Tag Archives: Open Skull Press

Douglas Blazek: Books and Broadsides

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Section A: 
This index includes books and broadsides published during Blazek’s “prolific early period”.

1. ALL GODS MUST LEARN TO KILL
Demarest: Analecta Press, 1968
First edition, perfect-bound illustrated wrappers, 7″ x 9″, 78 pages, 1000 copies. Preface by Brown Miller. Illustrations and cover by R. Crumb, frontispiece Jeff Nuttall, and photo collages by d.a. levy. Blazek’s first solo book of poetry. (DenBoer A2)

2. HOMAGE TO THE SQUARE, THE BLACKS, IAN HAMILTON FINLEY & MARSHALL MCLUHAN
San Francisco: Cold Mountain Publishing, 1968
First edition, single sheet folded once to make four pages, 7” x 5.5”, 449 copies . A concrete poem. Interior image silkscreen printed by Tom Kryss. (DenBoer A3)

3. LIFE IN A COMMON GUN
Madison: Quixote, 1968
First edition, stapled wrappers (some early copies comb-bound), 7” x 9”, 72 pages. A collection of letters from Blazek to Cauble, Pete Larouche, Willie, and Brown Miller. Illustrations and cover by Blazek. (DenBoer A4)

4. STING & DIE
Eugene: Toad Press, 1968
First edition, stapled wrappers, 5″ x 7.5″, 16 pages. (DenBoer A5)

5. BATTLEFIELD SYRUP
San Francisco: Lone Ranger Biology Press, 1969
First edition, stapled wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 28 pages. Published as Meatball #3. (DenBoer A7)

6. BAPTISMAL CORRUPTION IN THE SUNFLOWER PATCH. Sacramento: Runcible Spoon, 1969
First edition, stapled wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 32 pages. Introduction by Don Cauble. Illustrated By Thorne. (DenBoer A8)

7. BROKEN KNUCKLE POEMS.
Cleveland, Black Rabbit Press, 1969
First edition, stapled silkscreened wrappers, 60 pages, 8.5” x 11”, 500 copies. Introduction by T.L. Kryss. Illustrations by Aaron Pori, silkscreened by Kryss. (DenBoer A9)

8. FUCK OFF, UNLESS YOU TAKE OFF THAT MASK
Milwaukee: Gunrunner Press, 1969
First edition, stapled pictorial wrappers, 28 pages, 7″ x 8.5″, 350 copies. (DenBoer A11)

9. I ADVANCE WITH A LOADED ROSE
San Francisco: Two Windows Press, 1969
First edition, stapled illustrated wrappers, 6.5″ x 10″, 650 copies. Cover art by T. L. Kryss. (DenBoer A12)

10. CLIMBING BLIND
Cardiff: Second Aeon, 1970
First edition, stapled illustrated wrappers, 16 pages, 5″ x 8″, 200 copies. Illustrated by Hapt Schwiiz. (DenBoer A13)

11. FLUX & REFLUX: JOURNIES IN A MAGICAL FLUID
Berkeley: Oyez, 1970
First edition, paperback, 57 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 1000 copies. Illustrated by Michael Myers and designed and printed by Clifford Burke at the Cranium Press. (DenBoer A14)

12. GROWTH IS A KANGAROO COURT
New York: Atom Mind Publications, 1970
First edition, stapled wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″. (DenBoer A15)

13. MAGICAL ASSASSINATION
Minneapolis [San Francisco]: Andabata Press, 1964 [1970]
First edition, stapled wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 200 copies. Cover drawing by Blazek’s son, Nathan. Published under the pseudonym Jack Meoff. [There was no Andabata Press, the book was self-published in San Francisco in 1970.] (DenBoer A16)

14. WE CAN BE GENTLE AND UNDECEIVED BOTH
Minneapolis [San Francisco]: Andabata Press, 1964 [1970]
First edition, stapled wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 200 copies. Cover drawing by Blazek’s son, Aaron. Published under the pseudonym Peter Wellinher. [There was no Andabata Press, the book was self-published in San Francisco in 1970.] (DenBoer A17)

15. SKULL JUICES
San Francisco: Twowindows Press, 1970
First edition, paperback, 80 pages, 5.75″ x 8.75″, 1000 copies with 50 copies in separate bindings signed by the author. Introduction by Charles Bukowski. (DenBoer A18)

16. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED, ISN’T IT?
Watertown: Augtwofive, 1970
First edition, stapled wrappers, 44 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 1000 copies with 26 lettered and signed by the author. Illustrated with collages by Blazek. (DenBoer A19)

17. WHY MAN GOES TO THE MOON
Milwaukee: Morgan Press, 1970
First edition, stapled illustrated wrappers, 16 pages, 6″ x 9″, 300 copies. Illustrated by Vickie Burton. Published as Hey Lady Supplement No. 5. (DenBoer A21)

18. ZANY TYPHOONS
Sacramento: Open Skull Press, 1970
First edition, perfect bound illustrated wrappers, 8.5″ x 11″, 200 copies. Illustrated by Robert Crumb. (DenBoer A22)

19. IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE FAMOUS
Cardiff: Second Aeon, 1971
First edition, stapled wrappers, 8 pages, 8.25″ x 11.5″, 100 copies. (DenBoer A23)

20.  INNER MARATHONS
London: Killaly Press, 1973
First edition, stapled wrappers, 22 pages, 7.25″ x 8.75″, 100 copies. Published as Killaly Chapbook No. 3. (DenBoer A25)

21. LETHAL PAPER
Norwich: The Stone Press, 1975.
First edition, stapled illustrated wrappers, 28 pages, 5.25″ x 7″. Published as Stone Chapbooks No. 3. (DenBoer A28)

22. I AM A WEAPON
Marshall: Ox Head Press, 1975.
First edition, sewn printed wrappers, 24 pages, 4.25″ x 6.5″, 400 copies. Published as Ox Head No. 13. (DenBoer A29)

23.  EXERCISES IN MEMORIZING MYSELF
Berkeley: Twowindows Press, 1976
First edition, stapled printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 500 copies. (DenBoer A31)

24. MY DEFINITION OF POETRY
Berkeley: Twowindows Press, 1976
First edition, broadside, 4.5” x 11.5”. Issued as a promotional broadside for Blazek’s collection EXERCISES IN MEMORIZING MYSELF. (DenBoer A32)

25. EDIBLE FIRE
Milwaukee: Morgan Press, 1978
First edition, paperback, 7.5″ x 11″, 500 copies. Published as Hey Lady Supplement No. 26. (DenBoer A33)

Douglas Blazek

One of the instigators of the “Mimeo Revolution“, poet and editor Douglas Blazek is considered a force in the American poetry “underground” of the 1960s. Early in his career, Blazek published hundreds of poems in dozens of books, chapbooks, and little magazines that, in Blazek’s words, “contributed to the ferment of the Sixties.” Blazek also founded and edited the magazine Ole and the small press Open Skull. As an editor, Blazek published work by Charles Bukowski, Robert Crumb, d.a. levy, and other non-establishment writers.

As described in the introduction to James DenBoer’s A Bibliography of the Published Works of Douglas Blazek: 1961-2001 (Glass Eye Books, 2003), Blazek is noteworthy for his prolific early period (1964-1978), followed by an extended hiatus. Between 1978 and 2009, Blazek published only one book, but this was also a time of intense creativity, as the poet focused on rewriting all his previously published work. The first book-length results of this labor, Aperture Mirror and Gutting Cats in Search of Fiddles, were published in 2012 by Edition Muta with more titles forthcoming.

The following indexes examine work during Blazek’s “prolific early period”.


A. Books and Broadsides

B. Contributions to Books & Other Publications

C. Contributions to Periodicals

D. Publications Edited and Published

E. Periodicals Edited and Published


References consulted:

Clay, Steven and Rodney Phillips. A SECRET LOCATION ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE: Adventures in Writing, 1960-1980
New York: New York Public Library / Granary Books, 1998

DenBoer, James. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE PUBLISHED WORK OF DOUGLAS BLAZEK, 1961-2001
Florence: Glass Eye Books, 2003

Dorbin, Sanford. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES BUKOWSKI
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1969

Fox, Hugh. THE LIVING UNDERGROUND: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry
East Lansing: Ghost Dance Press, 1969

Krumhansl, Aaron. A DESCRIPTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE PRIMARY PUBLICATIONS OF CHARLES BUKOWSKI
Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1999

Taylor, Kent  and Alan Horvath. LOOKING FOR D.A. LEVY (RANDOM SIGHTINGS): THE D.A. LEVY BIBLIOGRAPHY, Volume 1 [1963-1966]
Vancouver: Kirpan Press, 2006

Taylor, Kent  and Alan Horvath. LOOKING FOR D.A. LEVY (RANDOM SIGHTINGS): THE D.A. LEVY BIBLIOGRAPHY, Volume 2 [1967-1968]
Vancouver: Kirpan Press, 2008

Douglas Blazek: Periodicals Edited and Published

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Section E: 
This index includes periodicals edited and published during Blazek’s “prolific early period”.

OLE

1. OLE, No. 1, edited by Douglas Blazek
DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE OF MAKING POETRY DANGEROUS

Bensenville: The Mimeo Press, 1964
first edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 400 numbered copies, mimeograph. Contributors include: Charles Bukowski, Judson Crews, Ron Offen, Marvin Malone, Kirby Congdon. (DenBoer C2)

2. OLE, No. 2, edited by Douglas Blazek
A MAGAZINE FOR ALL THOSE UNACKNOWLEDGED LEGISLATORS OF THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE REALLY UNACKNOWLEDGED

Bensenville: The Mimeo Press, March 1965
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, mimeograph. Contributors include: d.a. levy, Charles Bukowski, William Wantling, Walter Lowenfels, Gil Orlovitz, Harold Norse, Clarence Major, Key Johnson, Marcus J. Grapes, Al Purdy, Kent Taylor, Steve Richmond. (DenBoer C3)

3. OLE, No. 3, edited by Douglas Blazek
THE ORIGINAL CONSCIOUSNESS-EXPANSION MAGAZINE

Bensenville: The Mimeo Press, November 1965
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 400 numbered copies, mimeograph. Contributors include: Charles Bukowski,Judson Crews, Ron Offen, Marvin Malone, Kirby Congdon. (DenBoer C4)

4. OLE, No. 4, edited by Douglas Blazek
THE POETFOOD FOR CHAMPIONS

Bensenville: The Mimeo Press, May 1966
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, mimeograph. Cover art by Blazek. Contributors include: Charles Bukowski, William Wantling, Steve Richmond, Clarence Major, Al Purdy Harold Norse, Lee Harwood, Jack Anderson, Neeli Cheery. (DenBoer C5)

5. OLE, No.5, edited by Douglas Blazek
HAROLD NORSE SPECIAL ISSUE

Bensenville: Open Skull Press, 1966
First edition, stapled wrappers, mimeograph. Cover art by Blazek. Contributors include: Charles Bukowski, Harold Norse, James Baldwin, Anais Nin, William S. Burroughs, William Carlos Williams, Paul Carroll, Jack Hirschman. (DenBoer C6)

6. OLE, No. 6, edited by Douglas Blazek
THE WEIRD HARVEST SPECIAL. THE ALL POETRY JAB-EYE REFLEX EXPLOSION ISSUE

Bensenville: Open Skull Press, July 1966
First edition, stapled wrappers, mimeograph. Cover art by Blazek. Contributors include Charles Bukowski, Al Purdy, William Wantling, Harold Norse, D.r. Wagner, Larry Eigner, Steve Richmond, Jack Grapes, Jeff Nutall. (DenBoer C7)

7. OLE, No. 8, edited by Douglas Blazek
Wood Dale: Open Skull Press, April 1967
First edition, stapled wrappers, mimeograph. Cover art by Blazek. Contributors include: Charles Bukowski, Charles Plymell, William Wantling, D.r. Wagner, Steve Richmond, Al Purdy Harold Norse, Jeff Nutall, T.L. Kryss, Terry Stokes, Clive Matson. [note: issue 8 was published before issue 7] (DenBoer C8)

8. OLE, No.7, edited by Douglas Blazek
THE GODZILLA REVIEW ISSUE OF SMALL PRESS PUBLICATIONS COMPREHENSIVELY ENCOMPASSING BOOKS PUBLISHED OVER THE LAST HALF-DECADE

San Francisco: Open Skull Press, May 1967
First edition, stapled wrappers, mimeograph. Cover art by Charles Plymell. Contributors include: d.a. levy, Charles Bukowski, Charles Plymell, William Wantling, D.r. Wagner, Steve Richmond, Al Purdy Harold Norse, Jeff Nutall, T.L. Kryss, Terry Stokes, Clive Matson. (DenBoer C9)


OPEN SKULL

OPEN SKULL, No. 1, edited by Douglas Blazek
San Francisco: Open Skull Press, 1967
First edition, stapled wrappers, 34 pages. Illustrated by Blazek. Letters from Plymell, Wantling, Norse, Purdy, Kryss, Cauble, and two letters to Bukowski. A “one-shot” periodical.

Charles Bukowski: Books and Chapbooks

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SECTION A:
This index includes books, chapbooks, booklets and bound offprints

1. FLOWER, FIST AND BESTIAL WAIL
buk_flowerEureka: Hearse Press, 1960
First edition of the author’s first book, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.25″, 28 pages, (200 copies), offset printed, cover illustration by Ben Tibbs, edited by E.V. Griffith. Published as Hearse Chapbooks 5. (Dorbin A1, Krumhansl 3)

2. A SIGNATURE OF CHARLES BUKOWSKI
mags_targets04Albuquerque: Targets, 1960
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 7″ x 8.5″, (6 copies), offset printed. An offprint from issue 4 of Targets magazine. (Dorbin B2, Krumhansl 4)


3. BUKOWSKI SIGNATURE 2
buk_sig2_xAlbuquerque: Targets, 1961
First edition, saddle-stapled leaves, 7″ x 8.5″, (6 copies), offset printed. An offprint from issue 7 of Targets magazine. (Dorbin B3, Krumhansl 5)



4. A CHARLES BUKOWSKI ALBUM
New Orleans: Loujon Press, 1961
First edition, side-stapled wrappers, 6″ x 9″, (10 copies), offset printed, offprint from The Outsider 1. (Krumhansl 6)

5. LONGSHOT POMES FOR BROKE PLAYERS
buk_longshotNew York: 7 Poets Press, (1962)
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 9.25″, 44 pages, (200 copies), offset printed, illustrations by Bukowski, edited by Carl Larsen. (Dorbin A3, Krumhansl 8)


6. RUN WITH THE HUNTED
buk_runChicago: Midwest Poetry Chapbooks, 1962
First edition, saddle-stapled printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 6.25″, 32 pages, (300 copies), offset printed, dedicated to William Corrington, edited by R.R. Cuscaden. Published as Midwest Poetry Chapbooks 1. (Dorbin A4, Krumhansl 9)

7. POEMS AND DRAWINGS
buk_poemsCrescent City: Epos, 1962
First edition, stapled sheets bound into printed wrappers, 6.5″ x 9.25″, 28 pages, (500 copies), letterpress printed, illustrations by Bukowski, edited by Will Tullos and Evelyn Thorne. Published as Epos Extra Issue. (Dorbin A2, Krumhansl 7)

8. IT CATCHES MY HEART IN ITS HANDS
New Orleans: Loujon Press, 1963
First edition, perfect-bound in illustrated wrappers with dust jacket, 7.5″ x 10″, 98 pages, 777 copies, letterpress printed, introduction by William Corrington, illustrations by Frank Salantrie, dedicated to Gypsy Lou Webb, edited by Gypsy Lou and Jon Webb. Published as Gypsy Lou Series 1. (Dorbin A5, Krumhansl 12)

9. GRIP THE WALLS
mags_wormwood16Storrs: Wormwood Review, 1964
First edition, saddle stapled illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 8 pages, 600 copies, offset printed. Published as a detachable booklet in Wormwood Review 16. (Dorbin B5, Krumhansl 13)


10. CRUCIFIX IN A DEATHHAND
New York: Lyle Stuart, 1965
First edition, perfect-bound in illustrated french-fold wrappers, 8.25″ x 12.25″, 102 pages, 3100 copies, letterpress printed, Dedicated to Marina Louise Bukowski, illustrations by Noel Rockmore, edited by Gypsy Lou and Jon Webb. Published as Gypsy Lou Series 2. (Dorbin A6, Krumhansl 15)

11. COLD DOGS IN THE COURTYARD
buk_colddogsChicago: Literary Times and Cyfoeth Publications, 1965
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.25″, 24 pages, 500 copies, letterpress printed, “Foreward” by Bukowski, cover illustration by Betsy Millam, dedicated to Frances Bukowski, edited by Bukowski. (Dorbin A7, Krumhansl 16)

12. CONFESSIONS OF A MAN INSANE ENOUGH TO LIVE WITH BEASTS
buk_confessionsBensenville: Mimeo Press, 1965
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 52 pages, 500 copies, text mimeograph printed, wrappers offset printed, introductory note by Steve Richmond, cover illustration by Anna Purcell, edited by Douglas Blazek. (Dorbin A8, Krumhansl 17)

13. THE GENIUS OF THE CROWD
buk_geniusCleveland: 7 Flowers Press, 1966
First edition, stapled sheets bound into illustrated wrappers, 4.5″ x 6″, 22 pages, 103 copies, letterpress printed, block prints by Paula Marie Savarino, edited by d.a. levy. (Dorbin A9, Krumhansl 21)

14. ALL THE ASSHOLES IN THE WORLD AND MINE
buk_alltheBensenville: Open Skull Press, 1966
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 28 pages, 400 copies, text mimeograph printed, wrappers offset printed, illustrated by author, dedicated to William Wantling, edited by Douglas Blazek. (Dorbin A10, Krumhansl 23)

15. NIGHT’S WORK (INCLUDING BUFFALO BILL)
mags_wormwood24Storrs: Wormwood Review, 1966
First edition, saddle stapled illustrated wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 12 pages, 600 copies, offset printed. Published as a detachable booklet in Wormwood Review 24. (Dorbin B11)


16. 2 POEMS
buk_2poemsLos Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1967
First edition, hand-sewn printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 8 pages, 111 copies, letterpress printed. (Dorbin B12, Krumhansl 25)

111 copies were published 7 April 1967, of which 99 were signed, the remaining 12 copies are unsigned, numbered 1-12, and marked “Review Copy” in holograph red ink.

From the colophon: “Printed April, 1967 in Los Angeles by Philip Klein for the Black Sparrow Press. This edition is limited to ninety-nine copies; three copies lettered a, b and c, which are not for sale, and ninety-six numbered copies, for sale, all signed by the poet.”

17. THE CURTAINS ARE WAVING
buk_curtainsLos Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1967
First edition, hand-sewn printed wrappers, 6.25″ x 6.25″, 12 pages, 125 copies, letterpress printed. (Dorbin B14, Krumhansl 26)

From the colophon: “Designed and printed September, 1967 in San Francisco by Graham Mackintosh for the Black Sparrow Press. The edition is limited to one hundred and twenty five copies; three copies lettered a, b, c which are not for sale and one hundred and twenty two numbered copies, for sale, all signed by the poet.”

18. AT TERROR STREET AND AGONY WAY
buk_atterrorLos Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1968

a,b. First edition, perfect-bound in printed wrappers, 6″ x 8.5″, 89 pages, 747 copies
Note: Front cover of this edition was misprinted “Sreet” for “Street”. According to John Martin 18 copies exist thus, without the white label which was affixed to the second state (pictured).

c. First edition, hardcover, numbered and signed with original artwork tipped in, 6″ x 9″, 89 pages, 90 copies

letterpress printed, introductory note by Bukowski, dedicated to John Thomas, John Martin, and John the Baptist, edited by John Martin, printed prospectus issued. (Dorbin A11, Krumhansl 27)

From the colophon: “Designed and printed April, 1968 in San Francisco by Graham Mackintosh for the Black Sparrow Press. The edition is limited to 800 copies in wrappers and 75 hardbound, signed copies each with an original illustration by the poet.”

19. POEMS WRITTEN BEFORE JUMPING OUT OF AN 8 STORY WINDOW
buk_poemswrittenGlendale: Poetry X/Change, 1968
First edition, stapled sheets bound into illustrated wrappers, 6.5″ x 8.25″, 32 pages, (400 copies), offset printed, introductory note by Bukowski, cover illustration by P. David Horton, center-fold illustration by Bukowski, dedicated to Douglas Blazek. (Dorbin A12, Krumhansl 28)

20. NOTES OF A DIRTY OLD MAN
North Hollywood: Essex House, 1969
First edition, prefect bound illustrated wrappers, 4.5″ x 6.5″, 256 pages, (28,000 copes), offset printed, introductory note by Bukowski, cover illustration by Larry Gaynor. (Dorbin A13, Krumhansl 29)

Note: City Lights reprinted this  title, circa 5000 copies were published October 1973, note on verso of title page: “First City Lights Edition published: October, 1973”

21. A BUKOWSKI SAMPLER
buk_samplerMadison: Quixote Press, 1969
First edition, saddle-stapled wrappers, 7″ x 9.25″, 80 pages, 400 copies, offset printed, introduction by Douglas Blazek, illustrations by Bukowski, printed prospectus issued. (Dorbin A14, Krumhansl 30)

22. IF WE TAKE
buk_ifweLos Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1969

a. First edition, hand-sewn with green thread, printed wrappers, 4.5″ x 5.5″, 16 pages, 350 copies

b. First edition, hand-sewn with red thread, printed wrappers, 4.5″ x 5.5″, 16 pages, 101 copies signed, 100 numbered, and one marked “File Copy”

Letterpress printed. (Krumhansl 31)

From the colophon: “Design by Barbara Martin. Printed by Noel Young. Published as a New Year’s Greeting to the friends of the Black Sparrow Press in an edition of 400 copies, 100 of which are numbered and signed by the author.”

Note: 350 unsigned copies issued, not 300 as stated in the colophon.

23. THE DAYS RUN AWAY LIKE WILD HORSES OVER THE HILLS
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1969

a. First edition, perfect-bound in printed wrappers, 6″ x 8.5″, 160 pages, 1243 copies

b. First edition, hardcover, numbered and signed, 6.5″ x 9.75″, 160 pages, 250 copies

c. First edition, hardcover, numbered and signed with original artwork tipped in, 6.5″ x 9.75″, 160 pages, 63 copies

letterpress printed, printed prospectus issued (Krumhansl 32)

From the colophon: “Printed December 1969 in Santa Barbara by Noel Young for the Black Sparrow Press. Design by Barbara Martin. This edition is limited to 1250 copies in paper wrappers; 250 hardcover copies numbered & signed by the poet; & 50 numbered copies handbound in boards by Earle Gray, signed & with an original illustration by the poet.”

24. FIRE STATION
Santa Barbara: Capricorn Press, 1970

a. First edition, perfect-bound in printed wrappers, 6.25″ x 9″, 24 pages, 1000 copies

b. First edition, hardcover, numbered and signed, 6.25″ x 9.5″, 24 pages, 100 copies

letterpress printed, printed prospectus issued (Krumhansl 34)

Charles Bukowski

buk

Section A: Books and Chapbooks

Section B: Broadsides

Section C: Contributions to Books and Anthologies

Section D-1: Contributions to Periodicals 1944-1969

Section D-2: Contributions to Periodicals 1970-1979

Section E: Miscellaneous Prose


Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambiance of his home city of Los Angeles. His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over sixty books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in the LA underground newspaper Open City. Bukowski published extensively in small literary magazines and with small presses beginning in the early 1940s and continuing on through the early 1990s.

Regarding Bukowski’s enduring popular appeal, Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, “the secret of Bukowski’s appeal. . . [is that] he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.”

When Bukowski was 24, his short story “Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip” was published in Story magazine. Two years later, another short story, “20 Tanks from Kasseldown”, was published by the Black Sun Press in Issue III of Portfolio: An Intercontinental Quarterly, a limited-run, loose-leaf broadside collection printed in 1946 and edited by Caresse Crosby. Failing to break into the literary world, Bukowski grew disillusioned with the publication process and quit writing for almost a decade, a time that he referred to as a “ten-year drunk”. These “lost years” formed the basis for his later semi-autobiographical chronicles, although they are fictionalized versions of Bukowski’s life through his highly stylized alter-ego, Henry Chinaski.

During part of this period he continued living in Los Angeles, working at a pickle factory for a short time but also spending some time roaming about the United States, working sporadically and staying in cheap rooming houses. In the early 1950s, Bukowski took a job as a fill-in letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service in Los Angeles but resigned just before he reached three years’ service.

By 1960, Bukowski had returned to the post office in Los Angeles where he began work as a letter filing clerk, a position he held for more than a decade.

Jon and Louise Webb, now recognized as giants of the post-war ‘small-press movement’, published The Outsider literary magazine and featured some of Bukowski’s poetry. Under the Loujon Press imprint, they published Bukowski’s It Catches My Heart in Its Hands in 1963 and Crucifix in a Deathhand in 1965.

Beginning in 1967, Bukowski wrote the column “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” for Los Angeles’ Open City, an underground newspaper. When Open City was shut down in 1969, the column was picked up by the Los Angeles Free Press as well as the hippie underground paper NOLA Express in New Orleans. In 1969 Bukowski and Neeli Cherkovski launched their own short-lived mimeographed literary magazine, Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns. They produced 3 issues over the next 2 years.

In 1969 Bukowski accepted an offer from Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin and quit his post office job to dedicate himself to full-time writing. He was then 49 years old. As he explained in a letter at the time, “I have one of two choices – stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.” Less than one month after leaving the postal service he finished his first novel, Post Office. As a measure of respect for Martin’s financial support and faith in a relatively unknown writer, Bukowski published almost all of his subsequent major works with Black Sparrow Press. An avid supporter of small independent presses, he continued to submit poems and short stories to innumerable small publications throughout his career.

Bukowski died of leukemia on March 9, 1994, in San Pedro, aged 73, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.


References consulted:

Debritto, Abel. “Cacoethes Scribendi: A Comprehensive Checklist of Charles Bukowski’s Earliest Publications, 1940-1969”, published in RESOURCES FOR AMERICAN LITERARY STUDY, Vol. 35, edited by Jackson R. Bryer and Richard Kopley
New York: AMS Press, September 2012

Dorbin, Sanford. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES BUKOWSKI
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1969

Fogel, Al. CHARLES BUKOWSKI: A COMPREHENSIVE PRICE GUIDE & CHECKLIST — 1944-1999
Surfside: The Sole Proprietor Press, 1999

Krumhansl, Aaron. A DESCRIPTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE PRIMARY PUBLICATIONS OF CHARLES BUKOWSKI
Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1999

Online resouces:
Collecting Bukowski
Bukowski.net
Wormwood Review