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Searching
10-05-2009, 02:51 PM
I have found the following inspirational, so I thought I'd share it with you guys. I hope I'm not breaching copyright by posting it.

so you want to be a writer
by Charles Bukowski (http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/394)

willietheshakes
10-05-2009, 05:54 PM
Yeah, this'll get pulled for copyright.

In the meantime, though -- good poem. I prefer Buk's "air and light and time and space" personally.

dgiharris
10-05-2009, 08:38 PM
Good poem,

and to my knowledge, you can post a poem (of a deceased author) as long as you give the appropriate credit, right?

Pretty sure that's right.

Mel...

Izz
10-05-2009, 11:34 PM
Meh--i disagree with a lot of it, but hey, if it inspires you, good for you.

ishtar'sgate
10-06-2009, 12:39 AM
Sounds a little mad but then aren't we all.

AnonymousWriter
10-06-2009, 01:32 AM
Never force yourself to write? Dear lord, the world would have no books written.

Alvah
10-06-2009, 01:44 AM
deleted.


I agree with some of his thoughts, but I disagree strongly with the
above quote. Writing does not come easily to me, but
I will write anyway. I will not be stopped by the
preaching of a cantankerous poet, even though he was a good one.

Unimportant
10-06-2009, 01:50 AM
Good poem,

and to my knowledge, you can post a poem (of a deceased author) as long as you give the appropriate credit, right?

Pretty sure that's right.

Mel...
The copyright belongs to the author's estate until 70 years after his death. So no one has the right to post part or all of that poem without permission until 2064.

Matera the Mad
10-06-2009, 04:43 AM
It's been pointed out/linked to/quoted before.

Mata Hari
10-06-2009, 05:40 PM
Are there really people out there like the ideal writer described in the poem?

Is there anyone like that?

I have my doubts, but maybe that's just because I practice writing in an almost completely different way than the poem's ideal.

And here I thought I was with the majority? Isn't there a saying that goes "all writers hate writing" ?

Nothing in writing is natural but the creative aspect of it - the actual formulation of ideas and plots and stories. All other things, like the physical putting of pen to paper, is by nature a practiced medium. Even language is a practiced medium, as are any words we use to express ourselves. These things are taught, and do not flow from the writer's head naturally (we can't read and write from the womb), so there is bound to be some sort of a process and stumbling blocks.

So I think if you have the need and drive to create in your head you can make a good writer, but only through practice, and you must practice in order to be a master of the creative medium.

Lady Ice
10-06-2009, 08:46 PM
That poem seems just as structured and pretentious as what he's accusing other people of.

RG570
10-06-2009, 09:04 PM
That wasn't a poem, it was just a rant with random line breaks.

It would be great advice if he added in the bit about real writers not giving a damn about the rants of other writers.

Michael J. Hoag
10-06-2009, 10:57 PM
Great insight into a brilliant writer's creative process. Interesting, these two camps form in every art. Neither side can see how how the other even manages to exist!

As for me, I agree with that 110% and find the poem inspiring.

Bukowski used cut ups and other avant garde techniques which seem inherently like "revising." It seems he's saying even editing should be done with a purely creative and spontaneous attitude. Amen!

Michael J. Hoag
10-06-2009, 11:03 PM
Hey, this also reminds me of Suzuki method, "talent education" and Eastern attitudes about developing skill...

The two greatest musicians I've known (world-renowned record-setting artists) both echoed this same idea. They said NEVER practice, except when you feel you'd die if you didn't. And then the music should come roaring out of you. In this way, you develop a love of the practice, and cultivate the attitude in which art-making is most spontaneous.

Willowmound
10-06-2009, 11:39 PM
Never force yourself to write? Dear lord, the world would have no books written.

That's the one.

Searching
10-07-2009, 01:52 PM
That wasn't a poem, it was just a rant with random line breaks.

It would be great advice if he added in the bit about real writers not giving a damn about the rants of other writers.


But you only think it's a rant because it goes against what you believe in. If he said something that you hold true, suddenly it wouldn't be a rant any more, would it?

KTC
10-07-2009, 02:39 PM
I agree 100% with the words in this poem. I certainly wouldn't write if I had to think about it...force it. Gawd! Why would anybody want to do that. I don't do it for money (although, I've never refused the money I get for doing it). I had a woman in my bed long before I returned to writing.


THIS:


deleted

Yeah. Why the hell would anybody want to force something that doesn't come naturally, like a fire from nothing? Why, I ask? That's not love. That's not passion.

poetinahat
10-07-2009, 03:16 PM
The people who get that fire are lucky. There are many others who haven't ever felt it and would give every sleepy waking breath they have left to feel that sort of inner scorch.

KTC
10-07-2009, 03:21 PM
The people who get that fire are lucky. There are many others who haven't ever felt it and would give every sleepy waking breath they have left to feel that sort of inner scorch.


Confucius say, "Blow torch to the belly - not too high, or melt your face."

poetinahat
10-07-2009, 03:30 PM
The metaphor got a bit Hestonian, eh?

KTC
10-07-2009, 03:37 PM
The metaphor got a bit Hestonian, eh?

Get your hands off me, you damned dirty ape.

Lady Ice
10-07-2009, 08:36 PM
What has Bukowski written that anyone who isn't his fan has heard of? Fight Club- and even then we all remember the film more.

So is he qualified to speak about what you need to be a great writer? Um..no. And he comes off as a complete weirdo in interview.

KTC
10-07-2009, 08:44 PM
What has Bukowski written that anyone who isn't his fan has heard of? Fight Club- and even then we all remember the film more.

So is he qualified to speak about what you need to be a great writer? Um..no. And he comes off as a complete weirdo in interview.

Didn't Chuck Palahniuk write Fight Club?

Bubastes
10-07-2009, 08:46 PM
Didn't Chuck Palahniuk write Fight Club?

Yes.

KTC
10-07-2009, 08:47 PM
Yes.

Knew so.

Lady Ice
10-07-2009, 09:28 PM
Ah yes.

So Bukowski's written NOTHING.

Michael J. Hoag
10-07-2009, 11:41 PM
Ah yes.

So Bukowski's written NOTHING.

Seems a very sad way to assess literature, not to mention a sad and fallacious way of shooting the messenger. Most Americans don't really know Shakespeare, so I guess he didn't know anything about Literature either, and we can dismiss anything he ever had to say.

Ironically, Bukowski's often considered one of the best known, most influential and most imitated poets in the world today. To peeps in some other countries, Bukowski practically IS American poetry. A lot of academics even blame him for overpopularizing poetry.... But since illiterate Americans don't know his name, obviously he has no literary value and everything he had to say about life and art can be dismissed.

Edited to add; I'd be willing to bet that Bukowski's is one of the top 5 best-selling (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/bestsellers/books/275124/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_b_2_6_last) poets of the last 50 years.

RG570
10-07-2009, 11:50 PM
But you only think it's a rant because it goes against what you believe in. If he said something that you hold true, suddenly it wouldn't be a rant any more, would it?


Not at all. I never said there was anything wrong with ranting.

I'm just saying that's not a poem. Or at least, if people are going to really insist that it is, it's not a very good one. Certainly he wasn't feeling that pentecostal fire he seems so fond of when he wrote it, because, as I noted, it's just pithy opinions with random line breaks, and not particularly interesting.

Maybe that's the genius of the man. Perhaps he did this on purpose to illustrate his point.

Michael J. Hoag
10-08-2009, 12:00 AM
Not at all. I never said there was anything wrong with ranting.

I'm just saying that's not a poem. Or at least, if people are going to really insist that it is, it's not a very good one. Certainly he wasn't feeling that pentecostal fire he seems so fond of when he wrote it, because, as I noted, it's just pithy opinions with random line breaks, and not particularly interesting.

Maybe that's the genius of the man. Perhaps he did this on purpose to illustrate his point.

Bwaah haa haaa! Hey, then I got lots of great genius poetry! I illustrate bad poetry all the time!

Bukowski was a beat or a "post-beat" if you prefer. He wrote free verse that relied on "new" and avant garde poetic devices and a conversational tone as opposed to old devices and strict forms.

He also wrote a lot of "meta" pieces about the spontaneity of making art.
But it's impossible to say this isn't poetry, or "good" poetry without also dismissing "Howl" or the ancient Chinese and Japanese poetry the beats were inspired by like "Cold Mountain" (Han Shan.)

Check out these: http://www.hermetica.info/hanshan.htm

You'll see the same conversational tone, simplicity and "imagist" devices that Bukowski used.

Personally, I think this is a pretty darn good poem, but probably not his best.

The Lonely One
10-08-2009, 12:14 AM
:box:

The Lonely One
10-08-2009, 12:26 AM
This poem has come up a few times here. I personally agree with what it's saying. Though I think the "fire" and "bursting" and all that is up to interpretation. I find it to represent the underlying reason to write.

And I agree, if you never do feel that passion for artistic writing, why do it? Everyone has passions, seek them out. Whatever they are. Life est short!

Working hard, waiting, struggling to write because you must struggle, is not the same as writing for other vain reasons.

I mean, you write for whatever reason you want. But I couldn't write purely for income. There are far easier jobs, come on. Income: great. Expression, art: overriding. Art is meant to explore first and foremost, not to be sold. That's my opinion but honest, I feel that way. We sell as a byproduct of capitalism because that's the societal card we're dealt. Marketability is how we get our expression to the public. But it's too easy to confuse the vanity of "being a writer" that is the effect the writing has for the writer, with "creating art," that is the effect the writing has for the reader.

Lamadon
10-08-2009, 02:24 AM
yes, bukowski didn't write fight club = bukowski didn't write anything.

Bukowski's poem offends me, so therefore Bukowski sucks at writing.

KTC
10-08-2009, 03:04 AM
yes, bukowski didn't write fight club = bukowski didn't write anything.

Bukowski's poem offends me, so therefore Bukowski sucks at writing.

You are good. (-; My sentiments, exactly. (and I mean that in the same sarcastic spirit in which you meant it.)

Bukowski rocks.

HelloKiddo
10-08-2009, 03:37 AM
A nice read, but I can't say this is universal. People write for different reasons. He thinks it's not worth doing if a passionate fire doesn't drive you, or, As Tanya Tucker would say, "If it don't come easy, you better let it go."

I'd wager a lot of people who wrote a lot of great things never had that fire. I suppose he's speaking for himself.

I wonder, can very passionate people not understand people who aren't passionate? I gather they view such people as an alien species...

Edit: I thought it was legal to quote small parts of copyrighted works for discussion purposes?

Lady Ice
10-08-2009, 08:46 PM
yes, bukowski didn't write fight club = bukowski didn't write anything.

Bukowski's poem offends me, so therefore Bukowski sucks at writing.

It's just the sort of poetry I hate- self-indulgent whining with no clear love of language at all. Anybody can rant.
It sounds like someone moaning because they aren't as well-known as other writers yet this is purely because of their wonderful integrity/passion/genius as opposed to the fact that they maybe aren't as good as some of those well-known authors. It doesn't come off as passionate dedication, it comes off as negative 'Oh, you've sold yourselves! Shame on you!'.

AnonymousWriter
10-08-2009, 08:54 PM
It's just the sort of poetry I hate- self-indulgent whining with no clear love of language at all.

Yes. He is rated highly, loved worldwide and famous for his poetry, but he has no clear love of language at all.

Lady Ice
10-08-2009, 09:49 PM
Yes. He is rated highly, loved worldwide and famous for his poetry, but he has no clear love of language at all.

Success only means something's popular, not that it's good.

Michael J. Hoag
10-08-2009, 10:07 PM
What has Bukowski written that anyone who isn't his fan has heard of? Fight Club- and even then we all remember the film more.

So is he qualified to speak about what you need to be a great writer? Um..no. And he comes off as a complete weirdo in interview.

Wait, wait, no... I mean:


Success only means something's popular, not that it's good.

I got it:

SUCCESS is POPULARITY, which is the clearly key to GREATNESS but it doesn't mean something's GOOD, unless you REMEMBER it, except if there's a FILM, or it's THURSDAY, or you DID (or DIDN'T) write FIGHT CLUB, in which case: don't be a WEIRDO in interviews.

Which all means YOU don't like BUKOWSKI.

But other people do.

KTC
10-08-2009, 10:42 PM
word.

CaroGirl
10-08-2009, 10:52 PM
It's just the sort of poetry I hate- self-indulgent whining with no clear love of language at all. Anybody can rant.
It sounds like someone moaning because they aren't as well-known as other writers yet this is purely because of their wonderful integrity/passion/genius as opposed to the fact that they maybe aren't as good as some of those well-known authors. It doesn't come off as passionate dedication, it comes off as negative 'Oh, you've sold yourselves! Shame on you!'.
Oh dear. I think you missed the point.

Lady Ice
10-09-2009, 08:53 PM
Oh dear. I think you missed the point.

I get the point- 'Don't be a writer unless you'd rather die than do anything else'. But I'm afraid I'm an elitest ;) and quite frankly I'd rather read a library full of 'dull, pretentious poetry' than stuff like this.

And it contradicts itself:

if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
Then we get:

'if you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently.'

If you're going to write poems about writing poems, it's got to be knock-out.