LAST CALL: The Bukowski Legacy Continues

© 2012 Lummox Press
ISBN 978-1-929878-86-4

156 pages - Trade Paper- 6 X 9 inches

Edited by RD Armstrong - over 50 contributors

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New poems, stories & essays...the legacy grows!


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CC Russell, Pris Campbell, GH Hill, Michael C. Ford, Henry Denander, G. Murray Thomas, Ellaraine Lockie, Rebecca Morrison, Frank Reardon, Andrew Hilbert, Mende Smith, Mike Adams, Ben Smith, Mark Terrill, Doug Holder, HL Thomas, Charles Ries, John Dorsey, Father Luke, Jay Alamares, Michael Thompson, Bretton B. Holmes, Ian Rawkinrec, John Yamrus, Michael Lefanto, FN Wright, Gerry Niccosia, Joan Jobe Smith, Alan Catlin, Eric Djaeger, Bill Gainer, A.D. Winans, Doug Draime, Lawrence Welsh, Ed Jamieson Jr., Joe Speer, Joy Buckley, Jayne Lyn Stahl, Rick Smith, William Taylor Jr., Edward Field, Gerry Locklin, Isaac Edwards, Linda Lerner, Neeli Cherkovski, Michael Meloan, John Macker, Marc Olmstead, Alex Thiltges, Michael Basinski, D. A.  Pratt, Anne Menebroker, Abel Debritto and RD Armstrong

Last Call: the Bukowski Legacy Continues

A collection of writing that demonstrates his profound influence on literature in the small press.

from the introduction by RD Armstrong...

Even though I read Buk for years, almost up to the time of his death, it took me a long time to make sense of him.  Before that, I had just been studying...not learning.  Coincidentally, it was around this same time (the early Ď90s) that I also began to write in a Ďvoiceí that made sense to me.  So, although I studied Buk for a long time, I came late to this writing of THE POEM.  Perhaps this is why I focus so much on the words of the man, and so little on his deeds (or those of his minions).

A lot of people donít understand the premise of this book (or the preceding version). They want to know why there isnít any Bukowski in a book about Bukowski. Well, thatís just itÖit isnít about the legendary Bukowski, itís about the influence of Bukowski on a generation of writers who followed him into the trenches to write in their own particular style. Before Bukowski became the legendary Bukowski, when he was just another schmuck writing the not-so-great American novel, when he had a snowballís chance in hell of catching a break, he was like some of you; living with his dreams and enjoying the fruits of his low-life, with no discernible future, hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheckÖthe writing more of a distraction than a way out. Iím sure that some of you readers know exactly what Iím talking about (I canít be the only one left who hasnít been sucked into the great American Myth machine).

Maybe itís our love of the underdog that makes us hold his miserable life up and celebrate it as if it was a beacon. He was the long shot who defied the odds and made it out alive. Every generation needs one, the oddball who manages to give the goon squad the slip; or the two-time loser who finally wins. But, really, thatís all just publicity to forward the career, isnít it? The fans of Bukowski seem to love his laughable portrayal of the loser, the bum, the low man on the totem pole. The reality of all this is that he got out of his dead-end life as soon as he could, got a nice little house in San Pedro with a view of the harbor and a stones throw from a Catholic church up the hill.

REVIEW by Grady Harp

LAST CALL: THE BUKOWSKI LEGACY CONTINUES is yet another issue from Lummox Press which is growing in respect as a publishing house willing to deal with the at times darker, and at all times important aspects of contemporary writing and thinking. This book is a collection of poems, short stories and essays that have been informed by and reflect the very much alive legacy of the writer Charles Bukowski. Note to those not wholly familiar with this legend, the following biographical data will be useful: 'Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; 1920 - 1994*) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on 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. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife". 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."

What RD Armstrong has given us is first his own experience with the legacy of 'Buk' (as Bukowski is referred to by followers and friends), and the following is an excerpt that explains his stance: "So in this book I have attempted, again, to showcase a number of writers whose work shows the influences, not necessarily in style or form, but in the feelings that their pieces (especially true of poetry) provoke in the reader (or in the editor). Not too many reviewers ever address the visceral quality of Bukowski's writing, which seems odd to me since he was so fond of writing while listening to classical music, especially the darker stuff. It is music that tugs on one's feelings, pulling the dark undertones out and giving them a good shake. It is my opinion that Buk's poetry does the same."

Some examples of the poems and stories RD Armstrong has compiled follow: 

POEM by William Taylor, Jr. 

the missing co-ed 
is found dead 
and the rent 
is twelve days late 
the milk has gone sour 
and the sky is the color 
of charcoal 
and smells of 
heart disease 
claims more lives 
than cancer 
these days 
or maybe it's the 
other way around 
nobody knows how to 
write a goddamned 
song anymore 
and the 21st century 
was the dumbest thing 
you ever bought 
all the wars 
you paid for are live 
and in color 
but the TV is broken 
and the house, 
the house is out of 
whiskey again.

Or to insert one of RD Armstrong's own poems sort of ties it all together: 

POETICS by RD Armstrong 

Today in the checkout at Ralph's 
The checker asks me 
"Do you know Carlos Bukowski?" 
Carlos I think? 
I know a Charles Bukowski, why? 
Please don't be insulted but 
You remind me of him...

It's the week before Buk's 
Ninetieth birthday 
Even though he died almost 
Twenty years ago 
And plans to celebrate the 
Glory that is everything Buk 
Happen in Los Feliz this 
Saturday night in a party 
For the Bukowski faithful 
And I 
The forgotten 
One of his ardent fans 
Is being confused 
For the old goat down 
Here in Long Beach...

I told the checker 
I get that a lot 
Me and Buk 
Go way back

That's cool 
She says 
As she gives me 
A deal on the Jif 
Peanut butter I just bought

At last 
My association with 
Is finally paying off

This collection is brimming over with such jewels as this, poems and stories that pull up the stage on which Bukowski lived and drank and caroused and listened to Mahler and Bruckner et al and wrote. These works do not mimic or plagiarize Buk, but they are most assuredly under his influence which seems to grow more strong with the passage of time.

Grady Harp, February 2012

*Coincidently, Lummox Press was born the year Bukowski died...that says something about his influence right there!