Title: Love is a Dog from Hell
Author: Charles Bukowski
Page Count/Review Word Count: 307
Well, with a title like this, you know you’re not going to be disappointed – this collection of Bukowski poetry brings all of the usual to the table, and it’s as good a book as any to start with if you’re new to his work. It’s a good one for Bukowski veterans too, if I’m honest.
Poems like ‘now, if you were teaching creative writing, he asked, what would you tell them?’ have a more personal connection – I studied creative writing at university, and so I was keen to see what he had to say. If you’re interested, here’s his advice – ‘I’d tell them to have an unhappy love affair, hemorrhoids, bad teeth and to drink cheap wine.’ Typical good advice from Bukowski, there.
In fact, the book is stuffed full of the usual references to booze, horses and women – all of his books are. He’s a fascinating autobiographical character, an ageing alcoholic with a barfly lifestyle. Somehow, he’s likeable – he’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole, and that’s just fine.
A lot of his words are oddly prophetic – “‘your poems about the girls will still be around 50 years from now when the girls are gone,’ my editor phones me.” This collection was first released in 1977, the year that Elvis died and the first Star Wars film came out – 36 years ago. They’re still around now, at least. Bukowski himself died of leukemia in 1994, aged 73.
Overall, it’s well worth a read whether you’re new to Bukowski or not – it’s as good as any other book to start with, and interestingly enough it’s one of the many Bukowski collections which has crossed genres and inspired the names of songs and albums as well.