Title: Open All Night
Author: Charles Bukowski
Page Count/Review Word Count: 368
This collection of Bukowski’s poetry is part of a collection of work that he left behind to be published after his death, which actually opens it up to a whole new possibility. Regardless of how much he never gave a shit about what people thought about him, I’m pretty sure that every human being has some level of self-preservation. There’s a natural instinct not to share certain things because you know that it could change the way people look at you. But if you’re leaving poems behind to be published after you’ve died, does it really matter?
That’s why I feel like this book – and some of his other posthumous work – is somehow more honest than most of his other stuff. And that’s in no way a criticism of Bukowski’s work – it’s just the way that these things work. And you also get to see inside his mind as his death approached, when he was in his late sixties and early seventies. A little morbid, perhaps, but one of the interesting things about reading Bukowski is that you get to experience his life with him.
As for the poetry itself, you can expect to see Bukowski’s typical subjects here, including women, drinking and horse racing. But there’s something more than that, although it’s hard to quantify it in a review. It’s like the collection has a soul of its own, a wizened old soul but a soul nonetheless. The poems somehow seem to go together to create a new cohesive whole that’s bigger than its parts, which gives it an edge over some of the other collections.
Overall, it’s a pretty good collection, and a good place to start whether you’re new to Bukowski’s work or not. You can really feel his passion as it flows from the page, even if it is applied in cynical, misogynist ways. The interesting thing about Bukowski is that he was honest – he always told it like it was, or at least how it was for him. He was uncompromising in his beliefs, and that’s what makes him a good writer.