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Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame by Charles Bukowski

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Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame is poetry full of gambling, drinking and women. Charles Bukowski writes realistically about the seedy underbelly of life.

Reviews (7)
I have been an avid reader of Bukowski for thirty years now. What can I say? I feel an affinity with the man. I moved out to Southern California with some drunken, vague thought in my head that I would be closer to him, and maybe even visit him, or try to, but he passed the very year I moved to SoCal which is where I still live.

I have all his works, and have read and re-read all of his poetry and prose for these three decades. It may seem paradoxical, but the older I get, the more I have been enjoying the poetry he wrote as younger man, while, the exact opposite was true when I was younger. I wonder why that is? But, I think there is certain muscle in his earlier work. A certain spit in the eye. There is also this singing that can be heard above the howling and the madness. There is something trying to break free, and in that process of becoming liberated, generated a certain light and clarity. I am not disparaging his later work (I mean, my god, Last Night of the Earth is absolutely mind-blowing) but, as the years pass me by, I like looking at these early poems. I tend to smile more when I read them than I do the later works.
I often feel that attempting to review poetry boarders on pretension. It is impossible to explore the infinite interpretations that accompany each poem; however, this compilation, which includes some of Bukowski's earlier works deserves some words.
All too often Bukowski is forced in to a literary box by those who have only read a brief snippet of his work. They see him as a down and out drunk, with a penchant for the written word. They fail to realize the greater depth of his poetry. Yes, Bukowski lived a very hard life, however, the booze and the women and the flophouse rooms also serve as a metaphor, illustrating his far-reaching insight into the world.
Through his poems, we see life through jaded eyes. So jaded, in fact, as to prove enlightening. From Bukowski's self-imposed exile from the daily grind, he is able to view the world of man objectively. He is able to gain a realization of the absurdities that all too often dull the lives of many, and in this way, Bukowski brings forth a certain level of enlightenment. Through his work, we too can view life objectively and combat the absurdities that plague us all.
An excellent collection of Bukowski's early (and possibly best) poetry, for those new to his work and his established followers.
The selections from two long out-of-print and rare volumes (It Catches My Heart In Its Hands & Crucifix In A Deathhand)
are especially good, covering the years 1955-1968.
5 stars for the writing. The main problem is with the quality of the book itself. While superficially resembling the original Black
Sparrow Press edition, including the exact cover art, the current publisher has produced a cheap imitation. The book covers
are thin and insubstantial, replacing the thick, textured wraps which withstood many readings and borrowings by friends---
a hallmark of Black Sparrow's excellence. Do yourself a favor and buy a used BSP copy. Accept no substitutes!
This book, while definitely some of the earlier, less polished material of Bukowski's, was a game changer for me! My perception of what poetry is and can be has forever been altered. For the first time in my life, I'm reading and writing poetry without boundaries. This collection is a must-read!
Realized I'm actually doing quite fine in life after reading these. Thanks Chuck.
I am as big a fan of Bukowski as any man on the planet, but I have to say that some of his early work is not very good. This collection is uneven; it starts with the early Bukowski trying to be literary and failing miserably, gradually it improves to the mature Bukowski finding his real voice. Towards the end he is his brilliant self, but it does take a while to get there. This is not his best work, but it contains a few gems that make it worth reading.
A Christmas gift for my daughter. She loved it.

ISBN: 0876851928

Rating: 4.8/5

Votes: 204

Other Formats: docx azw txt lrf

ISBN13: 978-0876851920

Publisher: Black Sparrow Press; Hardcover edition (1974)

Language: English

Subcategory: Poetry

Pages: 232

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
Literature & Fiction
Author: Charles Bukowski
Title: Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame