Title: The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps
Author: Charles Bukowski
Page Count/Review Word Count: 360
This collection of Bukowski’s poetry was published after his death – the author left selections of his work behind to be published after his demise, and this is one of them. If you’ve read Bukowski before then you know roughly what to expect – irreverent examinations of life as a down and out, with plenty of gamblers, women and horses. It’s mostly autobiographical, and Bukowski’s ever-present wit and cynicism shines through, throughout.
There’s plenty going on here, and the good thing about that is that it gives you a wide field of view of the world that Bukowski lived in, and it’s the sort of thing that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Bukowski’s work was unique, and not just because it’s so self-reflective that you can see his thoughts on his poetry evolving alongside the work itself. And here, you get to see another side of him – the cat-lover. He had a few of them as pets, and his poems about them are genuinely touching.
Now, I wouldn’t say that this is the best Bukowski book to start with, but that’s not a reflection of the quality of the poems – it’s just that I’d recommend beginning with some earlier work and then moving on to this after you’ve read a book or two of that, and maybe one of his novels. But either way, when you’re reading a book like this then you know roughly what to expect, and that’s a good thing – Bukowski’s work is consistently good, which is great for readers but can make it a little difficult to recommend any one book above any of his others.
Overall though, this is an intriguing read and a mind-opening poetry book that I’d recommend to anyone who likes to think for themselves. Even if you don’t agree with Bukowski, he’ll make you examine your own feelings as you go, and he’ll do it all with beautiful language along the way. His words are simple but effective, and that’s why I like his work.