Customer Review

4 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beats me, 21 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Pleasures of the Damned: Selected Poems 1951-1993 (Paperback)
take it
one day at
a
time
they told me.
Shove that.
One
or two
at most three
words
at a
time`s more
my line
Makes it look
like
I`m
Beat,
as well as
beat.
A man
once
stuck a pile of
bricks
in a museum,
called it
art.
One
brick
at
a
time
for me
It`s poetry
cause
I
say
it is
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Nov 2010 19:30:25 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 May 2014 17:34:58 BDT
GlynLuke says:
Let that stand as my `review`, here`s a further, fuller commentary, if I may be so extravagant.
It saddens me to see so many taken in by Bukowski`s poetry (nearly as much as it saddens me to disagree with such heroes of mine as Tom Waits & Leonard Cohen, who have both praised him).
I can enjoy his poems in small doses - they are laughably self-referential and aggressively unmetrical; verse so `free` gives liberty a bad name - when I am in a certain lowdown, gutter-mood, but surely 90% of this is the kind of self-indulgent stuff one writes reams of as a teenager (I`ve got the notebooks to prove it) but later grows out of.
All this sounds a mite pompous and censorious, I am aware. But may I challenge those readers who are perhaps new to most poetry: having devoured these gritty poems, please then seek out the 20th century American poets who, to my mind, really matter. Seeing as you ask, my pick would be: the justly venerated Robert Frost, the great Richard Wilbur, Robert Bly, Robert Hayden (what a lot of Bobs), Anthony Hecht, marvellous Denise Levertov, Louis Simpson, Samuel Menashe, Sharon Olds, wonderful William Stafford, William Carlos Williams, Theodore Roethke, the Canadian Alden Nowlan, mercurial Galway Kinnell, James Wright, and of course Sylvia Plath. Then try the astonishing, often `difficult` Wallace Stevens, as a treat! There are many more.
Poetry should never be a contest, but any of the above beat CB into a cocked hat. The simplest poem by Frost, the blithest poem by Bly, will nourish you in more ways than Bukowski at his best - whatever that might be. It saddens me too that CB`s profile gets higher while some of the abovementioned poets` profiles just get lower through relative neglect.
Many will disagree with me, I know. Nevertheless, thanks for reading this.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Nov 2010 18:49:29 GMT
Johnshade says:
Charles Bukowski is not your 'everyday' poet, he tends to throw out the technical side of things and hit the raw emotion with free verse.
Some of the poets you picked are my favourites also, but Charles Bukowski poems have opened the world of literature to some that may have never picked up a book.
From your review it seems you stand at a 'literary academic' type of view of poetry which is fine but poets like Phillip Larkins, C.B, Rod Mckuen greatest and most popular works of art are usually shunned by the critics and loved by the people.
Recommended Bukowski poems- The Laughing Heart- Bluebird- Roll The Dice

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2010 13:56:57 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 29 Nov 2010 13:57:49 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2010 15:54:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Nov 2010 15:56:13 GMT
GlynLuke says:
Sorry, my reply to above post isn`t being printed. Amazon...?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2010 18:27:06 GMT
GlynLuke says:
Johnshade,
What a strange trio of poets you mention: Larkin, McKuen, Bukowski.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (in that order)? Haven`t seen a McKuen poem for years, but I do remember the over-sweetened sentimental taste they left.
Of course it`s a good thing when one poet - or painter or novelist etc - leads one on to another, perhaps `better` one.
I`m certanly no academic, merely a poetry lover. I just think Bukowski (in fact most of the Beats, incl Ginsberg) are lazy poets who all too often used arbitrary, approximate language which makes them appear spuriously spontaneous, but doesn`t make them good poets.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2010 20:13:51 GMT
Johnshade says:
Hmm interesting, you do express your distaste for the likes of Charles Bukowski and others very well I must say, and I do understand where your coming from but I disagree.

However The Beats, Charles etc are 'Avant Garde' poets, so for me they are a 'breath of fresh air'.
At the end of the day writers with great influence or a meaningful legacy are good poets in my book.

Not a fan of Mckuen by the way just used him as an example, I also acknowledge Bukowski's inconsistency perhaps because he was drunk the whole time.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Nov 2010 13:49:20 GMT
GlynLuke says:
Johnshade,
We can`t go on meeting like this... A funny thing about the Bukowskis of this world is that it`s good to have them around. A world full of only Audens and Larkins would be less various.
I grew up on the Beats, mainly the novels (and occasionally poems) of Kerouac. But - dare I say this -I feel like I`ve `outgrown` them now, or perhaps I look for sharper, profounder writing.
By the way, the very fine Matt Dillon brilliantly played a version of CB in an excellent film based on his novel Factotum.
One thing my `poetic review` was trying to say is simply how ridiculous CB`s one-word-to-a-line poems can seem after a short while. Is it even poetry, in the end? An unanswerable question...

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2011 12:28:42 BDT
Archy says:
Thanks for the references - useful, even though I enjoyed Bukowski's poems. But if 'poetry should never be a contest' isn't there room for all types and all styles, without needing to see someone 'beat CB into a cocked hat'?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2011 13:25:04 BDT
GlynLuke says:
Merely a figure of speech, Archy, but a fair point.

Posted on 16 Aug 2011 02:27:31 BDT
comely says:
I think you've missed the beauty of his poetry entirely. Prosaic, definitely not lazy writing. Similar to Pound's personae. He wasn't a 'beat' either.
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Review Details

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4.3 out of 5 stars (16 customer reviews)
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GlynLuke
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Location: York UK

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