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Bukowski is known for reading at college campuses where the sound of heckling is mixed with the sound of him cracking open beers from the fridge at his side. His recorded works include interviews and questions between poems, which, although enlightening, also detract from the cadence of the poetry. In these new recordings, with no spectacle, no expectation of a drunken show, no Q and A, Bukowski is able to read his work the way it was supposed to be read.
Ignore for a moment the hisses and pops. Ignore the sounds of the mic shifts or the Pause button being pushed. Clearly the sound quality leaves much to be desired. What is important here is the voice. To hear Bukowski read the poems he wants, in the style he desires, the voices and inflections he heard in his head as he wrote them, is more important than the way in which these sounds were recorded.
The dirty sound, in fact, only adds to the attraction of Bukowski. Here is a poet who made his name living the dirty, poor, eked-out life of the street. To expect superior sound or recording quality is to ignore what Bukowski stood for — what he represented. A Bukowski poem needs to be read into a tape player sitting on his desk, not in an expensive studio with multiple takes and re-mastering. The men he fought in the bars, the women he slept with and then disentangled himself from never stepped into a studio.
Having said all that, these recordings are more than a sample of poems Bukowski chose or was told to read. He finishes a poem and tells the listener the weather out his window. And this snapshot is as important to any dilettante or periodic reader as any poem read, because the listener can discover the man behind the infrequent poem.
One hears the sighs, the inflections, the lilting voice in which he reads, and a poet working in his trade. The only thing missing is a collection of the poems he reads to go with the CD, so that the listener can read along. Category: Album of the Week , Album Reviews. One disc. No holds barred Album Reviews. May 4, Jeff Terich. Subscribe to our mailing list.
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Poems and Insults
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Charles Bukowski poem and story database
Charles Bukowski : Solid Citizen; Poems and Insults; King of Poets; 70 Minutes in Hell