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The Last Night Of The Earth Poems (2002)

The Last Night of the Earth Poems (2002)

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4.31 of 5 Votes: 4
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0876858639 (ISBN13: 9780876858639)

About book The Last Night Of The Earth Poems (2002)

I am exactly what I am supposed to be.This is likely my favorite collection by Charles Bukowski. A man made famous for his vulgarity and debauchery—though to cling to such things misses the point and heart of his poetry—The Last Night of the Earth Poems removes the caustic armor and lets the tender heart beat out prose without fear, without need for deflection. While it is often the boozing and whoring and bitterness of Bukowski that is spoken of, particularly in college dorms, I've always felt that his abrasive nature was a mask for a fragile soul wincing away from pain, that there was something beautiful and passionate lurking beneath the gutters. Last Night was Bukowski's final collection written while alive and his awareness of inevitable demise creeps into the pages and allows him to speak more freely and passionately than ever before. A fitting collection to be revisiting as I sit silently with my beer, awaiting the next family funeral, awaiting the sharp daggers of held-back tears and gut-clenching awareness of mortality while a man I love and respect breaths through a tube in a nearby hospital with mere days left. Poetry keeps us eternal, keeps our conquests and regrets, our loves and shames alive and on display for all to learn from and imbibe like a fine wine to satisfy the soul and abate our nerves through the knowledge that we all share the same fate and fears and pains. The Last Night of the Earth is a splendid array of all things Bukowski, from his bitter wit to his most impassioned confessions, and is certainly a collection any fan should have at their fingertips.Confessionwaiting for deathlike a catthat will jump on thebedI am so very sorry formy wifeshe will see thisstiffwhitebodyshake it once, thenmaybeagain“Hank!”Hank won’’s not my death thatworries me, it’s my wifeleft with thispile ofnothing.I want tolet her knowthoughthat all the nightssleepingbeside hereven the uselessargumentswere thingsever splendidand the hardwordsI ever feared tosaycan now besaid:I loveyou.This collection is nearly painful to read at times. Bukowski offers a reflection on his life that is often funny, bitter and, in this collection, very heartbreaking. The ever-famous Bukowski poem Bluebird is found here (I've never felt much for this poem and wonder about its fame, it feels so detached from his typical style and reminds me of some of his extreme early works that I also didn't care much for as they felt as if he was overtly playing too much at 'being poetic' than simply letting the poetry flow freely as he argues for in many of his fine poems about the art of being a poet), as well as the awe-inspiring Dinosauria, We (you can listen to Bukowski read that poem himself here) and many others. There are angry tirades against false poets, hostile statements towards humanity, yet always a tenderness lurking beneath that reminds us of the importance of being good to one another, of appreciating the life we have, or keeping true to ourselves and striving towards our wildest dreams lest we become another fake and phony that Bukowski so detested. Let yourself be stricken with poverty and debauchery, he would say, as long as it was who you are and you stayed true to yourself. There are powerful statements of the ways literature can move us, memories of being driven to the heights of excitement and passion from Knut Hamsun's Hunger or Huxley's Point Counter Point, the pride in betraying his parents wishes and joining the obscene masses of writers (a absolutely fantastic account of this is found in Them and Us). There are humorous poems on feeling out of touch with the forward-moving world such as in Hemingway Never Did This which recounts accidentally deleting a poem from his computer, or the regret that fame came too late in life to make much use of it as in Creative Writing Class . More heartbreaking is his awareness of death and his testimonies to the agonies of old age. 'young or old, good or bad, I don't think anything dies as slow and as hard as a writer,' wrote Bukowski. It truly hurts to read a tired and dying Bukoswki, but it fills the heart to the point of beautiful overflow.Are You Drinking?washed-up, on shore, the old yellow notebook out again I write from the bed as I did last year. will see the doctor, Monday. "yes, doctor, weak legs, vertigo, head- aches and my back hurts." "are you drinking?" he will ask. "are you getting yourexercise, your vitamins?" I think that I am just ill with life, the same stale yet fluctuating factors. even at the track I watch the horses run by and it seems meaningless. I leave early after buying tickets on the remaining races. "taking off?" asks the motel clerk. "yes, it's boring," I tell him. "If you think it's boring out there," he tells me, "you oughta be back here." so here I am propped up against my pillows again just an old guy just an old writer with a yellow notebook. something is walking across the floor toward me. oh, it's just my cat this time.The Last Night of the Earth Poems is a perfect Bukowski collection that contains all the joys from his range of poetry but keeps to the most heartfelt of messages. While it isn't an ideal introduction to his work, it is certainly a necessity for anyone who holds any love for the man in their heart. Painful as it may be, this is truly brilliant and a perfect examination of a life as it was lived.4.5/5'So this is the beginning / not the / end.'Dinosauria, WeBorn like thisInto thisAs the chalk faces smileAs Mrs. Death laughsAs the elevators breakAs political landscapes dissolveAs the supermarket bag boy holds a college degreeAs the oily fish spit out their oily preyAs the sun is maskedWe areBorn like thisInto thisInto these carefully mad warsInto the sight of broken factory windows of emptinessInto bars where people no longer speak to each otherInto fist fights that end as shootings and knifingsBorn into thisInto hospitals which are so expensive that it's cheaper to dieInto lawyers who charge so much it's cheaper to plead guiltyInto a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closedInto a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroesBorn into thisWalking and living through thisDying because of thisMuted because of thisCastratedDebauchedDisinheritedBecause of thisFooled by thisUsed by thisPissed on by thisMade crazy and sick by thisMade violentMade inhumanBy thisThe heart is blackenedThe fingers reach for the throatThe gunThe knifeThe bombThe fingers reach toward an unresponsive godThe fingers reach for the bottleThe pillThe powderWe are born into this sorrowful deadlinessWe are born into a government 60 years in debtThat soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debtAnd the banks will burnMoney will be uselessThere will be open and unpunished murder in the streetsIt will be guns and roving mobsLand will be uselessFood will become a diminishing returnNuclear power will be taken over by the manyExplosions will continually shake the earthRadiated robot men will stalk each otherThe rich and the chosen will watch from space platformsDante's Inferno will be made to look like a children's playgroundThe sun will not be seen and it will always be nightTrees will dieAll vegetation will dieRadiated men will eat the flesh of radiated menThe sea will be poisonedThe lakes and rivers will vanishRain will be the new goldThe rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark windThe last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseasesAnd the space platforms will be destroyed by attritionThe petering out of suppliesThe natural effect of general decayAnd there will be the most beautiful silence never heardBorn out of that.The sun still hidden thereAwaiting the next chapter.

I knew from the very first page that Charles Bukowski is what I've spent my entire life looking for in a poet. His slice-of-life poems, be they three lines or three pages, are so raw, so simple yet so significant, that they're so perfectly representational of the embittered writer who has both no patience for bullshit and miles upon miles of talent. The word choice, construction and basic subject matter (usually a fleeting moment from Bukowski's life that would have been rendered trite and self-aggrandizing in any other hands) make for an in-your-face trifecta of thoroughly addicting observations. Reading these poems is like listening to the slightly off-kilter but mostly harmless older guy next door rattle off some of the most beautiful vignettes, proving that even the most hopeless scenario at least can be seen in an aesthetically brilliant light. The rawness of his language, the baseness of the subject, the stark and mincing perspective, and the lines that are so damn clever they make your breath hitch in your throat come together for simply, profoundly affecting compositions. Drawing from his own life gives Bukowski's poems a sense of existing in a specific place and interacting with the world on its own playing field, as opposed to being poetry that's simply passively enjoyed for a grade. There's something undeniably visceral about Bukowski's poems, and I think it comes largely from the fact that the recurring elements in his pieces are the recurring elements of his life. Something that has an entire poem devoted to it -- Bukowski's past landladies, foppish intellectuals, his cats, gambling -- gets only a few lines in a poem focusing on a broader scope, which just lends this sense of getting it and being there that just makes this collection of poems so tangible. And I just really like how his poems start off and give a slight indication of where they're going, only to end up way out in left field. You know, just like life.

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When Bukowski gets it right it's more right that just about anyone else can get it. There are some unspectacular poems in this collection, but the standouts are so very worth the price of admission. Buk, to me, is always at his best when dealing with the concept of death. He does this brilliantly in novel form with Pulp, and in poetry Buk manages to express a concerned apathy. That is, he seems to have reconciled his own demise, to have accepted it, and at the same time he is burdened by what he sees around him and what he sees in store for a humanity that he generally despises. I'm not doing this justice, go read it.
—Gene Wagendorf III

I really want to give this book three and a half stars and I must make a disclaimer. As an aspiring poet myself, I am both a harsher critic of poetic works than prose but also more sympathetic to their cause and 'pain' at getting each poem's word choice, flow (line breaks, spacing on the page etc.) and impact just right.The Last Night of the Earth Poems (by the way great title for a book! as are most of Bukowski's books....)is simply too good for me to dish out a mere three stars. There really are some marvelous poems in here. But amidst the gems, there are weird poems that leave you thinking WTF? afterwards and then there are the prose poems which seem like excerpts lifted out of any of Bukowski's prose novels. The prose poems are equally compelling but couldn't help but wonder if they truly belonged in a collection of poetry. I guess they can be considered a form of poetry. All things considered, this is another motley collection of strong and weak poems from Bukowski, but the gems do linger in your mind afterwards, like the bronze coals of a campfire early in the morning. Last summer when I was on holiday down in Okinawa (beautiful spot by the way!) I read The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hill, which I believe is one of his first, if not his very first, collection of poems. And now reading The Last Night of the Earth Poems, one of his last collections of poems, I was astounded by Buk's growth curve as a poet since Wild Horses Over the Hill.As some other reviewers have pointed out, the poem Bluebird is beautiful (perhaps his best poem) and I really like some of the poems towards the end where he expresses his views of other writers. I had no idea he was such a big fan of e.e. cummings. And it was nice to discover a few writers I had never heard of before like Hamsun. Buk likes Hemingway more than I do but I share his appreciation of Celine's work and Faulkner's. Bukowski thought he was the best writer in the world until he read Celine! Damn, that's a bold statement to make. In summary, this is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of Bukowski's work. Like all of Bukowski's work, the words just pour off the page and are sucked up by the eager reader's eye, and your fingers will be busy turning dem pages. Once you pick up this book, it is hard to put it down, so much so that I nearly missed my train stop a few times because I was so absorbed in this book. There is something so compellingly smooth about his word choices and line breaks. I plan to read Dangling in the Tournefortia this summer as many people have told me that it represents Buk's best work of poetry. Incidentally, it is nice to see so much of Bukowski's work finally coming out on Kindle. My shelves are getting pretty full these days and with the vast amount of Buk publications out there, my Kindle will come in mighty handy. A big thank you to the Temple University Japan Library for having this book available for loan!

I was standing at a bookstore during the Christmas season, looking for something else entirely when I spotted this book. I had dabbled in Bukowski previously, saw some flicks on him, and felt rather ambiguously about his slurring drunk face and unmemorable words. Until I opened this book. I don't know what compelled me, but it was one of those moments in a book lover's life. It was a reprieve. The hustle of the Holidays ceased to exist, the jostling crowd melting away as I read, standing there in other peoples' ways. It made me feel everything at once. I knew I had to have it. It broke the budget but the connection I felt, that unnameable quality and hold that a high school crush has, was too gripping. I still feel this way and I couldn't even begin to tell you why.

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