Title: Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way
Author: Charles Bukowski
Page Count/Review Word Count: 402
This book is one of several poetry collections that were edited together by John Martin, Bukowski’s long-term editor, from a ream of material that he left behind to be published after his death. I actually like most of this more recently published stuff the most, in part because I think he got better with age and in part because I think he left some of his most personal stuff to be published after he was gone.
For the first time ever, I actually tabbed this collection with sticky labels so that I could go back to some of the poems for my video review. That also means that I can spend the rest of this review telling you about some of my favourites. Right off the bat, it kicks things off with So You Want To Be A Writer?, a poem that I’ve seen quoted to death elsewhere by people who’ve searched for “writing quotes” and ended up finding a random Bukowski poem. But it’s a good one.
The Great Escape was another good one, which was about crabs escaping from a bucket and which reflected Bukowski’s own employment at the post office. One Step Removed was about famous writers and the groupies they attract, and A Mechanical Lazarus is about his trusty IBM typewriter which refused to die. A Sickness was also about writers, but it focused more on how they always seem to end up going insane or committing suicide.
Later we have poems about women (Dream Girl) and drinking (Who Needs It?), both of which are pretty much required subjects for a Bukowski collection, but there are plenty of other subject matters on offer too. It’s also split up into sections, which mainly act as dividers to keep the flow of the book going rather than as any official categorisations, but they do somehow add a little something to the feel of the book by highlighting specific lines.
All in all, if you’ve read Bukowski’s work before then you pretty much know what to expect, and if you haven’t then you ought to get started. And this could be just the book to help you with that. Go ahead and buy it.