Charles Bukowski's posthumous legend continues to grow. Factotum is a masterfully vivid evocation of slow-paced, low-life urbanity and alcoholism, and an excellent introduction to the fictional world of Charles Bukowski.
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 “immense intelligence, the caring heart that saw through the sham of our pretenses and had pity on our human condition” (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.
With all of Bukowski's trademark humor and gritty, dark honesty, this 1978 follow-up to Post Office and Factotum is an uncompromising account of life on the edge.
young young young, only wanting the Word,
going mad in the streets and in the bars,
brutal fights, broken glass, crazy women
your cheap room,
you a familiar guest at the drunk tank, North
Avenue 21, Lincoln Heights
sifting through the madness for the Word, the
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.
Bukowski . . . "a professional disturber of the peace . . . laureate of Los Angeles netherworld [writes with] crazy romantic insistence that losers are less phony than winners, and with an angry compassion for the lost." —Jack Kroll, Newsweek
"Bukowski’s poems are extraordinarily vivid and often bitterly funny observations of people living on the very edge of oblivion. His poetry, in all it’s glorious simplicity, was accessible the way poetry seldom is – a testament to his genius." —Nick Burton, PIF Magazine
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he went on to publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including books published by City Lights Publishers such as Notes of a Dirty Old Man, More Notes of a Dirty Old Man, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, Tales of Ordinary Madness, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, Absence of the Hero and The Bell Tolls for No One,.
"Collections such as The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (1983) . . . showcase Bukowski's impressive narrative and creative abilities in stories that most often take place in bars and dingy apartments but are not simply about sex and alcohol. They're about staying alive in a world where the only choice for the majority of us is to face a firing squad in an office every day—the post office, in Bukowski's case—or maintain a commitment to creativity as we struggle to pay for food and a meager place to live." —Adam Perry, Santa Fe Reporter
Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany on August 16, 1920, the only child of an American soldier and a German mother. At the age of three, he came with his family to the United States and grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles City College from 1939 to 1941, then left school and moved to New York City to become a writer. His lack of publishing success at this time caused him to give up writing in 1946 and spurred a ten-year stint of heavy drinking. After he developed a bleeding ulcer, he decided to take up writing again. He worked a wide range of jobs to support his writing, including dishwasher, truck driver and loader, mail carrier, guard, gas station attendant, stock boy, warehouse worker, shipping clerk, post office clerk, parking lot attendant, Red Cross orderly, and elevator operator. He also worked in a dog biscuit factory, a slaughterhouse, a cake and cookie factory, and he hung posters in New York City subways.
Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he went on to publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including Pulp (Black Sparrow, 1994), Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters 1960-1970 (1993), and The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992). City Lights Publishers have published more of his works including Absence of a the Hero, Portions of a Wine-Stained Notebook, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, Tales of Ordinary Madness, and The Bell Tolls for No One. He died of leukemia in San Pedro on March 9, 1994.
"People come to my door—too many of them really—and knock to tell me Notes of a Dirty Old Man turns them on. A bum off the road brings in a gypsy and his wife and we talk . . . . drink half the night. A long distance operator from Newburgh, N.Y. sends me money. She wants me to give up drinking beer and to eat well. I hear from a madman who calls himself 'King Arthur' and lives on Vine Street in Hollywood and wants to help me write my column. A doctor comes to my door: 'I read your column and think I can help you. I used to be a psychiatrist.' I send him away . . ."
"Bukowski writes like a latter-day Celine, a wise fool talking straight from the gut about the futility and beauty of life . . ." —Publishers Weekly
"These disjointed stories gives us a glimpse into the brilliant and highly disturbed mind of a man who will drink anything, hump anything and say anything without the slightest tinge of embarassment, shame or remorse. It's actually pretty hard not to like the guy after reading a few of these semi-ranting short stories." —Greg Davidson, curiculummag.com
Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany on August 16, 1920, the only child of an American soldier and a German mother. Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he went on to publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including Pulp (Black Sparrow, 1994), Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters 1960-1970 (1993), and The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992). Other Bukowski books published by City Lights Publishers include More Notes of a Dirty Old Man, The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, Tales of Ordinary Madness, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, and Absence of the Hero. He died of leukemia in San Pedro on March 9, 1994.
—Joyce Carol Oates
“He brought everybody down to earth, even the angels.”
—Leonard Cohen, songwriter
Arguably the most imitated and influential American poet of the previous half-century, Charles Bukowski remains a counter-culture icon more than a decade after his death. The Continual Condition is a collection of never-before-published poems by the inimitable Bukowski—raw, tough, odes to alcohol, women, work, and despair by a rebel author equally adept at poetry and prose. Charles Bukowski lives on in The Continual Condition, a godsend for admirers of his previous collections Slouching Toward Nirvana, The Pleasures of the Damned, and Love is a Dog From Hell, as well as his novels Factotum, Ham on Rye, and Pulp.
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
it’s not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
there’s 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"
“The cat is the beautiful devil.”
Felines touched a vulnerable spot in Charles Bukowski’s crusty soul. For the writer, there was something majestic and elemental about these inscrutable creatures he admired, sentient beings whose searing gaze could penetrate deep into our being. Bukowski considered cats to be unique forces of nature, elusive emissaries of beauty and love.
On Cats offers Bukowski’s musings on these beloved animals and their toughness and resiliency. He honors them as fighters, hunters, survivors who command awe and respect as they grip tightly onto the world around them: “A cat is only ITSELF, representative of the strong forces of life that won’t let go.”
Funny, moving, tough, and caring, On Cats brings together the acclaimed writer’s reflections on these animals he so admired. Bukowski’s cats are fierce and demanding—he captures them stalking their prey; crawling across his typewritten pages; waking him up with claws across the face. But they are also affectionate and giving, sources of inspiration and gentle, insistent care.
Poignant yet free of treacle, On Cats is an illuminating portrait of this one-of-a-kind artist and his unique view of the world, witnessed through his relationship with the animals he considered his most profound teachers.
Our second volume of his uncollected prose, Absence of the Hero is a major addition to the Bukowski canon, essential for fans, yet suitable for new readers as an introduction to the wide range of his work.
"He loads his head full of coal and diamonds shoot out of his finger tips. What a trick. The mole genius has left us with another digest. It's a full house--read 'em and weep."—Tom Waits
"This second volume of Bukowski's uncollected stories and essays offers all that Bukowski is known for—wry obscenity, smutty wisdom, seeming ramblings whose hidden smarts catch you unaware--but in addition there are moments here in which he takes off the mask and strips away the bravado to show himself at his most vulnerable and human. A must for Bukowski aficionados."—Brian Evenson, author of Last Days and The Open Curtain
"Like a brass-rail Existentialist or a skid-row Transcendentalist, [Bukowski] is candid, unblinking, leaving it to his readers to cast their own judgment about his mishaps, his drinking, his sexual appetite or his own pessimism. He is Ralph Waldo Emerson as a Dirty Old Man, not lounging in the grape-arbor of Concord, Massachusetts, but bent-over a table in an L.A. flophouse scribbling in pencil to the strains of Sibelius."—Paul Maher Jr., Phawker
"[Bukowski] could be generous and mean-spirited, heroic and defensive, spot-on and slanted, but he became the world-class writer he had set out to be; he has joined the permanent anti-canon or shadow-canon whose denizens had shown him the way. Today the frequent allusions to him in both popular and mainstream culture tend more to respect than mockery. If scholarship has lagged, this book would indicate that this situation is changing."—Gerald Locklin, Resources for American Literary Study
"The pieces range over nearly half a century, and include a story about a baseball player seized by a sudden bout of existential paralysis, along with early, graphically sexual (and masterfully comic) stories published in such smut mags as Candid Press."—Penthouse
"An absolute must for fans of Charles Bukowski's work, Absence of a Hero is also a welcome addition to public and college library literary studies shelves."—Midwest Book Review
climbing back up out of the ooze, out of
the thick black tar,
rising up again, a modern
you're amazed at your good
somehow you've had more
than your share of second
hell, accept it.
what you have, you have.
you walk and look in the bathroom
at an idiot's smile.
you know your luck.
some go down and never climb back up.
something is being kind to you.
you turn from the mirror and walk into the
you find a chair, sit down, light a cigar.
back from a thousand wars
you look out from an open door into the silent
Sibelius plays on the radio.
nothing has been lost or destroyed.
you blow smoke into the night,
tug at your right
baby, right now, you've got it
Edited by Bukowski scholar David Stephen Calonne, More Notes of a Dirty Old Man features an afterword outlining the history of the column and its effect on the author's creative development.
Born in Andernach, Germany in 1920, Charles Bukowski came to California at age three and spent most of his life in Los Angeles. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994.
there are the dead, the deadly and the dying.
there is the cross, the builders of the cross and the burners of the
the pattern of my life forms like a cheap shadow
on the wall before me.
what is left of it
now must crawl
to wherever it can crawl.
the strongest know that death is
and the happiest are those gifted with the
"The uncollected gutbucket ramblings of the grand dirty old man of Los Angeles letters have been gathered in this characteristically filthy, funny compilation ... Bukowkski's gift was a sense for the raunchy absurdity of life, his writing a grumble that might turn into a belly laugh or a racking cough but that always throbbed with vital energy."—Kirkus Reviews
Born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, Charles Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he would eventually publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose. He died of leukemia in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994.
David Stephen Calonne is the author of several books and has edited three previous collections of the uncollected work of Charles Bukowski for City Lights: Absence of the Hero, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, and More Notes of a Dirty Old Man.
Charles Bukowski’s stories, poems, and novels have left an enduring mark on our culture. In this collection of correspondence—letters to publishers, editors, friends, and fellow writers—the writer shares his insights on the art of creation.
On Writing reveals an artist brutally frank about the drudgery of work and canny and uncompromising about the absurdities of life—and of art. It illuminates the hard-edged, complex humanity of a true American legend and counterculture icon—the “laureate of American lowlife” (Time)—who stoically recorded society’s downtrodden and depraved. It exposes an artist grounded in the visceral, whose work reverberates with his central ideal: “Don't try.”
Piercing, poignant, and often hilarious, On Writing is filled not only with memorable lines but also with Bukowski’s trademark toughness, leavened with moments of grace, pathos, and intimacy.
Charles Bukowski was a man of intense emotions, someone an editor once called a “passionate madman.” In On Love, we see Bukowski reckoning with the complications and exaltations of love, lust, and desire. Alternating between tough and gentle, sensitive and gritty, Bukowski lays bare the myriad facets of love—its selfishness and its narcissism, its randomness, its mystery and its misery, and, ultimately, its true joyfulness, endurance, and redemptive power.
Bukowski is brilliant on love—often amusing, sometimes playful, and fleetingly sweet. On Love offers deep insight into Bukowski the man and the artist; whether writing about his daughter, his lover, his friends, or his work, he is piercingly honest and poignantly reflective, using love as a prism to see the world in all its beauty and cruelty, and his own fragile place in it. “My love is a hummingbird sitting that quiet moment on the bough,” he writes, “as the same cat crouches.”
Brutally honest, flecked with humor and pathos, On Love reveals Bukowski at his most candid and affecting.
Sheri Martinelli was one of the favored few for whom Bukowski dropped the mask and engaged in serious discussion of literature and art, and for that reason the discovery and publication of his letters to her give us a more complete picture of this complicated man.
Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist. Her work expresses the intricacies of love and loss. Love & Misadventure is her first poetry collection.
From the Hardcover edition.
Belonging in the immortal company of the great works of literature, Dante Alighieri’s poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise—the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.
Now, for the first time, John Ciardi’s brilliant and authoritative translations of Dante’s three soaring canticles—The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso—have been gathered together in a single volume. Crystallizing the power and beauty inherent in the great poet’s immortal conception of the aspiring soul, The Divine Comedy is a dazzling work of sublime truth and mystical intensity.
This long-awaited new edition of Lattimore's Iliad is designed to bring the book into the twenty-first century—while leaving the poem as firmly rooted in ancient Greece as ever. Lattimore's elegant, fluent verses—with their memorably phrased heroic epithets and remarkable fidelity to the Greek—remain unchanged, but classicist Richard Martin has added a wealth of supplementary materials designed to aid new generations of readers. A new introduction sets the poem in the wider context of Greek life, warfare, society, and poetry, while line-by-line notes at the back of the volume offer explanations of unfamiliar terms, information about the Greek gods and heroes, and literary appreciation. A glossary and maps round out the book.
The result is a volume that actively invites readers into Homer's poem, helping them to understand fully the worlds in which he and his heroes lived—and thus enabling them to marvel, as so many have for centuries, at Hektor and Ajax, Paris and Helen, and the devastating rage of Achilleus.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Thus begins “Phenomenal Woman,” just one of the beloved poems collected here in Maya Angelou’s third book of verse. These poems are powerful, distinctive, and fresh—and, as always, full of the lifting rhythms of love and remembering. And Still I Rise is written from the heart, a celebration of life as only Maya Angelou has discovered it.
“It is true poetry she is writing,” M.F.K. Fisher has observed, “not just rhythm, the beat, rhymes. I find it very moving and at times beautiful. It has an innate purity about it, unquenchable dignity. . . . It is astounding, flabbergasting, to recognize it, in all the words I read every day and night . . . it gives me heart, to hear so clearly the caged bird singing and to understand her notes.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.
Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist.