Synopses & Reviews
the gas line is leaking, the bird is gone from the
cage, the skyline is dotted with vultures;
Benny finally got off the stuff and Betty now has a job
as a waitress; and
the chimney sweep was quite delicate as he
giggled up through the
I walked miles through the city and recognized
nothing as a giant claw ate at my
stomach while the inside of my head felt
airy as if I was about to go
its not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
theres no release, just gurus and self-
appointed gods and hucksters.
the more people say, the less there is to say.
even the best books are dry sawdust.
—from "fingernails; nostrils; shoelaces"
"In a posthumously published poem, Bukowski says he's succeeded 'If you read this after I am long dead.' By that standard, he is indeed a success: this fifth and purportedly last posthumous book published since his death in 1994 offers his still-large audience more of what made Bukowski (1921 1994) and his hard-drinking alter ego Henry Chinaski famous, as chronicled, for example, in the films Barfly and Factotum. Rapid, chatty free verse records his devotion to racehorses, boxing and drinking; his sexual exploits and failures; his contempt for highbrow, hoity-toity literati, and his countervailing yearnings for literary fame. Early on, the poems show unapologetic nostalgia: in 'the 1930s,' 'the landlord/ only got his rent/ when you had/ it.' Some of the most memorable poems here record the poet's anxieties and delights while caring for his daughter. The final pages are devoted to fate, last things, old age, mortality and retrospectives on Bukowski's hard-drinking, prolific career: 'we were not put here to/ enjoy easy days and/ nights.' Bukowski's style did not change in his last years; readers who have already written him off are unlikely to change their minds. Fans, however, may discover one of his strongest, most affecting books." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The fifth and final collection of poems from one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose--and many would claim its most influential and imitated poet.
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.