Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way

( 2 )

Overview

from "neither Shakespeare nor Mickey Spillane"

young young young, only wanting the Word,
going mad in the streets and in the bars,
...

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Overview

from "neither Shakespeare nor Mickey Spillane"

young young young, only wanting the Word,
going mad in the streets and in the bars,
brutal fights, broken glass, crazy women screaming in your cheap room,
you a familiar guest at the drunk tank, North
Avenue 21, Lincoln Heights

sifting through the madness for the Word, the line the way,
hoping for a check from somewhere,
dreaming of a letter from a great editor:
"Chinaski, you don't know how long we've beenwaiting for you!"

no chance at all.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
By the time he died in 1994, Charles Bukowski had achieved international fame and notoriety as a postmodern Villon, a troubadour of the down-and-out and the misbegotten. "I have compassion for almost all the individuals of the world," he once said; "at the same time, they repulse me." The poems and short stories of this German-born Los Angeleno rendered the lives of flophouse friends, prostitutes, and hopeless alcoholics with warts-and-all precision. This 400-page collection presents the last great batch of Bukowski's poetic work.
Publishers Weekly
When HarperCollins and Ecco Press acquired part of the Black Sparrow imprint early this year, one big prize was the sprawling, long-popular oeuvre of Charles Bukowski (Barfly; Ham on Rye; Love Is a Dog from Hell). Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way: New Poems, Bukowski's 10th posthumous volume (with several more planned), collects yet more verse about the troubled, garrulous poet's traveling, gambling, thinking, aging, working, not working, romancing, drinking, self-mythologizing and even eating ("I opened a can of roastbeef hash/ and some pickled beets") as he fought through his blue-collar, beer-hall L.A.
Library Journal
Yet another collection of unpublished poems by the prolific Bukowski (who died in 1994), this is the first volume to appear since the demise of his longtime publisher, Black Sparrow Press. Yet it feels more like a transitional collection than a posthumous one. Readers are introduced to a gentler, mellower "Hank" (his longtime narrator), who admits that "you can't know how good it feels driving in for a wash-/ and wax with nothing to do but light a cigarette and/ wait in the sun with no overdue rent, no troubles to speak of." His bar stool has been replaced by a Jacuzzi, and he mingles with the rich and famous, sitting in the clubhouse at the racetrack. Of course, as he admits in another poem, "old habits often die/ as slowly/ as do/ old men." So we still find the whores, the drunks, and the memories of nights on bar stools and in cheap hotel rooms. This volume is essential for Bukowski fans and an excellent introduction for new readers.-Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060568238
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/6/2004
  • Edition description: 1st Ecco Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 311,767
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.04 (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

sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way
new poems

so you want to be a writer?

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
fame,
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don'tdo it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way
new poems
. Copyright © by Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

So you want to be a writer? 3
My secret life 6
The column 16
Commerce 18
The Mexican fighters 22
This dog 25
The great escape 28
A quick one 30
The old anarchist 32
And I still won't vote 33
Just trying to do a good deed 35
One step removed 38
My life as a sitcom 39
A mechanical Lazarus 41
My god 45
After the sandstorm 46
Carry on! 48
Straw hats 53
Drink and wait 56
Basking in the evil light 57
What can I do? 63
Out of the sickroom and into the white blazing sun 64
Temporal ease 66
You never liked me 68
Our big day at the movies 71
About competition 75
Fingernails 76
Iron 80
Extraterrestrial visitor 85
Small talk 86
Too sweet 89
Work-fuck problems 91
Observations on music 94
Fly boy 96
Unblinking grief 101
Houses and dark streets 102
The joke is on the sun 105
Like a polluted river flowing 109
Girlfriends 111
Escape 1942 113
A strange horse poem 115
The longest snake in the world 119
The niceties 124
Time to water the plants and feed the cat 127
I'm flattered 129
Neither Shakespeare nor Mickey Spillane 132
Show business 135
Pop! 137
The interview 138
Re-union 140
Genius unfettered 141
Bob 145
Bearclaw morning 147
Death and transfiguration 152
Warriors in this place 153
A sickness? 155
A fine night 162
Riots 165
Venice Beach 166
The con job 167
Looking back 169
The love poems of Catullus 177
Dream girl 179
Empties 181
The landlady 186
About the mail 188
Have you ever pulled a lion's tail? 191
Who needs it? 193
Tight black pants 194
The weirdest day 195
Burning bright 201
The death of a hero 202
Hooked 204
Found poems 206
Runaway inflation 208
The significance was obscure 210
Cracking the odds 211
Working through it all 216
Giving thanks 217
Los Angeles 224
2,294 225
Why do you write so many poems about death? 226
Evidence 228
A wise ass 231
The dressmaker 234
Lunch in Beverly Hills 237
She was really mad 239
A tree, a road, a toad 240
In one ear and out the other 242
Excuses 244
Bygone days 245
In a lady's bedroom 248
Model friend 250
The invitation 257
Hollywood hustle 258
Buddha Chinaski says 259
Like Lazarus 262
Soft and fat like summer roses 269
In transit 271
"Dear Mr. Chinaski" 274
Silverfish 275
The popularity kid 277
Death and white glue 280
Fun times: 1930 282
My bully 284
Ow ow ow 288
The singers 290
The march 292
The way things are 295
Words for you 296
Strictly bullshit 298
Written before I got one 300
Straight on 302
Remember this 304
Now see here 306
Little poem 308
Gertrude up the stairway, 1943 311
Where was I? 313
Sloppy day 317
Note on the telephone 325
At the edge 328
Heads without faces, seen in all the places 330
Coming awake 332
The simple truth 334
Here and now 336
Crazy world 341
Good stuff 342
Respite 346
The horse player 348
Displaced 350
In search of a hero 352
Escapade 358
Burning, burning 359
Upon reading an interview with a best-selling novelist 361
Nothing to it 362
This place 364
A.D. 701-762 366
Regrets of a sort 368
Too young 371
Listening to the radio at 1:35 a.m 373
Unclassical symphony 374
Dinner for free 375
A song from the 70's 379
.188 380
War some of the time 382
At last 383
Misbegotten paradise 386
My big night on the town 390
Nobody but you 393
Like a dolphin 395
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

so you want to be a writer?

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
fame,
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doingit
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way. Copyright © by Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

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