inspired by Bukowski

I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the Blogosphere, and while I’ve been here I’ve noticed a common reoccurrence of Bukowski quotes. So, a couple of months ago I purchased a book of his – Love is a Dog From Hell. It’s 300 pages of mostly sexual encounters, in poetic form. I suppose what makes Bukowski so appealing is that he is easy to read. His language is simple yet rhythmic. And the content is certainly of relatable matters. Descriptions of the women he has slept with, the lack of inspiration they provide to his heart and general feelings of discontent. Just reading his words makes me feel like I am at home, even if home has an air of malaise to it.

However, not everyone is a fan. To a couple of the people I have mentioned Bukowski to, I have met groans and surprised disdain. Particularly one friend, who I consider to have a much greater understanding of poetic works than I do, based mostly on the fact that he has read more and been interested for longer. His comments to me were that Bukowski was lacklustre, and ruined by the hype given to him. Or at least, something along those lines. And then he thrust several Pablo Neruda poems into my hand.

Does enjoying Bukowski reduce my literary credit?

I really don’t think it does. I’m just going to put the disparaging remarks of my friend down to personal opinion, and part of his own identity. After all, the reactions of others say more about them than they do about whatever we did to cause them.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that though. But Bukowski has some words for that.

From Charles Bukowski's poem 'Trapped', featured in his book 'Love is a Dog From Hell'

From Charles Bukowski’s poem ‘Trapped’, featured in his book ‘Love is a Dog From Hell’

So just remember that when life (or other people) have you down and wanting to scream out, you are bigger than the mountains.


1 thought on “inspired by Bukowski

  1. D.D.

    I have a feeling I know who you’re referring to in regards to the person who is well read. Valid point regarding the over hype affecting it. I think the idea is that C.B. is so accessible due to popularity by people (including laymen like myself) who may not be well read enough to critically evaluate and compare his work to a wide variety of others. Obviously if something is half decent and you don’t have anything to compare to, then it might feel better than it really is.

    That said, the point of these things is to enjoy them. If you find you are inspired or enjoy certain works, then by all means continue to enjoy them. Follow your friend’s advice and continually expand your range, but make your own decisions about them. People get different meanings out of different things, and it’s not an indicator of intelligence or ‘literary credit’. In fact, if you find more meaning than someone else in a particular work, it could mean you have a broader range of experiences to draw upon in that particular area. It’s all subjective after all!


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