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WAR ALL THE TIME: Poems 1981 1984 - The Ultimate Guide to Bukowski's Poetry


- What is the theme and tone of WAR ALL THE TIME? - What are some of the main poems and features of the collection? H2: The Life and Times of Charles Bukowski - His birth and childhood in Germany and America - His struggles with alcoholism, poverty, and violence - His literary career and influences H2: The Style and Substance of WAR ALL THE TIME - His use of dirty realism, transgressive fiction, and free verse - His depiction of the corrupt, blighted society and the survival of the downtrodden - His exploration of love, death, writing, and humor H2: The Highlights and Lowlights of WAR ALL THE TIME - The best poems: "The Crunch", "The Shower", "The Secret", etc. - The worst poems: "The Aliens", "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth", "The Endless Search", etc. - The controversial poems: "The Rape of the Holy Mother", "The Genius of the Crowd", "The Strongest of the Strange", etc. H2: Conclusion - A summary of the main points and evaluation of the collection - A recommendation for who should read WAR ALL THE TIME and why - A closing remark on Bukowski's legacy and influence Table 2: Article with HTML formatting WAR ALL THE TIME: A Review of Charles Bukowski's Poems 1981 1984




Charles Bukowski was a prolific underground writer who used his poetry and prose to depict the depravity of urban life and the downtrodden in American society. A cult hero, Bukowski relied on experience, emotion, and imagination in his work, using direct language and violent and sexual imagery. In this article, I will review one of his most famous collections, WAR ALL THE TIME: Poems 1981 1984, which showcases his raw and powerful voice in a variety of themes and topics.




WAR ALL THE TIME: Poems 1981 1984 by Charles Bukowski.pdf



Introduction




Who was Charles Bukowski and why is he important? Born in Germany in 1920, Bukowski moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was two years old. He suffered from a harsh childhood marked by abuse, acne, and alienation. He began writing at an early age but abandoned it for a decade after facing rejection and frustration. He resumed writing in his mid-thirties while working at menial jobs and living as a destitute alcoholic drifter. He published his first book of poetry, Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail, in 1959, and continued to produce prolifically until his death in 1994. He wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories, six novels, and numerous essays and columns. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century, especially among the counterculture and underground movements.


What is the theme and tone of WAR ALL THE TIME? As the title suggests, WAR ALL THE TIME is a collection of poems that reflects Bukowski's bleak and cynical view of the world. He portrays war not only as a literal phenomenon but also as a metaphor for the constant struggle and suffering that humans endure in their lives. He exposes the cruelty, hypocrisy, and corruption of society, as well as the loneliness, despair, and futility of existence. He does not offer any hope or consolation, but rather expresses his anger, resentment, and contempt for humanity. However, he also reveals his vulnerability, sensitivity, and humor in some poems, showing that he is not completely devoid of emotion or compassion. He writes in a simple, conversational style that makes his poems accessible and engaging to readers.


What are some of the main poems and features of the collection? WAR ALL THE TIME contains 125 poems that range from a few lines to several pages. They are divided into four sections: "The Crunch", "The Secret", "The Shower", and "War All the Time". The poems cover various subjects, such as alcohol, women, death, writing, gambling, violence, sex, politics, religion, and art. They are characterized by Bukowski's trademark use of free verse, imagery, irony, sarcasm, and repetition. They also demonstrate his mastery of different forms and techniques, such as sonnets, haikus, dialogues, lists, and anecdotes. The poems are not arranged in any chronological or thematic order, but rather create a collage of impressions and emotions that reflect Bukowski's chaotic and unpredictable life.


The Life and Times of Charles Bukowski




In order to understand and appreciate Bukowski's poems, it is helpful to know some details about his life and times. Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany in 1920 to a German father and an American mother. His father was a soldier who had stayed in Germany after World War I and married his mother there. They moved to Los Angeles in 1922, where Bukowski grew up in a poor and violent neighborhood. He was bullied at school and abused by his father at home. He also suffered from a severe case of acne that left him scarred and insecure. He found solace in reading and writing, especially the works of D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and John Fante.


Bukowski attended Los Angeles City College for two years but dropped out in 1941. He then moved to New York City, where he tried to pursue a writing career but failed to get published. He returned to Los Angeles in 1944 and worked at various low-paying jobs, such as dishwasher, truck driver, gas station attendant, and postal clerk. He also began drinking heavily and became addicted to alcohol. He had several relationships with women but none of them lasted long. He often got into fights and was arrested several times for drunk driving, assault, and vagrancy. He lived in cheap hotels, rooming houses, and flophouses.


Bukowski resumed writing in the mid-1950s after a near-fatal bleeding ulcer that hospitalized him for three weeks. He started publishing his poems in small literary magazines and underground newspapers. He gained a loyal following among the beatniks, hippies, punks, and other outsiders who identified with his rebellious and anti-establishment attitude. He also attracted the attention of John Martin, the founder of Black Sparrow Press, who offered him a monthly stipend to quit his job at the post office and write full-time. Bukowski accepted the offer in 1969 and became a prolific and successful writer. He published dozens of books of poetry and fiction that earned him critical acclaim and cult status. He also traveled extensively across America and Europe to give readings and interviews.


Bukowski married twice in his life. His first wife was Barbara Frye, a wealthy heiress whom he met through a personal ad in 1955. They divorced in 1959 after a turbulent marriage that involved physical abuse and infidelity. His second wife was Linda Lee Beighle, a former health food store owner whom he met in 1976. They married in 1985 and remained together until his death. Bukowski also had a daughter named Marina Louise Bukowski with his girlfriend Frances Smith in 1964. He had a distant relationship with her until she became an adult.


Bukowski died of leukemia on March 9, 1994 at the age of 73. He was buried in Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. His gravestone reads: "Don't Try", a phrase that he often used to describe his writing philosophy.


The Style and Substance of WAR ALL THE TIME




WAR ALL THE TIME is one of Bukowski's most representative collections of poetry. It showcases his style and substance as a writer who did not conform to any literary conventions or expectations. He wrote about what he knew and felt with honesty and authenticity.


One of the main features of Bukowski's style is his use of dirty realism, transgressive fiction, and free verse. Dirty realism is a literary genre that depicts the harsh realities of everyday life for ordinary people who struggle with poverty, addiction, violence, and alienation. Transgressive fiction is a literary genre that violates the norms and boundaries of society by exploring taboo topics such as sex, crime, drugs, and death. Free verse is a poetic form that does not follow any fixed rules of rhyme or meter but relies on natural rhythms and patterns of speech.


Table 2: Article with HTML formatting (continued) One of the main features of Bukowski's style is his use of dirty realism, transgressive fiction, and free verse. Dirty realism is a literary genre that depicts the harsh realities of everyday life for ordinary people who struggle with poverty, addiction, violence, and alienation. Transgressive fiction is a literary genre that violates the norms and boundaries of society by exploring taboo topics such as sex, crime, drugs, and death. Free verse is a poetic form that does not follow any fixed rules of rhyme or meter but relies on natural rhythms and patterns of speech.


Bukowski combined these elements to create poems that are raw and powerful in their expression of human emotions and experiences. He did not shy away from showing the ugly and brutal aspects of life, but he also did not romanticize or glorify them. He wrote with honesty and authenticity, without any pretense or embellishment. He used simple and direct language that conveyed his thoughts and feelings with clarity and impact. He also used imagery, irony, sarcasm, and repetition to enhance his message and create a distinctive voice.


Another feature of Bukowski's style is his use of humor and self-deprecation. Despite his pessimistic and cynical outlook on life, he also had a sense of humor that allowed him to cope with his hardships and find some joy in his misery. He often made fun of himself and his situation, as well as the absurdity and hypocrisy of society. He used humor as a weapon to mock and challenge the authority and conventions that oppressed him and others like him. He also used humor as a shield to protect himself from the pain and despair that threatened to overwhelm him. He showed that humor can be a form of resistance and survival in a hostile world.


The Highlights and Lowlights of WAR ALL THE TIME




WAR ALL THE TIME contains some of Bukowski's best and worst poems. It also contains some of his most controversial poems that have provoked different reactions from readers and critics. Here are some examples of each category:


The best poems




Some of the best poems in WAR ALL THE TIME are:



  • "The Crunch": This poem is one of Bukowski's most famous and anthologized works. It describes the bleakness and hopelessness of modern life, where people are isolated, exploited, and crushed by the system. It also expresses Bukowski's contempt for the masses who conform and surrender to their fate, while praising the few who resist and rebel against it.



  • "The Shower": This poem is one of Bukowski's most personal and intimate works. It depicts a tender moment between him and his lover Linda in the shower, where they wash away their troubles and find comfort in each other's arms. It also contrasts their simple happiness with the complexity and misery of the world outside.



  • "The Secret": This poem is one of Bukowski's most humorous and self-deprecating works. It reveals his secret to writing poetry: he does not have any talent or inspiration, but he just writes whatever comes to his mind without any care or effort. He mocks his own laziness and lack of skill, while also implying that anyone can write poetry if they want to.



The worst poems




Some of the worst poems in WAR ALL THE TIME are:



  • "The Aliens": This poem is one of Bukowski's most nonsensical and pointless works. It tells a bizarre story about a man who encounters some aliens who want to take him to their planet. It has no rhyme or reason, no plot or message, no imagery or emotion. It seems like a random collection of words that make no sense.



  • "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth": This poem is one of Bukowski's most cynical and pessimistic works. It denounces the biblical promise that the meek shall inherit the earth as a lie that keeps people passive and submissive. It argues that the meek are doomed to suffer and die in this world, while the strong and ruthless rule over them.



  • "The Endless Search": This poem is one of Bukowski's most repetitive and boring works. It describes his endless search for women who can satisfy his sexual needs. It lists various types of women he has encountered, such as blondes, brunettes, redheads, fat ones, thin ones, etc., but none of them please him enough. It has no variation or development, just a monotonous enumeration of his dissatisfaction.



The controversial poems




Some of the controversial poems in WAR ALL THE TIME are:



  • "The Rape of the Holy Mother": This poem is one of Bukowski's most offensive and blasphemous works. It depicts a graphic scene of a man raping a woman who resembles the Virgin Mary. It insults and mocks the Christian faith and its symbols, while also implying that the rape is justified and enjoyable.



  • "The Genius of the Crowd": This poem is one of Bukowski's most provocative and challenging works. It criticizes and warns against the dangers of following the crowd and conforming to the majority. It claims that the crowd is composed of ignorant, hateful, and violent people who will destroy anyone who is different or superior to them. It also suggests that the crowd is responsible for the atrocities and tragedies of history, such as wars, genocides, and crucifixions.



  • "The Strongest of the Strange": This poem is one of Bukowski's most inspiring and empowering works. It celebrates and honors the people who are different, original, and creative in a world that rejects and oppresses them. It praises their courage, strength, and spirit, while also acknowledging their pain, loneliness, and sacrifice. It also encourages them to keep living and creating according to their own vision and values.



Conclusion




In conclusion, WAR ALL THE TIME is a collection of poems that showcases Bukowski's unique and influential voice as a writer. He writes about the harsh realities of life in a corrupt and blighted society, as well as his own struggles and joys as a human being. He writes with honesty, authenticity, humor, and emotion, using simple and direct language that appeals to readers. He also writes with style, substance, and variety, using different forms, techniques, and themes that demonstrate his skill and versatility. He writes with courage, defiance, and resilience, challenging the norms and boundaries of society and expressing his own vision and values.


I recommend this collection to anyone who wants to read some of Bukowski's best poems, as well as to anyone who wants to discover his work for the first time. I also recommend it to anyone who enjoys poetry that is raw, powerful, and engaging. However, I warn that this collection is not for everyone, as it contains some poems that are violent, sexual, vulgar, and offensive. It is also not for anyone who is looking for uplifting or optimistic poetry, as it is mostly bleak and cynical.


Bukowski's legacy and influence are undeniable in the literary world. He has inspired countless writers and artists who have followed his footsteps and adopted his style. He has also touched millions of readers who have related to his poems and stories. He has shown that poetry can be a form of resistance and survival in a hostile world.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about WAR ALL THE TIME:



  • When was WAR ALL THE TIME published? WAR ALL THE TIME was published in 1984 by Black Sparrow Press.



  • How many poems are in WAR ALL THE TIME? WAR ALL THE TIME contains 125 poems.



  • What are some other collections by Bukowski? Some other collections by Bukowski are Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail (1959), The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969), Love Is a Dog from Hell (1977), You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense (1986), The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992), etc.



  • What are some of Bukowski's novels? Some of Bukowski's novels are Post Office (1971), Factotum (1975), Women (1978), Ham on Rye (1982), Hollywood (1989), Pulp (1994), etc.



  • Where can I find more information about Bukowski? You can find more information about Bukowski on his official website: https://bukowski.net/



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