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The Pleasures of the Damned: Poems, 1951-1993by Charles Bukowski
Synopses & Reviews
To his legions of fans, Charles Bukowski wasand — and remainsand — the quintessential counterculture icon. A hard-drinking wild man of literature and a stubborn outsider to the poetry world, he wrote unflinchingly about booze, work, and women, in raw, street-tough poems whose truth has struck a chord with generations of readers.
Edited by John Martin, the legendary publisher of Black Sparrow Press and a close friend of Bukowski's, The Pleasures of the Damned is a selection of the best works from Bukowski's long poetic career, including the last of his never-before-collected poems. Celebrating the full range of the poet's extraordinary and surprising sensibility, and his uncompromising linguistic brilliance, these poems cover a rich lifetime of experiences and speak to Bukowski's and "immense intelligence, the caring heart that saw through the sham of our pretenses and had pity on our human conditionand" (New York Quarterly).
The Pleasures of the Damned is an astonishing poetic treasure trove, essential reading for both longtime fans and those just discovering this unique and legendary American voice.
"Bukowski's chatty free verse (and fiction) about disappointment, drunkenness, racetracks, flophouses, lust, sexual failure, poverty and late-life success amassed an enormous following by the time of his death at age 73 in 1994. Billed as the last book with new Bukowski poems in it, this hefty collection also culls from his prior books, and it is all of a piece: the warnings about lost potency, the ironic takes on ailments of mind and body, the comradeship with everyone down at the heels, down on his luck, or down to his last shot of booze. Bukowski's best poems have an exaggerated, B-movie black-and-white aura about them. One new poem warns 'that/ nothing is wasted:/ either that/ or/ it all is.' In another, 'hell is only what we/ create,/ smoking these cigarettes,/ waiting here,/ wondering here.' Near the front of the volume comes a page-and-a-half-long verse manifesto, 'a poem is a city,' that might describe what Bukowski could do: 'a poem is a city filled with streets and sewers,' it begins, 'filled with saints, heroes, beggars, madmen... banality and booze,' and yet 'a poem is the world.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
< P> To his legions of fans, Charles Bukowski was& ndash; & ndash; and remains& ndash; & ndash; a counterculture icon. A hard& ndash; drinking wild man of literature, a stubborn outsider to the poetry world, he struck a chord with generations of readers, writing raw, tough poetry about booze, work, and women, that spoke to his fans as "real" and, like the work of the Beats, even dangerous. < /P> < P> THE PLEASURES OF THE DAMNED is a selection of the best works of Bukowski's later years, edited by John Martin of Black Sparrow Press, including the last of his new, never& ndash; before& ndash; published poems.< /P>
About the Author
Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry when he was thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three. During his lifetime he published over forty-five books of poetry and prose — many translated into more than a dozen languages. His worldwide popularity remains undiminished, and Ecco is proud to publish the five posthumous collections of his work (this volume is the fifth and final) in addition to a new selection of his later works, The Pleasures of the Damned.
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