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What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire Paperback – 1 Dec 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (1 Dec. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574231057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574231052
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 2.6 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 1920 in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother, and brought to the United States at the age of two. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for over fifty years. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Poetry is always a private discovery, a secret, intimate 'wow!'. It can happen on the level of a single word, a line, an entire collection, or whole lifetime of work. I read poetry because I like surprises (if it helps you get an idea, I dabble and dip into Neruda, Thomas, both Hughes, bits of Heaney, Fenton and most of Walcott).
Discovering Bukowski (so I'm slow) has been the best surprise of my 36th year. I am delighted. I don't know how I got this far without him. I hug the book and walk round with it like a toddler with a blanket. NOT that it's a comfortable read - it gives me indigestion and keeps me awake at night, laughing and crying when I should be asleep. This book is a series of small, deft shocks. It's about drunks and tramps and whores - the ones on the street and the ones in publishing - about sinners and saints, sex and death, accidents, cars and the casualties of war in the 'ordinary café of the world'. It's even a bit about writing and how difficult it is to do - to write extraordinary things in ordinary language that hums between the covers even when not being read. Bukowski is fooling no one. He does it well. See for yourself!
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Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book of modern narrative poetry. Full of bad language, indecent images and the grit of a fairly shabby life, this ignores the grand old traditions of form and shape and tells it like it is. It's a Father Jack of a book (girls! drink! arse!).
Of course, if you like poetry done by the rules, you'll hate this. But I prefer a more conversational approach, where the focus is on imagery and a true to life description of feelings and emotions. This particular collection covers the young and old poet, so you can see his style develop, and see how the events of his life show through in his content. It is a very fine body of work and I heartedly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Bukowski is back with another epic collection of idiosyncratic poetry. The poems published in the collection were written between 1970 and 1990, and they were part of an archive that the great poet left behind to be published after his death.

As always, it's fascinating to see the way in which Bukowski used simple (and often profane) language in such a powerful way - his poems don't read like Shakespeare, they read like Bukowski talked, and that's what gives them their power. Bukowski wasn't a poet or a novelist - he was a storyteller, and it barely matters whether you're reading his prose or his poetry.

Take the first poem in the collection, for example - 'my father and the bum'. Bukowski had a troubled relationship with his father, who used to bully him as a child - here, we see his father's pride, and the way in which the opinions of his friends weighed heavy on him. Bukowski says: "My father believed in work. He was proud to have a job. Sometimes he didn't have a job and then he was very ashamed. He'd be so ashamed that he'd leave the house in the morning and then come back in the evening so the neighbours wouldn't know."

Of course, it's no secret that Bukowski hated his father - you would have too, the man, by all accounts, was a bastard. Just how extreme that hatred was is shown by his depiction of his father's cruelty: "My father caught the baby mice - they were still alive and he flung them in to the flaming incinerator, one by one. The flames leaped out and I wanted to throw my father in there, but my being 10 years old made that impossible."

But let's get back to the book as a whole. It was published by Black Sparrow Press, the legendary poetry firm that was formed by John Martin, ostensibly to publish Bukowski's work.
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