Harriet

Categories

Follow Harriet on Twitter

About Harriet

Blogroll

Poetry News

The Final Fax of Chuck Bukowski

By Harriet Staff

Yep, Bukowski had a fax machine. And he used it to send what became his last poem to his publisher at Black Sparrow. Booktryst has the goods. We’ll begin with the poem, then a bit of back story. Make the jump for the rest:

#1

oh, forgive me For Whom the Bell Tolls,
oh, forgive me Man who walked on water,
oh, forgive me little old woman who lived in a shoe,
oh, forgive me the mountain that roared at midnight,
oh, forgive me the dumb sounds of night and day and death,
oh, forgive me the death of the last beautiful panther,
oh, forgive me all the sunken ships and defeated armies,
this is my first FAX POEM.
It’s too late:
I have been
smitten.

We wondered about it and asked John Martin for insight.

“On February 18, 1994 Hank had a fax machine installed at his home. He sent me his first fax message in the form of that poem. I’m sure he visualized sending me his future letters and poems via fax, but sadly 18 days later he was gone.

“I ran off nine photocopies of the fax, for a total of ten, and numbered and initialed them. Over the next few months and years I gave copies to individuals who were Bukowski collectors and regular customers of Black Sparrow. I think I gave away the last one more than 10 years ago.

“That poem has never been published (except as described here) and the poem has never been collected in a book.”


Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.