Such poems offer the same kind of vicarious wish fulfillment that differently inclined readers might find in spy novels or gangster movies, with their parodies of unbound masculinity. (In one poem, Bukowski acknowledges this affinity, boasting: “don’t believe the gossip: / Bogie’s not dead.”) And Bukowski is best read as a very skillful genre writer. He bears the same relation to poetry as Zane Grey does to fiction, or Ayn Rand to philosophy—a highly colored, morally uncomplicated cartoon of the real thing. He has two of the supreme merits of genre writing, consistency and abundance: once you have been enticed into Bukowski’s world, you have the comfort of knowing that you won’t have to leave it anytime soon, since there will always be another book to read.
Sunday, 14 October 2012
Tuesday post brought to mind Adam Kirsch's excellent essay in the New Yorker from 2005 where he brilliantly, and somewhat mercilessly, exposes the nature of Bukowski's appeal: