Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame

Charles Bukowski

Language: English

Pages: 394

ISBN: 087685191X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Charles Bukowski has always sat uneasily amongst the cannon of modern American writers. To some he is an original and perceptive writer on the nihilism and futility of modern, capitalist society; a man who brings a keen poetic eye to the loneliness and desperation of the modern, American sub-culture. To others, he is a man of little talent who squanders what talent there is on a glorification of misogyny, violence and alcoholism. Whichever view holds more truth, Bukowski is a writer where you need to make up your mind and you will probably recognise which view you subscribe to within half-an-hour of picking up one of his books.

In choosing to read Bukowski, I would recommend that it is the poetry upon which you base your decision; despite the fact that he is, perhaps, better known for his prose - particularly the novel Factotum, made into a film starring Mickey O'Rourke. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame is an excellent book for those unfamiliar with Bukowski's poetry. The poems in this volume are collected from various works, spanning the years 1955 - 1973.

The beauty in Bukowski's poem lies in their apparent simplicity. The simple language, the short lines, even the font and printing style combine to make the reader feel that a lonely drunk has sat down and typed out his pain in a few unreflective moments. However, behind this apparent ease of composition lies a power and poetic sensibility that ensures the poems, their words and symbols stay in the mind for a long, long time after their reading. Bukowski's poems are ones that, if they hook you, you will turn to and read again and again. A poem such as machineguns, towers & timeclocks tell of a man setting off for work. The sheer sense of futility and alienation of the reader scream at the reader through the easy, understated language. Whilst a poem such as sway with me is a simple cry for love, the humorous structure and bathos of they, all of them, know gives a different perspective on loneliness and alienation.

Poets like Bukowski, who divide opinion so sharply, are always worth reading but for those who regard the most beautiful and powerful poetry as that which conveys the most intense emotion in the simplest language, this writer is sure to appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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