Cover image for Open all night : new poems
Open all night : new poems
Bukowski, Charles.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Rosa, CA : Black Sparrow Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
361 pages ; 24 cm


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3552.U4 O6 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A testament to a fierce inverted work ethic, a belief in self-help through unending self-attention, a refusal to waste even the smallest table scrap of world or time: that same tenacity and commitment to his art which New York Times critic Jennifer Schuessler found in the Bukowski collection What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire (Black Sparrow, 1999) can again be seen in the legendary bard's latest posthumous verse compilation. Several books after his demise, Buk still hasn't lost his revenant power. Think Villon as Lazarus, Celine popping out of the flames, Fante revivified. Written from the early 1980s up to the time of his death in 1994, these 189 recovered poems suggest that even his heaviest adversary, encroaching mortality, never made Bukowski flinch. The courage is undaunted, even if there's a strong hint of rue mixed into these deadpan nightcap comedies.

Author Notes

Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany, on August 16, 1920. He came to the United States with his parents when he was three years old and spent his early years in poverty. As a young man he was a transient, doing odd jobs. He lived most of his live in boarding houses in the Los Angeles area. He attended Los Angeles City College briefly. He worked for the United States Postal Service for about ten years.

Bukowski was at home with street people and his work contains a brutal realism and graphic imagery. He began publishing short stories in the mid-1940s. Starting with Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail in 1959, he produced poetry collections almost once a year. His following had grown by the time his collection of poetry about down-and-outers titled It Catches My Heart in Its Hands appeared in 1963. His short story collections include Dirty Old Man and Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness. His novels, with an autobiographical character called Henry Chinaski, include Post Office and Factotum.

Bukowski wrote the screenplay for the 1987 motion picture Barfly. He later wrote about the filming of Barfly in his novel, Hollywood.

Bukowski died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Black Sparrow says it has still more uncollected Bukowski in the barrel, but much in the sixth posthumous gathering of the roughneck bard's leavings sure sounds like bottom-scrapings. For instance, the poem that ends, "I am a beautiful person. / and you are. / and she is. / as is the yellow thumping of the sun and the glory of the world." It is hard to believe Buk would have tolerated the last line's personification of thumping and glory while he was alive, or the poem's egregious lack of irony. Yet this, including several of the bad poems, is way funnier than practically any other poet's stuff these days. Buk's life--full of blue-collar jobs, smoking and drinking, playing the horses, basking in classical music on the radio, going on tears naked, shacking up with a succession of floozies and the occasional wife, midnight typing, and lots of driving--was a dingy fountain of low-life literary comedy. There are better books for one's first taste of Bukowski, but this one will do fine for connoisseurs. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

During his lifetime, Bukowski (1920-94) acquired a global following for his verse and prose depictions of down-and-outs, small-time gamblers and tormented, ambitious failures in his native Los Angeles. The confrontational post-Beat poet and novelist left behind a vast archive of manuscripts, from which this seventh posthumous book of verse has been drawn. The thick volume (like his other books) includes plenty of casual anecdotes, fiery catalogues of others' woes, and dejected musings on his own persistent drinking, sometime poverty, and mood swings. It includes, too, the off-color language and sexual escapades (some triumphant, most embarrassing) that have always ranked among Bukowski's attractions. His familiar world of "bums and heroes" in "tiny rooms" where "each meal was/ a miracle and/ the week's rent/ more so" comes to the fore quickly, and as usual, there's something to it. Heroes range from anonymous pals to Toulouse-Lautrec and Delmore Schwartz. Some poems examine Bukowski's problematic attitudes toward sex and romance: "no matter what woman I'm with," Bukowski declares in one such poem, "people ask me,/ are you still with her?" Bukowskian figures more typically find solace at racetracks, with whores, with liquor ("I drank and I drank and/ I drank in my room") and finally in writing, which lets them "kiss the sweet lips of this dirty/ world/ goodbye." Nobody will be converted to Bukowski by these verses, but that's hardly the point: like William Burroughs or Jim Morrison, Bukowski in death retains the tenacious (and mostly youthful) fan base he gathered in life. (Dec.) Forecast: Bukowski's books are perhaps best known among booksellers for the rate at which they are stolen. Black Sparrow has done well so far with each new salvo of Bukowskiana; there's no reason to think this book of poems will fall short of previous marks. (Booksellers might want to keep them behind the counter with a note tacked to the `B' shelfÄadds to the mystique.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Open All Night 2 buddies I am not sure of our exact ages when we met (perhaps 9 or 10) but Moses was one of my first real friends: Jewish and very quiet and my second real friend was Red - he had one healthy arm and part of another: the lower part of his right arm was a pure white enamel with a brown leather glove over the artificial fingers. Moses vanished first. my father informed me about him: he pointed to a garage down the street a large white and yellow structure with sagging doors: "your friend Moses was caught in there doing something to a 5-year-old girl. they got him." Red's friendship was more durable. we went swimming together all summer in the public pool. he had to remove his artificial arm in the public as he splashed about with his arm and a half, the short arm ending just below the elbow. it looked like it had tiny nipples on the end of it or maybe it looked like tiny fingers. the other boys teased him about his half-arm and his tiny fingers but I was a very mean lad and I told them in terms most definite that the pool belonged to everybody and to let him swim god-damn-it or else. sometimes this brought us trouble later: a gang would follow us home to his house or mine and more than once standing outside they'd scream at us until we came out and met them on the front lawn. I wasn't as good as Red. he was very good with his pure white arm with the brown glove, it was usually around 4 or 5 against 2 but Red simply clubbed them down one after another swinging that hard arm I'd hear the sound of it against skulls and there would be boys down on the lawn holding their heads and this only made me meaner and Id get one or two of my own and soon everybody but Red and myself would have vanished off the street. we went swimming in the public pool together more and more often. there always seemed to be new boys always more new boys who couldn't quite grasp how it worked. they just didn't understand that we only wanted to swim and be left alone. harking back to Moses I'm not so sure but in a way unfortunately he must have been missing some parts too. we never saw him again but his mother sure could cook I remember all those delicious cooking smells throughout the house. I never saw Red's mother cooking anything. Open All Night . Copyright © by Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.