Storm for the Living and the Dead: Uncollected and Unpublished Poems
Storm is an apt title for this wildly inconsistent and altogether stunning collection of poems. Bukowski is indeed poetry’s wild man. He rages, he blasphemes, he is obscene and brilliant. And, many times, in the same poem. While it is true that he is not for the prudish or faint of heart, he still can be inspiring through his free-flowing genius. Many of these poems can induce a great deal of depression; he tackles hard subjects and lives a hard life both in drinking and relationships. He demonstrates a great deal of genius with equal amounts of torment.
The editor of this volume has selected incredible poems, and it appears that they are thoughtfully placed in the right reading order. At mid-book, the poem “the ladies of the afternoon” reflects on the poet’s fame and the groupies who attend him. It could easily go to the poet’s head, but there is a cost to be paid; the wild man does not want to be tamed. It is clear he prefers ladies of the evening to his young admirers who also want a piece of his soul. A great book.