The Pleasures of the Damned: Poems, 1951-1993

by Charles Bukowski

Other authorsJohn Martin (Editor)
Hardcover, 2007





New York : Ecco, 2007.


"To his legions of fans, Charles Bukowski was - and remains - the quintessential counterculture icon. A hard-drinking wild man of literature and a stubborn outsider to the poetry world, he wrote unflinchingly about booze, work, and women, in raw, street-tough poems whose truth has struck a chord with generations of readers." "Edited by John Martin, the legendary publisher of Black Sparrow Press and a close friend of Bukowski's, The Pleasures of the Damned is a selection of the best works from Bukowski's long poetic career, including the last of his never-before-collected poems. Celebrating the full range of the poet's extraordinary sensibility, and his uncompromising linguistic brilliance, these poems cover a rich lifetime of experiences and speak to Bukowski's "immense intelligence, the caring heart that saw through the sham of our pretenses and had pity on our human condition" (New York Quarterly). The Pleasures of the Damned is an astonishing poetic treasure trove, essential reading for both longtime fans and those just discovering this unique American voice."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

Media reviews

New York Times
Surprising in this large collection are the number of poems characterized by fragility and delicacy; I’ve been reading Bukowski occasionally for 50 years and had not noted this before, which means I was most likely listening too closely to his critics... He observed birds, but one cannot imagine anyone less a nature poet, if you discount the infield of a racetrack, where you could see him in the long line at the $2 window... Pasternak said that despite all appearances, it takes a lot of volume to fill a life. Bukowski’s strength is in the sheer bulk of his contents, the virulent anecdotal sprawl, the melodic spleen without the fetor of the parlor or the classroom, as if he were writing while straddling a cement wall or sitting on a bar stool, the seat of which is made of thorns. He never made that disastrous poet’s act of asking permission for his irascible voice.

User reviews

LibraryThing member JWarren42
There are a few masterworks, here, interspersed among a ton of confessional trash and silly chestbeating. His voice was unique, though, even when producing work that was fairly unremarkable, even for it's time. The best we can say of this collection is that it doesn't foreground the sensational at the expense of the more philosophical. The inclusion of previously uncollected work is good. Recommended for poetry readers/writers… (more)
LibraryThing member byebyelibrary
This expertly edited and arranged collection of classic and uncollected Bukowski poems forms a moving confessional autobiography as satisfying as a novel.


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