Charles Bukowski died in 1994, thus some folks might be surprised to learn that the second of three book featuring new material, titled <a href =http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100446250> Absence of the Hero</a> has just been published. Bukowski fans were on hand Tuesday night at Moe's Books in Berkeley when the book's editor, David Calonne and his editor Garrett Caples, talked about the circumstances surrounding the publication of this new installment in series of three volumes. The series features material, such as early magazine fiction stories, not previously published in book form. They also took turns reading some of the previously unpublished material from the cult favorite.
They discussed Bukowski's literary reputation and discussed the fact that some folks consider Bukowski a member of the American literary group known as Beat writers. Some folks think Bukowski should be considered a beat while others maintain that he was just a contemporary who knew and interacted with people whose beat credentials are not subject to debate.
One of the tidbits that Calonne shared with his Berkeley audience was that often Bukowski would be inspired by news stories he read in papers such as the defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He read a letter to the magazine editor noting that "Christ with Barbecue Sauce" in particular was inspired by a news story about gruesome murders in Texas. (Where would the horror genre be without murders in Texas?)
Recently the New York Times published a story about writers who produce material about and aimed at the working man. The Times published a letter to the editor from Calonne pointing out that it was a mistake for their writer to omit Bukowski from the article.
Bukowski inspired the movie "Barfly."
To get a good read on Bukowski's audience it may be best to relay a letter that Bukowski recedived from a prisoner in Australia. He was told that the Bukowski book was the only one that passed from cell to cell.
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