Issue #154 / June 2021

In a Rolling Stone interview I read you said “They should stop reading Bukowski, and they should stop listening to people who tell them to read Bukowski” and also there is ‘Bukowski was a jerk! Berryman was the best!’ line in We Call Upon the Author to Explain. I always wonder why you consider him like that.


Dear Idil,

I don’t have a particular problem with Charles Bukowski, other than I think his poetry sucks. He once said, poetry was “like taking a shit, you smell it and then flush it away … writing is all about leaving behind as much a stink as possible”, which is all very well, except I think he was applying this to all poetry when he should have been applying it to his own poetry exclusively. His poems are indeed do-do — silly shit — and cloyingly sentimental about his own place in a world he held in absolute contempt. His is a particular view of humanity as abjection which I find difficult to stomach, especially in poetry, beautiful poetry, lover of life and the world that I am.

Love, Nick


Ask a Question