Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29

Thread: Charles Bukowski

  1. #1
    pessimist more or less Veva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where madness is just the lack of pragmatism
    Posts
    232
    Blog Entries
    14

    Charles Bukowski

    Hi,
    I just started reading Charles Bukowski's Ham on Rye, and I am wondering what you people think of his style, because I am quite puzzled.
    Stop asking where is God and keep asking where the hell is human!

  2. #2
    I haven't read Ham on Rye yet -- but I've read Post Office and I liked it (except for the anticlimactic ending). I really enjoyed the whole bad boy lowlife kind of style. Wry and nihilistic.

    I've read much of his poetry and I love them too

    I thought it was easy to digest, but I guess it's personal preferences.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,206

    Cool It's better with may Mayoinayse ,,,,

    or Dijon mustard!

  4. #4
    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    726
    As I said yesterday on another forum, I tend to think of him as kind of a caricature of John Fante, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, and Henry Miller. But I think that I should give him another chance at some point.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    24
    What's there to be confused about? Bukowski is the most honest writer of the 20th century.

    "Anticlimactic ending???" What do you mean, Phaedra's Love? I'm not sure you understand the concept behind the prose if you are expecting a climax of any kind in a Bukowski book.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    32
    I think he's great. I've read Post Office, Factotum and Pulp and many of his poems. His work is gritty, sure, and depicts an unpleasant underbelly of American life. If you find his stuff disturbing, I wouldn't blame him so much as society. He's an important literary figure for showing us the things he does.
    My writing blog:

    http://silprot.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
    pessimist more or less Veva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where madness is just the lack of pragmatism
    Posts
    232
    Blog Entries
    14
    Well,
    the way he is confusing for me is not in his plots or the ideas, it is just the way he puts them. Maybe what I find disturbing is the plain simplicity of his narrative, which in fact should be a good thing, but I still can't just get it in.
    Stop asking where is God and keep asking where the hell is human!

  8. #8
    This celestial seascape! Lynne50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Southern New Jersey near Philadelphia
    Posts
    337
    Ok, Phaedra's Love, Luke S, and Onikeflava You guys are very new to the forum and wouldn't know this but, you have just opened a whole kettle of worms. There has been much discussion on Charles Bukowski's poetry here on Litnet. Most people love, love, love him or hate, hate, hate him. There doesn't seem to be a middle of the road. Wait till you get some of the other litnetters started. Personally, I like him very much. I find his poems very honest and insightful, but that may be too strong a word.
    Any 'hater' out there want to begin this?
    "What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare." W.H. Davies

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    22
    I read Post Office and felt that he was ill-equipped as a writer and was trying far too hard to be offensive or shocking. As someone who can do a pretty good job at being offensive and shocking when I want to be, I give him a D in that department.

    But "the kids" seem to love him. I guess all it takes to be popular with the kids is to write about rape and heavy drinking.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    8,564
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynne50 View Post
    Ok, Phaedra's Love, Luke S, and Onikeflava You guys are very new to the forum and wouldn't know this but, you have just opened a whole kettle of worms. There has been much discussion on Charles Bukowski's poetry here on Litnet. Most people love, love, love him or hate, hate, hate him. There doesn't seem to be a middle of the road. Wait till you get some of the other litnetters started. Personally, I like him very much. I find his poems very honest and insightful, but that may be too strong a word.
    Any 'hater' out there want to begin this?
    You read my mind, Lynne, and I wanted to keep my mouth shut (or my keyboard untyped, rather), until I found someone else relating to me. I have only read one of his novels, Factotum, but immense amounts of his poetry, and, as odd as it sounds, since you cannot really call either of his types of literature prose-poetry (maybe his poetry, but it seems like a stretch), they read with quite a bit of similarity, their bluntness, their raw emotion, their Stoicism, and their subject matters of substance abuse, admissions of failures, shame, Hedonism, and the antihero complex.
    Like you, I have also found that most people have a love-hate relationship with Bukowski, and some even love and hate him simultaneously hardly knowing him or his works; personally, I feel the same about a contemporary of his, Richard Brautigan. Indeed, he sounded like a very disagreeable fellow - an alcoholic, a womanizer, outspoken, imprisoned a few times, slumming around L.A. for most of his life, but his literature seemed the very autobiography of his life - the stories of precisely these attributes of his in a low-life antihero. Everything detested, deviant, and dark, he embraced, much like several writers before him suffered for the sake of art, and ended up much as a sociological and psychological wasteful by-product of exactly what his parents bred him as, and even more as what such a pitiful societal circumstance nurtured him to, driven by his apparent self-loathing; denying his literature as one of the truest expressions of literary art seems a lot like denying the existence of a trashy neighborhood in a beautiful town.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by mono View Post
    denying his literature as one of the truest expressions of literary art seems a lot like denying the existence of a trashy neighborhood in a beautiful town.
    People can like him, but pretending like this is an accurate comparison is ridiculous. If Bukowski is one of the truest expressions of literary ART, then so are the scribblings on the back of every 10th grade boy's binder. It is base and nearly thoughtless.

    I think much of his impact is due to novelty since people are used to things appearing in only their appropriate places, and Bukowski is relatively well-known and talks about trash and the less touched upon elements of modern society. It can and has been done about a billion times better.

    Henry Miller, please.

  12. #12
    Bat Country Hank Stamper's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Ye Olde England
    Posts
    260
    ham on rye is his best work imo - his style might not win him much literary acclaim but i like him for the raw simplicity of his prose..
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Onikeflava View Post
    "Anticlimactic ending???" What do you mean, Phaedra's Love? I'm not sure you understand the concept behind the prose if you are expecting a climax of any kind in a Bukowski book.
    Sure, maybe I don't. Post Office is the first (and only) novel I've read by Bukowski, I'm not surprised that you feel I don't "understand the concept behind the prose".

    I don't mean that I felt the plot to be anticlimactic. I'm guessing -- forgive me if I'm wrong -- that you think the point of his text was, in fact, to be repetitive, portraying a life that gets nowhere, without ever achieving any kind of accomplishment (and even if a minor one is achieved, it all falls back down again). I don't find anything wrong with that. It's not like I wanted him to suddenly sober up and become the head of Post Office.

    I just thought the ending was too abrupt, too small to conclude such a book. Perhaps it was Bukowski's intent which I could not appreciate, just like how some people can't stand the brutal frankness of his voice despite it being fully intentional.


    Lynne50, a kettle of worms hey? I too very much like his poetry. "Question and Answer" remains as one of my all-time favourites, and "A Smile to Remember" made me cry.

    Hank Stamper, I hear that from everyone. I've got to read it sometime.

  14. #14
    Registered User paperleaves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    In a garage with books and mice.
    Posts
    448
    Blog Entries
    36
    I absolutely LOVE Charles Bukowski's poetry. I have had many discussions with Bukowski haters, and I do also understand where they are coming from. There is a certain level of appreciation that one must have for raw, intense, uninhibited poetry-- a disturbing, dirty, even sickening curiosity for the places he describes. I hope you enjoy Bukowski as much as I

    love,
    paper
    "real
    loneliness
    is not
    necessarily
    limited to
    when
    you are
    alone
    "
    -C. Bukowski

  15. #15
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The USA... or thereabouts
    Posts
    6,081
    Blog Entries
    78
    Ackkk!! 13 responses to the "poetry" of Charles Bukowski... one of the absolute worst poets ever... and the thread on Mallarme goes ignored.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
    http://stlukesguild.tumblr.com/

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Charles Dickens Thesis Part 1
    By TheBob in forum General Writing
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-05-2010, 03:03 AM
  2. No Subject
    By Unregistered in forum The Voyage of the Beagle
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-21-2010, 11:44 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •