Bye bye Bukowski

I got some union blowback for posting Bukowski’s

blather about poetry readings. I thought he joked

and given the ravages of the oft-mentioned C

that we needed to laugh. But not all of us. Some


cried foul, raging about Bukowski’s claim that

we might be thin in talent and read only to beloveds,

ourselves and a diminishing number of fools who

wander in from the street. Besides, he writes


that we will never find a publisher in New York.

I know what he means but in my case I did alright,

231 Wyckoff Street, brownstone headquarters

of Hanging Loose Press and yes, a New York address.


So Norton, Farrar, Strauss, New Directions, Grove,

all of you celebrated houses, let me repeat I too

have a New York publisher. And there are others

in town, Spuyten Duyvil, Feminist, Persea, and


many more. It turns out that New York is a metaphor

and travels, changes form. Shakespeare & Company,

you know, the one by Notre Dame, on the island,

which published the unmentionable James Joyce.


And we have not even written of England,

of Faber & Faber, Carcanet and all

the Queen’s printers. So many choices

and so Bukowski erred, and we err taking him


seriously. Keep on reading to dearest friends

and partners. Some scout will come in

to the zoom room and scoop up your work

which will spread on the internet. If I may


be of service, I offer you The Poetry Channel,

the Beltway Poetry Quarterly, my own still

vigorous eye and ear. And there are others

like me, who subscribe to Voices of Poetry,


waiting for you to get to the last line,

the kicker, the one that will assure you

and me of fame, and an even more

important publisher somewhere, New York,


London, or why not, the undiscovered Africa,

or above the ozone layer, into the solar system,

Mars and service as exclusive publishers

to X and other reusable rockets.


Indran Amirthanayagam

1 comment

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  • Yeah, Buk’s diatribe was pretty obnoxious though I partially agree with him. I’ve attended local readings and open mics here in Tucson, and, inevitably, have heard the worst kind of crap AND some mind-blowingly wonderful work. So, as with life in general, it’s catch as catch can.

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