Bukowski's poems are short, easy to read, and tend to shock. They include ample reference to sexual and excretory functions but have their serious side as well. Bukowski's themes include death, women, horse racing, and loneliness. There is a sharpness and toughness to his best work.

Bukowski claimed to dislike live readings. But he used them to create his artistic persona with vulgarity, on stage drinking, and frequently ill-natured exchanges with his audience. That is the case in this reading. Bukowski arrives beers in hand, engages in heckling and threats with his audience, expresses his disdain for the reading, and belches several times while reciting his poetry. It is a rowdy and not entirely edifying performance.

There still is a poet at work here. Bukowski reads his works slowly in a declamatory style. He makes the most of his short, unrhymed lines, with careful rhythm, articulation, and emphasis. For all the notoriety of the reading, Bukowski took his poetry seriously. Bukowski's poem "Style", which he declaims on this CD, captures something essential about the man:

"Style is the answer to everything
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to
doing a dangerous thing without style.
To do a dangerous thing with style is what I
call art."

Other poems I liked here include "The Death of an Idiot", "The World's Greatest Loser" and "the Best Love Poem." Some of the poems Bukowski reads here do not appear in his published collections of poetry - he published a substantial amount in little magazines - and this makes the reading valuable as well.

This is a short CD of only 40 minutes. But readers of Bukowski will enjoy it. Hearing Bukowski read his own poems reminded me that poetry is indeed an oral art.

Robin Friedman
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Can't help but feel a bit cheated 28 Jun. 2006
By TimothyFarrell22 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As for the material itself, it ranks with Bukowski's best. It demonstrates his wit and charisma easilly. The poems themselves are fantastic. However, this release is simply an edited version of the out of print "Poems and Insults" reading. The legendary performance was released a few years earlier complete and uncut. The producers of this CD obviously had the rights to that performance. This makes me wonder why they cut out several of the poems? Judging how the original performance isn't too hard to find, one can't help but feel a bit cheated when a company sells this album. The poems themselves are fantastic, but why did Takoma Records opt to not include several others. Judging how its hard to find a used copy of the "Poems and Insults" album from a few years ago, customers will have to buy this one for the time being.
a great home recording 30 Oct. 2009
By Steven Doherty - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I have most of Hanks recorded stuff and this one ranks among the best. Theres only a couple tracks that are on other CD's and the recording quality is very good. The only negative is that the volume is very loud, louder than any of my other Bukowski CD's. Oh well, I'll get over it. With over an hours worth of poems you cant go wrong. Just be sure your getting the 1995 version and not the Abridged version from '96. It has about half the amount of poems.
Bukowski -- an expert at poetry reading 29 April 2014
By z_treasures - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I find "Hank's" poetry refreshing and fun, and deep too. My wife (who had never read any of his poetry) said, "It's like he's having a conversation with you."

I have listened to my CD numerous times and find myself memorizing passages. "Love"... "Gas"

Very enjoyable, except for the 1972 crowd which is a pain in the rear.

Buy it -- you won't be disappointed.
I received a bad copy. 19 Jun. 2014
By Lektronik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
My rating doesn't reflect the so-called "art". The poetry is awesome. This pressing has way too many crackles. There seems to be some adhesive residue pressed directly into the grooves. Mostly the inner grooves of one side, but in some other places too. It causes sonic monstrosities.
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