Review of Charles Bukowski

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Review of Charles Bukowski’s Storm for the Living and the Dead, appearing in Riot Material.
“Baby . . . I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.” — Bukowski, Factotum
As a bottom-feeding, hardscrabble Walt Whitman, Bukowski sang of himself, incessantly, with a volcanic chip on his shoulder. He was determined to be heard, recognized, affirmed—Charles Bukowski Wuz Here stamped on Eternity’s forehead. He coerced you to see life as a cruel and dirty joke that he was in on, and often felt himself to be the butt of, and he would play the page like a blowsy stand-up comedian with too much acid in his diet. He was a living room Pulcinella with a beer-gut, a literary W.C. Fields tossing water balloons and Molotov cocktails with sardonic glee. And yet, much like a comedian whose routine never strayed too far from its chafed heart, from its wounded “bluebird,” Bukowski had the genuine knack of unlocking pathos in a single line or turn of phrase. There was a “knowing” to Bukowski’s writing, a sadness that always leaked out to soften the rough and bestial edges. Like a little kid who builds sand castles by the shoreline so as to delight not only in the act of creation but also the inevitable destruction by waves, Bukowski, in his stories and poems, would inflate his persona, only to stick a pin in and invite you to experience the deflation with him, to become intimate party to the willed ego-puncture. All of that is on display in Storm for the Living Dead, a new volume of uncollected and unpublished poems.
To read the full review, click here.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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