Archives for posts with tag: Charles Bukowski

Anthurium at lalbagh flower show 7109

Anthuriums from Lalbagh Garden, Bangalore by Rameshng (own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


This greeting comes cold from the residue
of morning, 3rd October. Last draff of coffee
in the cup on a saucer that would rather be
the stippled salver that serves red
to passersby and those who scan
the street for things to watch
and then behold anthuriums
for sale at the florist.

“Paris”
2014


On relocating to London, I jettisoned my personal library. Since then I have forbad myself from spending on books. As far as possible I beg and borrow. On a few rare occasions I have caved – for Zadie Smith’s essays, Chinese poetry and a tome of Charles Bukowski poems, The Pleasures of the Damned (Canongate, 2010).

It started with ‘hell is a lonely place’ which punched me in the stomach. There in the bookshop I decided that I had to have the whole book, at £15.99. I didn’t care what else was in it. It turned out Bukowski is quite well known. I was a latecomer to his work.

Bukowski’s poem ‘the last generation’ introduces the literary scene of Paris in the 1920s, a time when writing “was a romantic grand game…, full of fury and discovery”. In short, “it was much easier to be a genius in the twenties”.

Part tongue-in-cheek (I’m guessing), the poem suggests:

.. if you sent your stuff postmarked from Paris
chance of publication became much better.
most writers bottomed their manuscripts with the
word “Paris” and the date.

I’ve paired this little joke with today’s prompt: “Write a poem in the form of a letter to someone”. I guess you, dear reader, are the someone.

I love writing letters, and the subject has featured in other poems:

In the unposted letter
It should not be polished
Pavement Writer
Things of the heart told in quiet

I have also written about Paris.


Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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Books

I was born of poetry

on the underside

where grey makes writing easier

the printed side: too glossy.

I once read that those who buy poetry tend to be middle class, university educated women “of a certain age” (by this, the article implied over 50). Yet whenever I’ve been in Foyle’s on Charing Cross Road, most of the women are next door in the cookbook section and there are one or two corduroy-jacket wearing men at the poetry shelves. At university, those lecturers under whose tutelage I was introduced to Auden, Keats and Donne, were all male.

At the moment I am taken with the work of Charles Bukowski. From the poetry I studied at school during my adolescence, it is Pound’s “At the Station” and Hughes’s “The thought-fox” that still haunt me with their technical craft and sharp imagery.

My own mother is not much into poetry. She trained as a pianist and her interest lies in classical music. It was my father who had an abiding interest in literature and went as far as memorising verse. I write in the accompanying essay to my first volume, Shining in Brightness, about his influence. In fact, I may owe my very existence to poetry.

My mother had attended an ‘am dram’ production, for which my (later) godmother had painted the sets and in which my father played a bumbling, detective’s assistant. During the after party, he wooed my mother with a poem written on the back of Salticrax box.

I was born the following year.

If you would like to follow my regular musings on Twitter, I am @BeadedQuill.

You can order copies of my first volume, SHINING IN BRIGHTNESS: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012, here.