Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quote du Jour: A Poet's Confession

I was just sitting here, reading Charles Bukowski’s introduction to Notes of a Dirty Old Man, the 1969 collection of his pieces for the Los Angeles underground newspaper, Open City. Bukowski was waxing enthusiastic about the freedom given him to write and publish absolutely anything he wanted to as a columnist for Open City. During the course of this he writes something that brought to mind a slightly controversial exchange I had with members of my online writers group. In that exchange I had voiced my reasons for being content to share my poems only on my blog, or on Facebook, where I have pretty much total control over them. I explained that the effort necessary to be successful in “getting published” was not worth the frustrations involved. Nor was the payoff for that success great enough to change one’s life.

It therefore amused to me to read Bukowski saying the following about writing his column for Open City:

For action, it has poetry beat all to hell. Get a poem accepted and chances are it will come out 2 to 5 years later, and a 50-50 shot it will never appear, or exact lines of it will later appear, word for word, in some famous poet’s work, and then you know the world ain’t much. Of course, this isn’t the fault of poetry; it is only that so many shits attempt to print and write it.

Btw, this introduction also contains the following paragraph:

It’s all very strange. Just think, if they hadn’t airbrushed the cock and balls off the Christ child, you wouldn’t be reading this. So, be happy.

Dig it. What Charles said.