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Jim HarrisonThe Pleasures of the Damned is an appropriately long collection because it is likely to stand as the definitive volume of Bukowski's poems. It is well edited by John Martin, the publisher of the estimable Black Sparrow Press, who was Bukowski's editor for most of his working life…I am not inclined to make elaborate claims for Bukowski, because there is no one to compare him to, plus or minus. He wrote in the language of his class as surely as Wallace Stevens wrote in the language of his own. This book offers you a fair chance to make up your own mind on this quarrelsome monster. It is ironical that those who man the gates of the canon will rarely if ever make it inside themselves. Bukowski came in a secret back door.
—The New York Times