Recommended to me #1 – Charles Bukowski

Throughout my posts, I have been lucky enough to receive comments recommending I check out a particular person, song or movie. So far, I have been writing these recommendations down in my little red book so I don’t forget them, but today I decided to take it a bit further.

Here lies the first of (hopefully) many posts regarding the recommendations of my beloved commenters.


Although I had heard of Charles Bukowski before, it wasn’t until Eric Ian Huffman recommended his poems to me after reading my post To the poets out there that I actually looked into his life and writing. This was in the hopes that I could learn more about poetry as a whole and experience poems written by a celebrated writer and poet. So what did I learn?

For those who don’t know, Charles Bukowski was an American writer and poet with over sixty books to his name. His work mainly revolved around the themes of poverty in America, writing and what I would call the gritty realism of everyday life.

I read several of his poems (four listed below) and I think the thing that stood out most for me was that he did not sugar coat anything. Everything that was written was stark and honest. As a not particularly apt poem reader I found his poems interesting to read and gave real insight into his life, from his past to what he was looking out of the window at during the time of writing.

Eric Ian Huffman mentioned that Bukowski could be crude, but I found that it worked well with his writing. I feel his poems wouldn’t have worked half as well if he had restrained himself in that way. It conveys emotion and character that stands out, something that couldn’t have been achieved without the odd crudity.

While I can’t say I learned any more about the structure of poetry – it may have even confused me more – Bukowski’s writing left an impression with me and I’ll be reading more. If you haven’t had a look at his works before, they are definitely worth the time.

Charles Bukowski Poems:

relentless as the tarantula

the great lover

the schoolyard of forever

here I am…

An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.

~Charles Bukowski

If you have anything you think I will like, please leave a comment. I love learning about new things!

To the poets out there…

How do you do it?  I’ve recently been reading a few of the poetry blogs around and I just don’t understand how it all works. I’ve never been able to write poetry and I greatly admire those who can, because you’ve reached a place I can never enter.

It’s not only that I can’t write it, I also don’t understand what’s supposed to be good or bad. All of the poetry I’ve read on the blogs seems good, but how can I know? I don’t even know whether poems are supposed to rhyme, or the syllables are the same in each line. Please tell me! Do you just whip it out, or is it a long winded process?

I would like to share with you my greatest poem, the pinnacle of my skill:

There was a girl Bell
who wanted to cast a spell.
She wriggled her nose,
as she started to pose
and her sister did a foul smell.

I wrote that when I was eight. Good stuff? I know. English class really didn’t focus on this branch of writing, a failing I will never forgive my many teachers for. They show you how to write fifty thousand analysis essays, but don’t allow your creative side to shine through. I don’t want to constantly be writing about someone else’s work. I would much prefer to be taught the basics of an amazing area of writing.

I fear it’s too late for me to learn, but poets please continue to do your thing. Don’t let poetry die out!