The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship

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Overview

A book length collaboration between two underground legends, Charles Bukowski and Robert Crumb. Bukowski's last journals candidly and humorously reveal the events in the writer's life as death draws inexorably nearer, thereby illuminating our own lives and natures, and to give new meaning to what was once only familiar. Crumb has illustrated the text with 12 full-page drawings and a portrait of Bukowski.

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The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship

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Overview

A book length collaboration between two underground legends, Charles Bukowski and Robert Crumb. Bukowski's last journals candidly and humorously reveal the events in the writer's life as death draws inexorably nearer, thereby illuminating our own lives and natures, and to give new meaning to what was once only familiar. Crumb has illustrated the text with 12 full-page drawings and a portrait of Bukowski.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574230598
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Pages: 145
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Bukowski

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 Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

Biography

During the course of his long, prolific literary career, Charles Bukowski was known as a poet, novelist, short story writer, and journalist. But it is as a cult figure, an "honorary beat" who chronicled his notorious lifestyle in raw, unflinching poetry and prose, that he is best remembered. Born in the aftermath of World War I to a German mother and an American serviceman of German descent, he was brought to the U.S. at the age of three and raised in Los Angeles. By all accounts, his childhood was lonely and unhappy: His father beat him regularly, and he suffered from debilitating shyness and a severely disfiguring case of acne. By his own admission, he underwent a brief flirtation with the far right, associating as a teenager with Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. After high school, he attended Los Angeles City College for two years, studying art, literature, and journalism before dropping out.

Although two of his stories were published in small literary magazines while he was still in his early 20s, Bukowski became discouraged by his lack of immediate success and gave up writing for ten years. During this time he drifted around the country, working odd jobs; fraternizing with bums, hustlers, and whores; and drinking so excessively that he nearly died of a bleeding ulcer.

In the late 1950s, Bukowski returned to writing, churning out copious amounts of poetry and prose while supporting himself with mind-numbing clerical work in the post office. Encouraged and mentored by Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin, he finally quit his job in 1969 to concentrate on writing full time. In 1985, he married his longtime girlfriend Linda Lee Beighle. Together they moved to San Pedro, California, where Bukowski began to live a saner, more stable existence. He continued writing until his death from leukemia in 1994, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

Bukowski mined his notorious lifestyle for an oeuvre that was largely autobiographical. In literally thousands of poems, he celebrated the skid row drunks and derelicts of his misspent youth; and, between 1971 and 1989, he penned five novels (Post Office, Factotum, Women, Ham on Rye, and Hollywood) featuring Henry Chinaski, an alcoholic, womanizing, misanthrope he identified as his literary alter ego. (He also wrote the autobiographical screenplay for the 1987 film Barfly, starring Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway.) Yet, for all the shock value of his graphic language and violent, unlovely images, Bukowski's writing retains a startling lyricism. Today, years after his death, he remains one of the 20th century's most influential and widely imitated writers.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      August 16, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Andernach, Germany
    1. Date of Death:
      March 9, 1994
    2. Place of Death:
      San Pedro, California
    1. Education:
      Los Angeles City College, 2 years

Read an Excerpt

Capt Is Out to Lunch


By Charles Bukowski

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright ©2000 Charles Bukowski
All right reserved.

ISBN: 157423059X

Chapter One

Good day at the track, damn near swept the card.

Yet it gets boring out there, even when you're winning. It's the 30 minute wait between races, your life leaking out into space. The people look gray out there, walked through. And I'm there with them. But where else could I go? An Art Museum? Imagine staying home all day and playing at writer? I could wear a little scarf. I remember this poet who used to come by on the bum. Buttons off his shirt, puke on his pants, hair in eyes, shoelaces undone, but he had this long scarf which he kept very clean. That signaled that he was a poet. His writing? Well, forget it....

Came in, swam in the pool, then went to the spa. My soul is in danger. Always has been.

Was sitting on the couch with Linda, the good dark night descending, when there was a knock on the door. Linda got it.

"Better come here, Hank..."

I walked to the door, barefooted, in my robe. A young blond guy, a young fat girl and a medium sized girl.

"They want your autograph..."

"I dorft see people," I told them.

"We just want your autograph," said the blond guy, "then we promise never to come back."

Then he started giggling, and holding his head. Thegirls just stared.

"But none of you have a pen or even a piece of paper," I said.

"Oh," said the blond kid, taking his hands from his

head, "We'll come back again with a book! Maybe at a more proper time ... "

The bathrobe. The bare feet. Maybe the kid thought I was eccentric. Maybe I was.

"Don't come in the morning," I told them.

I saw them begin to walk off and I closed the door...

Now I'm up here writing about them. You've got to be a little hard with them or they'll swarm you. I've had some horrible experiences blocking that door. So many of them think that somehow you'll invite them in and drink with them all night. I prefer to drink alone. A writer owes nothing except to his writing. He owes nothing to the reader except the availability of the printed page. And worse, many of the doorknockers are not even readers. They've just heard something. The best reader and the best human is the one who rewards me with his or her absence.

Slow at the track today, my damned life dangling on the hook. I am there every day. I don't see anybody else out there every day except the employees. I probably have some malady. Saroyan lost his ass at the track, Fante at poker, Dostoevsky at the wheel. And it's really not a matter of the money unless you run out of it. I had a gambler friend once who said, "I dorft care if I win or lose, I just want to gamble." I have more respect for money. I've had very little of it most of my life. I know what a park bench is, and the landlord's knock. There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.

I suppose there's always something out there we want to torment ourselves with. And at the track you get the feel

of the other people, the desperate darkness, and how easy they toss it in and quit. The racetrack crowd is the world brought down to size, life grinding against death and losing. Nobody wins finally, we are just seeking a reprieve, a

moment out of the glare. (Shit, the lighted end of my cigarette just hit one of my fingers as I was musing on this purposelessness. That woke me up, brought me out of this

Sartre state!) Hell, we need humor, we need to laugh. I used to laugh more, I used to do everything more, except write. Now, I am writing and writing and writing, the older

I get the more I write, dancing with death. Good show. And I think the stuff is all right. One day they'll say, "Bukowski is dead," and then I will be truly discovered

and hung from stinking bright lampposts. So what? Immortality is the stupid invention of the living. You see

what the racetrack does? It makes the lines roll. Lightning and luck. The last bluebird singing. Anything I say sounds fine because I gamble when I write. Too many are too careful. They study, they teach and they fail. Convention strips them of their fire.

I feel better now, up here on this second floor with the Macintosh. My pal.

And Mahler is on the radio, he glides with such ease, taking big chances, one needs that sometimes. Then he sends in the long power rises. Thank you, Mahler, I borrow from you and I can never pay you back.

I smoke too much, I drink too much but I can1 write too much, it just keeps coming and I call for more and it arrives and mixes with Mahler. Sometimes I deliberately Stop myself. I say, wait a moment, go to sleep or look at Your 9 cats or sit with your wife on the couch. You're either at the track or with the Macintosh. And then I stop, Put on the brakes, park the damned thing. Some people have written that my writing has helped them go on. It has helped me too. The writing, the horses, the 9 cats.

There's a small balcony here, the door is open and I call see the lights of the cars on the Harbor Freeway south, they never stop, that roll of lights, on and on. All those people. What are they doing? What are they thinking? We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesnt. We are terrOrized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.

Keep it going, Mahler! You've made this a wondrous night. Don't stop, you son-of-a-bitch! Don't stop!



Continues...


Excerpted from Capt Is Out to Lunch by Charles Bukowski Copyright ©2000 by Charles Bukowski. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 26, 2011

    No illustrations

    The writing of course was great but my download didn't include a single drawing and i was especially looking forward to the portrait. I feel ripped off....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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