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The Continual Condition: Poems Hardcover – September 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Sex, self-disgust, horse racing, literary fame and obscurity, delight in foul language (dry and ridiculous bungholes), and fleeting but genuine pleasures (from voyeurism to eating a spider crab): Bukowski's many, many remaining fans will find familiar themes in this 12th set of previously unpublished poems to appear since the Los Angeles writer died in 1994. The god-damned editors don't know anything, he tells the lady on the couch, and indeed he insists on the life, the meat, of the poems. Short lines dominate this particular cull of verse, with plenty of quoted conversation mixed in; as with most of his work, misanthropy rules, making the flashes of mercy—and of sexual acceptance—shine bright indeed: I was/ sick and I/ turned to look out the/ window/ white yellow grease of/ morning/ burning my/ eyes./ Next to me in bed/ there she was. The poems may repeat themselves, but they stay true to Bukowski. Few people would want to trade places with this poet for whom pain sits, pain floats, pain/ waits;/ pain is, but plenty will continue to cherish his unpretentious words. (Oct.)
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From the Back Cover
A volume of never-before-collected poems from America’s most imitated and influential poet
In the literary pantheon, Charles Bukowski remains a counterculture icon. A hard-drinking wild man of literature, a stubborn outsider to the poetry world, he has struck a chord with generations of readers, writing raw, tough poetry about booze, work, and women that speaks to his fans as being "real" and, like the work of the Beats, even dangerous.
Edited by his longtime publisher John Martin of Black Sparrow Press, The Continual Condition includes more of this legend's never-before-collected poems.
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm a big Bukowski fan but I can only give it three stars because at least 14 of the 63 poems are reprints from previous collections. A couple of the 14 poems have been altered slightly, but the rest are complete reprints. That's over 22% of the poems!
Some of the reprinted poems are from the "Bone Palace Ballet" collection. The poem called "My art form", was called, "My style" in "Bone Palace Ballet. The other are, "Full circle" and "The strange morning". "Mountain of horror" is almost the same as "Mountain", "Rejected" same as "My worst rejection slip", "Tragedy" is almost the same as "Reunion" in "Bone Palace Ballet".
From "Sifting Through The Garbage...": "Listening to the radio at 1:35 am"
From "The Flash Of Lightning...": "The last winter", "Moving towards age 73" same as "Poem for the young and tough" in "The Flash..."
From "War All The Time": "A hot sweaty day in August", "The continual condition" is the same as "The condition", "The last race" is the same as Part III in "Horsemeat"
From "What Matters Most...": "Thanks for the luck" same as "Thanks for that"
From "Play The Piano...": "To kiss her long dark hair" same as "To weep" in "Play The Piano..."
Although the collection is great, I would still recommend buying another Bukowski poem collection instead if you have'nt read all the previous ones already. You'll get a better bargain that way, because most of the other collections are up to 400 pages long and the price is about the same as for this one - or cheaper!
Not only is there not much good new stuff here, but despite the dust jacket's claim of "never-before-collected" (sic) at least 15% of the pages are devoted to poems which were published almost verbatim in previous volumes. "a hot sweaty day in August" appeared as "a sweaty day in August" in War All the Time (1984) and "Mountain of Horror", "The Strange Morning", and "Full Circle" appeared as "Mountain", "The Strange Morning Outside the Bar", and "Full Circle" in Bone Palace Ballet (1997).
The final lines of that last poem sum up this collection nicely:
another dirty trick in a dirty trick
Do yourself a favor and get your Bukowski fix by finding the classic old Black Sparrow editions of his work, including the two mentioned above. There's more there, both in quantity and quality, and the books themselves have more integrity as objects than the more recent Harper Collins/ecco offerings.
Bukowski's poems are exactly like Bukowski's fiction, only they are arranged vertically, in smaller phrases. One sometimes gets the sense that he was just too tired to write the rest of the story and so, it became a poem.
Bukowski writes of women, booze, fighting and the race track. Those are all here, so you know it is Bukowski writing. These are written, however, with so little care that you walk away thinking these could just be sentences, written down.
I am not a big Bukowski fan, but at his best, Bukowski shows us the world, as did the preacher, as vanity, and chasing after the wind. He brings something beautiful, at last, out of the plain ugliness of every day living. These are, however, not his best poems and mostly, they fail to show us anything at all.
Most were not published in his lifetime and most should probably have stayed that way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
John Martin is losing
what's left of his mind
repeating on pg 108
"the same sun" poem
that appears on 104Read more