Title: Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
Author: Charles Bukowski
Page Count/Review Word Count: 232
This collection of poems written between 1955 and 1973 is typical of Bukowski, featuring his witty, simplistic style and his mind-blowing way with words. As always, women, booze and the races weigh heavily on the poet’s mind, and you can tell from titles like ‘7th Race When the Angels Swung Low and Burned‘ that his legendary muses remain ever-present in his poetry.
It’s no secret that I love Bukowski – how can you not, with lines like ‘nothing matters but flopping on a mattress with cheap dreams and a beer‘? I’m yet to find a book of his that I don’t enjoy, but this one in particular stands out as one of his more enjoyable collections of poetry, and it’s as good a place as any to start your love affair with his work.
And it’s particularly interesting to note the way in which his poetry tells stories – most poets aim to evoke an emotion, or to capture a moment in time within the confines of a stanza. Bukowski is a master storyteller, and the stories that he tells are true – it almost doesn’t matter what medium he writes in, he can get the same results with poetry as he can get with prose and with a conversation.