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Love is a Dog From Hell
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111 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 1997
Take off the rose-colored glasses...return your seats to their upright position...place your head between your knees and prepare for a crash landing. Don't get me wrong: this book is not a diatribe condemning love. We've all read and loved our Byron, but now it's time to step through the looking glass, children. Love may "walk in beauty like the night" but, "Love, Bukowski Style"...asks you to remember that "the night" isn't the best venue for clarity of vision. Bukowski speaks to that other side of love...vitriolic, soul-destroying, perverted, barbaric and insane. All, who have ever loved, will find the words for their feelings...the feelings for their lack of words...in Bukowski's auto-Eros-dissection. Why would I suggest you read this volume of poetry? Why would anyone want to subject themself to such unpleasantries? What kind of sadist am I, that I would ask you to deliberately subject yourself to the pain of love? To know love, is to know the pain of love. Yet for all the pain inherent in love, we seek love again and again. Nothing exercises our gifts of hope and faith more strenuously. Love may be a "dog from hell" to Bukowski, but he is still unable to disguise his want, his need and his hope for more love. Bukowski - alcoholic, misanthrope, barbarian, gutter rat - who writes of love and can still say..."It softens a man."
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2000
I have the paperback, and nearly half the corners of the pages are folded down because I read them once a month. Like all volumes of poetry, there are good ones and mediocre ones, but overall it's honest, painful, and beautiful. Rather than drone on, I'll give you a sample, from one of my favorites of this volume:
alone with everybody
the flesh covers the bone_ and they put a mind_ in there and_ sometimes a soul,_ and the women break_ vases against the walls_ and the men drink too_ much_ and nobody ever finds the_ one_ but they keep_ looking_ crawling in and out_ of beds._ flesh covers_ the bone and the_ flesh searches_ for more than_ flesh._
there's no chance_ at all:_ we are all trapped_ by a singular_ fate._
nobody ever finds_ the one._
the city dumps fill_ the junkyards fill_ the madhouses fill_ the hospitals fill_ the graveyards fill_ nothing else_ fills.
P.S. "How to be a great writer" is honest, and hilarious, if it weren't for the language, I'd have left that one to convince you to buy this.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2004
One of the most renowned poets of the 20th Century came not from the Academia but rather from the dive bars in Los Angeles. Charles Bukowski began to unleash his gutteral cry in the mid-50's. By the time he died of Leukemia in 1994, he was approaching legend status.
Bukowski was the king of skid row poets. He was a drunk living in flophouses, working in factories, fighting, cursing etc. He wrote in a raw, hard hitting style. There is no effort to hide the warts and blemishes here. He wrote in a savagely frank manner on his life and the society that revolved around him.
He eventually became famous enough to befriend Hollywood types like Sean Penn. He wrote a screenplay called "Barfly" which starred Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. It was partially autobiographical.
Bukowski produced many thick volumes of poetry for the Black Sparrow Press. One of my favorites is "Love Is A Dog From Hell". This includes poems that were written from 1974 through 1977. It fills up over 300 pages. Bukowski was a prolific poet in spite his personal problems with booze and gambling.
His poetry will not be for everyone. He is dirty, crude and has an almost absolute reliance on free verse. He is pretty graphic when it comes to sex and booze. . Poem titles include "sex pot", "moaning and groaning", "The Six Foot Goddess", "problems about the other woman", etc. Several poem titles wouldn't even make it past the epinions filter.
Bukowski goes straight for the jugular. This is not poetry for the meek at heart. He is, however, very funny and very direct. Some of the poems will resonate with near brilliance. Bukowski did have the ability to cut some very clean lines. At times, he can be deceptively clever. There is even rare poignancy. "One for old snaggletooth" is a mean title but pays tribute to his ex-wife: "she has hurt fewer people/than anyone I know,/and if you look at it like that,/well,/she has created a better world/she has won."
A poem like "quiet clean girls in gingham dresses" expresses a longing for a more settled life. He only knows prostitutes, pill poppers and neurotic women but he holds out hope for finding someone better. It concludes: "I know she exists/but where is she on this earth/as the wh***s keep finding me?"
Toilets, hookers, race tracks and roaches exist in this world, newspapers are blankets and mice eat moldy bread on the table, fist fights occur in alleys outside bars. It is not for everyone but adventurous readers who want direct, raw emotional intensity may greatly enjoy this verse. Two other quick Amazon picks are the collected poems of Mark Strand and The Losers' Club by Richard Perez
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 1999
This book may show Bukowski at his most sensationalistic, but it hardly contains his best writing. The booze, women, and poverty may be there, but the imagination is almost wholly absent. Many poems seem more like afterthoughts or random musings than truly completed works. There are a handful of great offerings here ("Alone with Everybody," "Prayer in Bad Weather," "One for the Shoeshine Man"), but much stronger poems in the same vein are found in the author's Mockingbird Wish Me Luck and Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. Some of his best work is in the novel, Ham On Rye. Those who want to know just how compelling Bukowski can be should invest in those books.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2009
Reeling from an unhappy love affair, I picked up a copy of this book after wandering the aisles of a book store one day in the mid-eighties. I guess the title spoke to my situation, but what I found inside was more than enough to sustain me... that is, until the next pair of legs walked by. Since then, I've nurtured a love for almost everything the man has written. Bukowski tells it straight, for better or worse, and often we see the writer himself in the cross-hairs more than anyone else.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2000
Charles Bukowski was the father of drunken debauchery and only he could lay the pen upon it and make it appear magical. His words quite often hypnotize you, pulling you into the heart of his blackly vibrant emotions. It seems everyone has a favorite writing period of Bukowski and this one happens to be mine. If you are new to his self-indulging spews of wretchedness you will either love him or loathe him.His writings ( in this case poetry) mirror his life i.e.: drinking binges,numerous affairs with women of all sorts, days at the track,facing mortality , and the abject sadness of skidrow life. He thrived , growing like a fungus , amidst the dregs of humanity, feeding off their disorders. Be prepaired for an unsavory look at the seedy side of urban America and hopefully it will be well fulfilling!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2007
Love really is a dog from hell. This writing is very real, very ugly, and very soothing to the sufferer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 12, 2001
I was first introduced to Bukowski through his poem "Beer" in a Berlin pub of all places. The poem itself is fairly representative of most of his work in this collection - a lifestyle of debauchery and womanizing. A brilliant poet with a wonderful way with words, Bukowski is also a tragi-comic figure due to his alcoholism. The poems are haunting and sad, as the torment Bukowski suffered is painfully apparent. Ironically, his poetry is also beautiful if not downright moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2001
These poems are the most edgy, raw and unpolished bits of writing I've ever grimaced at. Bukowski's imagery turns my stomach and makes me want to look away from the page. But at the same time there is this current of satisfaction running throughout the book that I could not stop from falling in love with. This was my first Buk book, and I plan to read much, much more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1997
Bukowski's poetry is like his books : straight to your guts and to your heart. No concessions, of course, and that lirism so special from this strange man, one of the freest men ever. Love, sex, pain, alcohol in overdose in a book that I read breathless. Yes, this is real modern poetry from a modern man. Buk, I'll have many on you; we all should.
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