Wednesday, December 23, 2015


wearing the collar

I live with a lady and four cats
and some days we all get

some days I have trouble with
one of the

other days I have trouble with
two of the

other days,

some days I have trouble with
all four of the

and the

ten eyes looking at me
as if I were a dog.


C H A R L E S     B U K O W S K I

"A large number of the poems published in the posthumous collections,
especially beginning with What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through
the Fire (1999), differ — sometimes radically so — from the manuscript version
of the very same poems. In an attempt to rescue Bukowski's genuine voice and style,
the poems in this volume are faithful reproductions of the original manuscripts. If a
given manuscript could not be found, then the appropriate magazine version was
used; literary magazine editors made very few changes — if any — even printing 
Bukowski's unintended typographical mistakes. The sources below indicate which
version is being used for each poem as well as its date of publication."

"Poems flagged as uncollected have previously appeared in small press magazine
only, but given their obscure nature and limited print runs — 200 or 300 copies, if that — 
it is almost as if they were never actually published. Likewise, while some of the poems printed
in this collection have appeared in previous Black Sparrow Press and Ecco volumes of
poetry, the versions made available here have never been published before. This book, 
then, is a collection of new poetry and prose by Charles Bukowski."

For a poet like Charles Bukowski, who certainly didn't begin his writing career with the
likes of Ecco Press, or even Black Sparrow Press, I have highlighted above an astonishing
statement by the editor Debritto, diminishing the very world where Charles Bukowski made 
his name and reputation: the small press magazine and those obscure journals with limited
print runs. His early bread & butter. His charter. His family. If I'm not mistaken, some part of
even the Ecco publishing organization also cut their teeth on publishing a small press journal
and drew authors from its vast underground. Best not to be smug re Bukowski's background.
He could be listening.

[ BA ]


Jonathan Chant said...

I have five cats. And a lady. Boy I can relate to this one.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas and thank you for all of the wonderful posts this year.

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

And to you Jonathan, and all the eyes!

cheers, Bob

Unknown said...

Just read your comment about my diminishing Bukowski's background in the small press. As you probably know, I wrote about Bukowski and the impact of the littles and the small press on his early career. I have always championed small press ventures. Always. The comment you highlighted could be taken as you did, but that was certainly not my intention. Taking into account the context, that comment simply means that given the obscure and limited nature of most littles, they didn't reach a large audience -to put it mildly. As you very well know, very few people (other than writers and editors) read the littles. But they were a very useful vehicle to publish new works by unknown writers at the time. I'm acknowledging their significance in the Bukowski book by saying I'm using the poems as they were first printed in the littles --rather than in the posthumous versions.


Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Dear Abel,

Very good to have your comment and further insight on the "littles" as they pertained to Bukowski — I would suggest when the book goes into a next printing to dash in here and dash in there your better sympathies to the small press world. No matter the author's later day success story, every fiber of his poetry, never mind his own physical appearance and character, spoke from the halls of Montezuma of the small press.It is often true that only editors and writers read the "littles" (they can't help it if they are geniuses). . .however, Charles Bukowski was one of them.

all's well, Bob