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The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New…

The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems (2007)

by Charles Bukowski

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Another day, another Bukowski book. At least that's the way it sometimes seems with this particularly prolific writer. Again, though, his work is more hit than miss, and this book finds him in particularly fine form, rolling with the punches, talking frankly about death (as I'm sure it was impending in at least a few of these poems), and quite simply looking into the maw of life without flinching. At this point I've written more than enough poems not only about Bukowski but downright mentioning him for the mark he's left on the heart of American letters. At this point I've written hundreds of poems aping his style in part just to see if I could get away with it and in part because I am so different from not only the way he presents himself in his texts but in all likelihood the way he really was. You can denigrate him for being so simple, but when a person does the things he does so well then what's the point? Bukowski is superior to Hemingway not because like Hemingway he presents a myth of himself but because unlike Hemingway he will break that myth. For that he deserves the keys. ( )
  Salmondaze | Jul 24, 2016 |
Once again a fantastic collection. Either Bukowski is the most consistent writer of all time, or I've simply been lucky in my recent introduction to his work.

Most of all Bukowski is not boring, a goal that many of the "great" writers never even seemed to have aspired to. He rarely wastes a word, and often in a few hundred words manages to say more than others do in an entire novel.
  bartt95 | Jun 22, 2016 |
53. The People Look Like Flowers at Last : New Poems by Charles Bukowski (2007, 301 pages, read Oct 21 – Dec 11)

it's not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning

These lines, which are quoted on the back-cover of my copy, stuck in my mind the entire time I read this, paced few poems a day. This collection is one of several posthumous ones by Bukowski, who passed away in 1994, but the first time I’ve read by him. What first strikes me about these poems is that they don’t read like poems. They read more like sketches, partially expressed thoughts quickly jotted down. I could race through them, only occasionally being forced to stop, but then I would miss a great deal. So I look it slow, a few poems a day...and suffered several days through a long section on poems about all the women Bukowski had and about how badly he treated them all (at least he seems honest).

Bukowski's poetry feels like an expression of his personality, or a personality anyway. They are bluntly honest, self-critical, and remarkably joyful in their celebration of a rather stark and meaningless world. And they are consistently on theme. The quality and depth seem to vary. There are a number of gems scattered about but also quite a few that seemed very light. Sometimes one that seemed more meaningful would come out of nowhere and catch me off guard.

These are very accessible, and maybe even something to recommend to someone who trying to figure out how to get started reading poetry. ( )
  dchaikin | Dec 20, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060577088, Paperback)

the gas line is leaking, the bird is gone from the
cage, the skyline is dotted with vultures;
Benny finally got off the stuff and Betty now has a job
as a waitress; and
the chimney sweep was quite delicate as he
giggled up through the
I walked miles through the city and recognized
nothing as a giant claw ate at my
stomach while the inside of my head felt
airy as if I was about to go
it’s not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
there’s no release, just gurus and self-
appointed gods and hucksters.
the more people say, the less there is to say.
even the best books are dry sawdust.

—from "fingernails; nostrils; shoelaces"

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

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