Bukowski’s poems, novels, short stories, travel accounts, journals, screenplays, letters an columns used to fill a shelf in my room. I collected them for as long as Bukowski has been dead – scarily that’s now over 20 years. And recently I moved most of them on, time to let them live somewhere else. Let someone else discover them.
But I’ll still go to the section/s and check to see if a new (posthumous) collection is out – every single time I go to a bookstore and regularly when looking online.
The Continual Condition was one of the posthumous collections. Now the barrel has been fairly well scraped but there’s still some decent material in this volume of poems. And there was one that stuck out in particular:
we tend to like artists
who starved or went mad or killed themselves
and were discovered afterwards.
it happens often
because great talent is usually fifty to
one hundred years ahead of its
most of those acclaimed in their
are mediocre performers.
of course, this is common knowledge,
so common that many of those who are not
recognized in their time
believe that this is a sign of their own true
and countless wives, children, relatives,
friends and bystanders
because of this illusion
to laugh truly is to continue anyhow.
Rings true, don’t you think? It’s more like philosophy than poetry – and of course when it’s doing its job correctly poetry should be both.
I think that summed up my feelings about cutting through hype better than I could say myself.
Also – since we’re at it – below is perhaps my favourite poem from Buk: