During the lengthy production of the film ‘Barfly,’ director Barbet Schroeder conducted a series of short interviews with the poet Charles Bukowski. This is the complete set of those interviews and comes in at nearly four hours. Observe Bukowski and see what you think of his style. He was an incredibly sensitive soul trying to be a boxer. He was also one of those people who when they speak you just can’t wait to hear what they might say next. A real page-turner of a person.
If you want to read a fascinating book about the time of making Barfly, read Bukowski’s novel, ‘Hollywood.’ He changes the names of all the people involved, but you can easily figure out who they are. It is the best book about making a movie I have ever read in my entire life – without exception.
Charles Bukowski’s poem here advises writers on all the reasons why they should not do it. Fascinating. Inspiring. And of course complete rubbish, easily and cheerfully contradicted by the many great writers who have done it for money and food and women and adulation.
The Rumpus has a piece that Charles Bukowski wrote as a forward to a book of poems by William Wantling in 1974. He writes about meeting the other poet for the first time and liking him. It must have been a big thing to be liked by Bukowski because he seems to have a problem with most people. His piece is touching and shows how sensitive Bukowski really was to the unspoken things.
He writes a bit about style and says:
Style means no shield at all.
Style means no front at all.
Style means ultimate naturalness.
Style means one man alone with billions of men about.
Is that really it? Boy, Bukowski would have hated me to the ends of his toes because I’m always arguing my point. The problem I have with what he’s saying there is that he made a living by writing with the biggest shield of all in front of him. A bottle. It’s the best shield there is. Bullet-proof. So he must be wrong about style.