It may seem like I am inflicting a rather slow, painful death upon my own website, and though I can't actually deny that, I ask that you imagine that the Cruelest Month is sleeping peacefully, storing energy for a balls-out comeback. As way of explanation for the lack of activity over the past few months, you guessed it, I've been good and busy. So has Ecco for that matter, and Fall 2007 has been a strong season. Rounding out 2007 is The Pleasures of the Damned: Poems, 1951-1993 by Charles Bukowski, edited by John Martin, which was reviewed by Jim Harrison in the NY Times this past week.
I am not inclined to make elaborate claims for Bukowski, because there is no one to compare him to, plus or minus. He wrote in the language of his class as surely as Wallace Stevens wrote in the language of his own. This book offers you a fair chance to make up your own mind on this quarrelsome monster. It is ironical that those who man the gates of the canon will rarely if ever make it inside themselves. Bukowski came in a secret back door.
We're happy to play our part. Oh, and the first three readers to write CruelestMonthPoetry@yahoo.com with "Pleasures of the Damned" as their subject line and with their mailing address in the body will receive a free copy. A little later in the week, I'll post the broadside and send a few of those out.
The NY Times Notable list has been posted, as well. Ecco makes a fair showing on a strong list. It's worth a look.
*Three readers wrote in. Three books will be sent out. Thanks for reading and writing--in and in general!
In Prague, the Franz Kafka Society honored the French poet Yves Bonnefoy with the Franz Kafka Prize, given annually to "authors whose works of exceptional artistic qualities are found to appeal to readers regardless of their origin, nationality and culture."
The Guardian called Bonnefoy, 84, "one of the most influential French poets of the second half of the 20th century. He is also a respected essayist and the pre-eminent French translator of the work of William Shakespeare."