From Publishers Weekly
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) remains as prolific and belligerent in death as he did in life. In classic Bukowski fashion, the pieces in The Night Torn with Footsteps: New Poems deploy the line-as-phrase as a primary formal constraint, and a hackneyed, boastful misogyny as a major rhetorical gesture. If continually found "sitting/ in my cheesebox room/ closer to suicide than/ salvation," readers will still be right there with Buk.
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Just when you think you've had enough Bukowski, there is more, and if his sixth posthumous collection, Open All Night
[BKL D 1 00], seemed to scrape the bottom of the barrel, the eighth (a book of letters was seventh) hints that there are diamonds in the dregs. Remarkably, many of these poems--try the three on living in San Pedro, California, that open the book's fourth section--are as funny as Buk could get, and all are better written than the worst in Open
. The barfly's stoicism and the woozy sentimentality that goes with it are here in good measure, but married to so many vignettes of living ridiculously that they amount to just so many maraschino cherries in so many whiskey sours. Bukowski's brand of that twentieth-century staple, personal poetry, defies good imitation and may have influenced performance comedy, such as the movies of Jim Jarmusch and the antics of Saturday Night
Live and its bluer cable spawn, more than other poetry. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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