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What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire Paperback – June 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574231057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574231052
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

$100
$180 Gone
The 12 Hour Night
3 Old Men At Separate Tables
38,000-to-one
4 Christs
75 Million Dollars
The 8 Count Concerto
About A Trip To Spain
Action On The Corner
An Afternoon In February
Am I The Only One Who Suffers Thus?
The Angel Who Pushed His Wheelchair
Anonymity
Another Day
Apprentices
The Artist
Artistic Selfishness
Assault
At The Zoo
Ax And Blade
The Bakers Of 1935
Be Alone
Beast
Beethoven Conducted His Last Symphony While Totally Deaf
The Bells
Blue Beads And Bones
Blue Head Of Death
The Blue Pigeon
Born To Lose
A Boy And His Dog
Bravo!
Bright Lights And Serpents
Brown And Solemn
Bruckner
Butterflies
Canned Heat?
Captain Goodwine
Carlton Way Off Western Ave.
Christmas Poem To A Man In Jail
The Cigarette Of The Sun
The Circus Of Death
Coke Blues
Combat Primer
Comments Upon My Last Book Of Poesy
Computer Class
A Correction To A Lady Of Poesy
Crickets
The Crowd
The Crunch (2)
The Dangerous Ladies
Daylight Saving Time
Demise
Dog Fight 1990
Downtown
Everywhere, Everywhere
Farewell My Lovely
Fast Track
Fellow Countryman
The First One
Floor Job
Full Moon
The Gamblers
German Bar
Gone Away
Guess Who?
Hanging There On The Wall
Hard Times On Carlton Way
He Knows Us All
Hollywood Ranch Market
The Hookers, The Madmen And The Doomed
Horseshit
Hunchback
Hunger
I Hear All The Latest Hit Tunes
I Inherit
I Used To Feel Sorry For Henry Miller
I Want A Mermaid
I'll Send You A Postcard
The Icecream People
Igloo
Image
In The Lobby
In This Cage Some Songs Are Born
In This City Now
Insanity
An Interlude
La Femme Finie
The Last Poetry Reading
Legs
Legs And White Thighs
Legs, Hips And Behind
Life Of The King
Lifedance
Like A Cherry Seed In The Throat
Locked In
Looking For Jack
Mademoiselle From Armentieres
Mahler
Man's Best Friend
The Man?
Me And Capote
Mean And Stingy
The Meaning Of It All
Memory
The Mice
More Argument
Morning Love
My Big Moment
My Father And The Bum
My Father's Big-time Fling
My Friends Down At The Corner
My Garden
My Literary Fly
My Movie
Nana
Neither A Borrower Nor A Lender Be
A New War
The Night I Saw George Raft In Vegas
No Guru
No Title
Nobody Home
Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen
Note Left On The Dresser By A Lady Friend
Odd
An Old Jockey
On Lighting A Cigar
On Shaving
On The Sidewalk And In The Sun
One More Good One
One-to-five
The Ordinary Cafe Of The World
The Pact
The People
Pershing Square, Los Angeles, 1939
Phillipe's 1950
Plants Which Easily Winter Kills
Poor Mimi
The Pretty Girl Who Rented Rooms
Probably So
The Professionals
The Railroad Yard
Rape
Raw With Love
Revolt In The Ranks
Roll The Dice
The Savior: 1970
Scene From 1940
School Days
The Sensitive, Young Poet
She Comes From Somewhere
The Silver Mirror
The Singer
Slaughter
Sloppy Love
Smiling, Shining, Singing
Snake Eyes?
Some Notes On Bach And Haydn
Sometimes Even Putting A Nickel Into A Parking Meter Feels Good
Stuck With It
Sunday Lunch At The Holy Mission
Tabby Cat
Thanks For That
They Arrived In Time
This Moment
This Particular War
Time
To Lean Back Into It
Too Many Blacks
Too Soon
A Touch Of Steel
Trouble In The Night
An Unusual Place
Vallejo
Van Gogh
Victory!
A Vote For The Gentle Light
Wasted
The Way It Works
We Needed Him
What Do They Want?
What's It All Mean?
What?
When The Violets Roar At The Sun
White Dog
Wide And Moving
Wind The Clock
Winter: 44th Year
Woman In The Supermarket
You Do It While You're Killing Flies
The Young Man On The Bus Stop Bench
Young Men
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

Fast and funny, these 200-odd pieces, which date from the 1970's up through the 1990's, cover little new ground stylistically or thematically. -- The New York Times Book Review, Jennifer Schuessler

About the Author

Charles Bukowsk is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in 1920 in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944 when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.


More About the Author

Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp (1994).

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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I have read all buk's works, & this book is the best one I have read since his death.
"savagebooks"
Well, I was hooked from that moment. "What Matters" is a posthumous volume of poetry by the prolific Bukowski, who died in 1994.
Michael J. Mazza
I read this alone at night when I should be getting sleep and I am usually glad I passed on the sleep..
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By S. S. Harrison on November 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've personally been slightly let down in recent years by the books which have come out of Bukowski's. (he died in 1994). I picked up this collection half expecting more of the same. Didn't Bukowski himself insist that some of his work was not-so-great? Well, this collection was a delight and a surprize! Most of these poems are from the early 1970's when Bukowski lived in East Hollywood. In these poems, (which have never been published until now) he belts out hymns to the outsiders, the lost, the cheated and the ignored. He trains his eye on the poor and the underdog. I personally thought this collection was nothing short of magnificent. Bukowski is back! No freeway, bottle and music up in a room old man poems. I liked those too but I'd had enough of them. I will lay it down straight: of ALL Bukowski's books this is my favorite and I've read them all.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By jmw on December 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
While Buk has been dead for 5 years now, his estate has continued to publish from a collection of accumulated writings. This is by far the best of the posthumously published books to date, with particularly strong poems from his best years...this book may in fact be the best Buk work published in 20 years. If you are new to Bukowski, this is a good volume with which to start...if you are an old fan, you will not be disappointed with this collection.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "grinlv" on December 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Bukowski's world is not for the timid or those that wear rose-colored glasses. "Hank" shows life as it truly is, slimy undertow and all. Yet even in a sometimes compulsive bitter and negative outlook on life, Bukowski finds joy and pleasure in life's simpler things that some ay overlook. His world isn't always pleasant, but you won't regret taking the journey.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By kevin griffith on December 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Bukowski's latest will not let avid readers down. Better than _Bone Palace Ballet_--which was essentially just a second-drawer version of _Last Night of the Earth Poems_--_What Matters Most. . ._ is a compilation of work that spans over twenty years and includes some vintage Bukowski that has been missing from recent Black Sparrow releases. This latest collection gives me hope that we can expect more quality Bukowski work well into the next century.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark Begley on February 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the best new Bukowski poetry collection since THE LAST NIGHT OF THE EARTH POEMS, mainly because of the inclusion of older poems from his more "lyrical" period. Readers of the Wormwood Review will recognize many of the poems printed here for the first time in book form (although credit is not given to any individual magazine). Unlike the last two Bukowski collections DEATH is not the main theme here (although Buk wrote about his imminent demise as far back as the '60s), but more "slices of life" harkening back to his days in East Hollywood and beyond. Black Sparrow promises more poetry collections in the future, my God, how MUCH did this man write? I'll get those, too, why stop now? Anyone serious about Bukowski should also buy a copy of Aaron Krumhansl's DESCRIPTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY. Hail, hail.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on December 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've been aware of Charles Bukowski's status as a sort of "cult" figure in the world of literature, but had never actually read any of his books. So I picked up "What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire" in a bookstore, opened up to a random poem, and started reading. Well, I was hooked from that moment.
"What Matters" is a posthumous volume of poetry by the prolific Bukowski, who died in 1994. According to the acknowledgments on the copyright page, these poems were written between 1970 and 1990 and were part of an archive which the poet left to be published after his death.
The poems in "What Matters" are written in free verse. Bukowski's vernacular language has an energy, charm, and down-to-earth accessibilty. His main themes are as follows: gambling at the racetrack, drinking, women, death and aging, other writers and artists, poetry itself, and his own public image as a hard-drinking dirty old man. He often writes about people or animals who might be seen as pathetic or seedy.
The book is full of intriguing literary references; he mentions Wallace Stevens, Pablo Neruda, Kafka, Rilke, Lorca, Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, Auden, Henry Miller, "gutsy Ezra Pound," and many more writers. There are many narrative poems, often featuring "Henry Chinaski," who appears to be Bukowski's alter ego.
"What Matters" is full of the cruder side of urban life: the reader will encounter pimps, gamblers, the "dreary and doped / battalions" of prostitutes, a "flowing / tide of piss" from a clogged Salt Lake City urinal, etc. There is often suffering. But through it all, Bukowski is often funny, philosophical, and even gentle.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By nativewater on February 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
The man does not write Haiku, but when it comes to writing about life as it is without agenda and without illusion, we've got nobody better.
And I agree with the other reviewers who find this the best Bukowski they've read in a long time, and I've read all of the Black Sparrow releases.
So get the book. You will not be disappointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Charles Bukowski, What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire (Black Sparrow, 1999)

With the exception of The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, the posthumously published Bukowski material just doesn't live up to the stuff he published while he was still alive; cynical readers will likely say he made his reputation while alive, then left the leftovers to be published afterwards. Be that as it may, that's not to say the posthumous stuff isn't worth reading. Bukowski hit his stride as a poet in the mid-fifties, and snatches of greatness continued up through the late seventies/early eighties with regularity; much of the material here was written during the latter half of that time period, and, as expected, flashes of brilliance show through. Flashes, however, are not likely to sustain a reader coming to Bukowski for the first time over the course of four hundred nine pages of poetry; the neophyte would be well advised to turn to Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame or War All the Time for a first crack at the man who made it all look so easy. What Matters Most... is best left for after you're an established Buk fan and know how to separate the what from the chaff. This is about half and half, but remember, chaff is a whole lot lighter, and so you can pack more of it in, pound for pound. ** ˝
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