1. European Union compliance message: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Please log in or sign up to comment.
    Dismiss Notice

An Introduction to the Poetry of Douglas Goodwin

By Jay Dougherty, Dec 15, 2013.

More work by Jay Dougherty
  1. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    An Introduction to the Poetry of Douglas Goodwin
    By Jay Dougherty
    (Interview with Goodwin here.)

    When poet Douglas Goodwin appeared on the small press poetry scene in the 80s, his raw, evocative, often unapologetically angry verse caught the attention of many, including Charles Bukowski, who wrote a foreword for Goodwin’s Half Memory of a Distant Life, a chapbook published in 1987 by Clock Radio Press. "When I first read the poetry of Douglas Goodwin,” Bukowski wrote in the foreword, “I was immediately taken. The stuff boiled with the agony of life, and the daring to go on with it anyhow. Courage is infective. So is wild, raging humor. Goodwin has these things. And he lays the lines down clear and clean; there is no posing, no posturing, no poetic gimmickry."

    Those words, of course, could be used to describe Bukowski’s own poetry, so it’s no wonder that Bukowski would be attracted to the work of a poet with such qualities. But rather than talk about those qualities, it’s better to read them. Here’s a piece from Goodwin called “Why Are You So Fat?”; it’s included in the long out-of-print Half Memory:

    WHY ARE YOU SO FAT?

    Wife smoked and drank hard cider
    while I got another headache on a
    smoggy sunday afternoon with the
    neighbors’ children screaming and
    banging on the wall. And the tape
    recorder had to be returned for
    warranty work because it was fucked
    up and wife’s Smith Corona typewriter
    was fucked up also again because
    everything we buy turns out to be
    a piece of shit, especially if it
    was made by resentful, incompetent,
    hung-over Americans.

    And I went outside, intending to walk
    down to the parking lot to make sure
    no one was climbing around on our cars
    or dumping garbage on our cars or writing
    “WASH ME” in the dust on my rear window
    again, when a slightly demented, dirty little
    white-trash child squinted up at me
    through greasy glasses and asked, in a
    dizzy, semi-retarded voice, “Why are you so fat?”

    And I regarded the little child
    without sympathy, calculating the
    possible consequences of heaving him
    over the railing to the parking lot
    below.

    There was no doubt that Goodwin was influenced by Bukowski. “Why Are You So Fat?”, for example, shows some of the same markings that made Bukowski’s work so appealing to so many: an outsider point of view that shows disgust with, or contempt for, mainstream society; the elevation of sordid detail into poetic form; and, ultimately, relief from despair through humor, however sardonically conveyed. But there was a quality in Goodwin’s work that set him apart, as well—that made his followers, Bukowski among them, wonder whether, at last, there was a young poet who was taking the license that Bukowski had given to his legions of fans and imitators and using it to nudge the boundaries just a bit, moving in a direction that Bukowski seemed headed toward in his early poetry but that he abandoned in his later verse.

    That direction had something to do with taking the inspiration of anger that had propelled many of Bukowski’s earlier works and extending it with lines laden with a level of disgust and antipathy that Bukowski himself seldom expressed. Witness these lines from “The High Powered Rifle Fantasy,” for example, again from Half Life:

    She runs down the stairs like a little Dutch dinosaur,
    prancing to answer the door in her clogs.
    She has many different sorts of shoes, different styles.
    She answers the door and it’s the same person that it always is:
    her boyfriend.
    Her boyfriend stands awkwardly yet hungrily in the doorway as she
    ushers him inside with familiar words about her job and about his job,
    words about jobs.
    He’s over for dinner and a little screwing as usual.
    They’ll saunter upstairs, discreetly, at ten o’clock
    leaving plenty of time for the cock and cunt thing
    and a hard-earned rest to prepare for another sparklingly
    busy day
    of necessary and truly important and gratifying work.

    The poem continues for several more stanzas, piling detail upon detail in a biting, simmering diatribe that leaves the reader as much aghast at the level of the poet’s invective as it does at the ostensible subject of the poem:

    I’ve read her mail.
    I’ve scoured her room, looking for a journal or a notebook
    or anything
    in which a young woman might express her innermost
    feelings.
    I found nothing.
    She saves letters.
    They could have all been written by the same person.
    Cordial, newsy, distant, semi-literate, and boring.
    Letters to save in a box, to have and to hold.
    Birthday cards, notes from Mom, from Dad, from a sister
    in Norman, Oklahoma,
    from brothers and from high school friends, from college
    friends who are
    living and eating and sleeping and fucking in places like
    El Paso, Texas,
    and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fayetteville, Arkansas.

    Goodwin, in his best poetry, was on fire, writing a kind of verse that, in many ways, felt like it was picking up where Bukowski left off. Bukowski himself, in an unpublished letter to Goodwin (Bukowski 1-9-86), expresses discomfort with the level of anger in some of Goodwin’s work: “Your rage,” says Bukowski, “is not as close to humor as I’d prefer it but you’re often right on the mark and when you hit [the] target, it don’t matter too much how you get there as long as it hits.” Goodwin's railing against the stultification of the status quo, tradition, and the notion of success embedded in the American dream was familiar fodder to Bukowski and his fans, but Goodwin was pushing the boundaries of the level of acceptable reactive anger in poetry just a little bit further than Bukowski did. "Welcome to a new voice," Bukowski wrote in his foreword to Half Life. "The ranks have been thin for some long time."

    Indeed, to those with an ear to the ground in the small press literary scene of the 80s, Goodwin’s vituperative verse was uniquely biting, sometimes unsettling, but rarely forgettable. Take these lines, for example, from “Bitter Pill” (Half Memory):

    I’m sick of articles and clauses
    grammatical asterisks and salaries
    and the careful garbage of mercenary words;
    wielding nothing,
    meaning nothing,
    changing nothing,
    challenging nothing,
    changing nothing.
    I’m sick of it all:
    the wife at home, home, the job, the car,
    crashing into parking spaces,
    buying food.

    I arrive on time.
    I forego all tiny pleasures.
    I get nearly enough sleep.
    I watch the hours pass.
    I do my job.

    In all this late arriving compromise
    of the shared bed and the shared life
    I have almost half-memory,
    half memory of a distant life.

    Goodwin, Unfinished

    What’s sad is that Douglas Goodwin seems to have largely disappeared from the poetry stage. His verse of the 80s and early 90s stands as a tantalizing prelude to what followers hoped would mature into a body of work that took the baton from Bukowski and ran with it to an arena not yet fully explored. The good news, though, is that Goodwin did leave us with a body of poetry that should be attractive to any fan of Bukowski, evidence not only of Bukowski’s ability to influence a new generation of writers but also of the prospect that one day, some writer can and will break visibly above the level of Bukowski imitator and emerge as the next bard worthy of the international fame and recognition that Bukowski enjoyed in his later years.

    Douglas Goodwin’s Poetry Collections

    Goodwin’s poetry is represented in four collections that I know of. All are out of print. Please respond to this essay if you know of any that I did not include.

    Hung Like a Hebrew National. Earth Books. 1986.
    Half Memory of a Distant Life. Clock Radio Press. 1987.
    Sisyphus Lives. Apemantus Press. 1990.
    Slamming It Down. Earth Rose Press. 1993.

    Bukowski and Goodwin Correspondence

    Douglas Goodwin and Charles Bukowski corresponded in the 80s, if not a bit beyond. Three of Bukowski’s letters to Goodwin appear in Bukowski’s Reach for the Sun, Selected Letters 1978–1994, Volume 3, originally published by Black Sparrow Press. In the days to come, I intend to examine that correspondence, along with previously unpublished letters from Bukowski to Goodwin that Douglas sent me back in the 80s. I will update this essay with my results. One very interesting letter includes a poem of Goodwin’s that Bukowski rewrote for him. The original Goodwin poem was called “Twisted Living,” and Bukowski pared it down, calling the resulting version “I know what love is.”

    “He didn’t add anything,” Goodwin wrote to me. “He just subtracted.”

    [​IMG]

    ------------------
    P.S. Also, in the coming days, I will make available Goodwin's out-of-print Half Memory of a Distant Life in the PoetryCircle Resources section. If you're reading this and are not a member of PoetryCircle, become one. You'll need to be registered to download the volume.

    © 2013 by Jay Dougherty. All rights reserved.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  2. Anna Ruiz

    Anna Ruiz I have the same religion as that tree over there. Supporter

    Thank you Jay, another reason that I'll stay here no matter how frustrated and angry I get with PCF at times.

    And thank you for introducing me to Goodwin (his name is almost antithetical to his poetic demeanor, lol.)

    Anger is as good as any other human emotion.  Yesterday Barry and I happened to watch a 1995 debate between Christopher Kitchens & George Galloway (I met him a couple of years ago) debate at Baruch University in September of that year.  They made no qualms about *not liking each other* as a matter of fact, insults and slurs were hurled back and forth.  I understand that that's what happens in the Parliament, both of them living on the Island across the pond.

    Juxtapose that with the polite, false and unsaid emotions that are always just below the surface in my peace groups, in American politically correct politics where the truth comes out sometimes (the camera doesn't blink) and the public tsk tsk tsks or surreptitiously smiles far removed from cameras.

    I wonder if he's been writing but quiet since.  I wonder if he has been able to incorporate his anger but move beyond it in another voice than the one he wrote in the 80's and 90's.

    Do you have a current address?  I wouldn't mind writing him.  ~ Anna
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  3. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    You are quite welcome, and thanks for your note and thoughts. I have an interview with Doug that I will be posting shortly.

    I'd like to know, as well. Maybe he will see this on a google search and sign up to tell us.

    I don't. I received an e-mail recently from someone who had discovered Goodwin and was wondering, too, where he could find out more.
     
  4. Anna Ruiz

    Anna Ruiz I have the same religion as that tree over there. Supporter

    I found your interview on line, wondering if his publisher(s) know of his whereabouts.
    Now, I'm really fascinated especially because I, too, wondered who would carry Buk's baton.

    ~
     
  5. James Carver

    James Carver Well-Known Member

    thanks for the introduction as well jay...makes me realize that i barely scratched the surface....consider me a fan a of goodwin...cheers..james
     
    Jay Dougherty likes this.
  6. ljordan

    ljordan Well-Known Member Supporter

    A copy of "Half Memory of a Distant Life," the Clock Radio version, 1987 is available from ABEBooks for $200, Yep, that's $200 bucks. Nice review Jay. There's a point you make from a quote by Buk that always puzzles me. He, like many others, describe what a thing is by describing what it isn't, usually in pejorative terms:
    I've always been stumped by the idea that his poetry doesn't pose, has no posturing or gimmickry when in fact it is loaded with all three and those elements are what endures both of their work to the populist's ear. We love the idea that someone is telling the "truth" when it's just the snickering behind the curtain.
    Nonetheless, Goodwin and Buk wrote some memorable stuff: one of my favorites of Buk's:

    I met a genius on the train
    today
    about 6 years old,
    he sat beside me
    and as the train
    ran down along the coast
    we came to the ocean
    and then he looked at me
    and said,
    it's not pretty.

    it was the first time I'd
    realized
    that.

    In some respects, it speaks to what a miserable view of the world he had.


    Jay, one of the things that is hard to do in a review is not sound like you're press agent, selling the wares. It is clear you are a fan, but there is always an objective sound in your voice. It serves well... And I too thanks you for the Intro to Goodwin.
     
    powers likes this.
  7. Anna Ruiz

    Anna Ruiz I have the same religion as that tree over there. Supporter

    Hmmm.  I find that we all write well within our own (chalk) lines.  Those of us who think we don't fall into some kind of academic, misanthropic etc. poleymic are deluding ourselves.  I'm so not like that I've started another group unlike that.

    What did Groucho say: " I resign. I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member ."

    It's all *stuff*.  You have stuff, I have stuff, he has stuff and they have stuff.

    Sometimes the stuff sells for $700,00.

    Who could live with a gorgeous sunset every day of their lives?

    ~
     
    powers likes this.
  8. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    How interesting. I have about six copies of the volume. I tried to remember how many I "printed." Could not have been more than 200, I'm sorry to say, maybe far fewer. How I "printed" the things I published is a funny story in itself. Let's just say that I was a grad student at the time, no money, but with a $700 newfangled typewriter that let me see three or four words of what I was typing on a tiny little screen before the keys started hitting the page (woohoo!), and I had access to the university's copy room.

    Agree with you. It's funny how, once someone describes "why" a poet's writing "works," others tend to copy the words used. The "no posturing," "no gimmickry" bit has been repeated so often that the characterization is a cliche. I think, though, that for many, the appeal is on a number of levels: language used, lines, stories, accessibility, the sense that the author has lived what he's writing about. Speaking of Bukowski, I think he expanded the art to include subjects and language that had not been much of a part of American verse, and that was more significant than he was given credit for, at least in America, for most of his life. I sensed back in the early 80s how his critical reception would unfold. I just regret that I wasn't able to pursue both my interest in Buk scholarship and my interest in technology simultaneously. There was more money in tech, so I took that road and am just now coming back to some reading and writing.

    One would never hope that one's son ended up like Bukowski, but on the other hand, most of us are glad that someone's son did.

    It's true.

    Thanks, Larry. Work like this that does not take an objective tone comes across to me as amateurish. That said, this little essay is a fairly one-sided view of Goodwin, for he had some maturing to do as a writer. Bukowski himself, in fact, revised some of Goodwin's work and, in the unpublished letters I have here from Bukowsk to Goodwin, told him at least a couple of times what he needed to do to improve, at least in Bukowski's eyes. I agree with Bukowski's assessments, and I was going to expand this essay to include a discussion of those letters. I hope to get around to it. This was a "first sitting" essay and one on which I hope to expand.
     
    powers likes this.
  9. Jon Anderson

    Jon Anderson Well-Known Member

    Jay,
    Thank you for posting this essay, and for making Goodwin's work available here.
     
  10. David Belcher

    David Belcher Don't forget to be Awesome Supporter

    Hi, This  past  year  I've  been  making  lists  of  poets  I  haven't  read  and  every  Sunday  morning  I  sit  down, pick  a  name  off  my  list  and  browse. I'll  add  this  name  to  my  list.

    I've  been  a  member  of  another  forum  for  several  years  and  I  consider  many  of  the  people  there  my  friends  but  I  wouldn't  find  an  essay  like  this  there... you  know  your  stuff. Thanks.
     
    Jon Anderson and Jay Dougherty like this.
  11. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    Glad you like it. I intend to expand this when I have time, and perhaps that means when I'm even older.
     
    powers likes this.
  12. Mick O'Grady

    Mick O'Grady New Member

    "First-sitting" essay? Wow. How well done. It reads so airtight and leaves the reader wanting more, both from you and by Goodwin. Thank you for writing the essay, for posting the interview (my next read), and especially for posting the PDF of Half Memory of a Distant Life, which I just downloaded.

    DG had submitted several unpublished poems to me in the early '90s when I was living in the San Fernando Valley. I was reading work for my poetry anthology STOVEPiPER: Book One. The antho came out in '94, without work from Goodwin. I had really wanted to include a poem of his but nothing seemed to fit the theme of the collection. I still have his letters. I have the Sisyphus chapbooks. I used to have Slamming It Down--not sure if I still do.

    I published poems by Bukowski, Steve Richmond and Neeli Cherkovski in STOVEPiPER.

    In 2009, I wrote a long essay about Steve Richmond titled Gagaku Meat: The Steve Richmond Story.

    I had wanted to get some quotes from Goodwin about his friend and former publisher but couldn't find a way to contact him.

    As I read your excellent reportage, I was hoping you had been in contact with Goodwin.

    Not being able to contact the man adds to his mystique, eh?

    Mike Daily
     
  13. Jon Anderson

    Jon Anderson Well-Known Member

    Is there a chance of you making any of this available here? I'd love to check it out.
     
  14. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    Thanks for the feedback, Mick. I suppose there's a formula to writing of this type, as there is with much writing, and I've had my share of practice, for better or worse.

    You bet. I was glad finally to have time to unearth some of this stuff. There's more to come.
      
    Please do consider making this available in the Marketplace, as some of us have done with now out-of-print works we've produced.
      
    Please consider posting that here, too, or perhaps submitting it to Showcase.
      
    He seems to have dropped "off the grid," as they say these days about folks who are hard to contact via internet searches.
     
    powers and Jon Anderson like this.
  15. Douglas Goodwin

    Douglas Goodwin "We don't hate you. We don't even care."

  16. silent lotus

    silent lotus _-_== Loiterer ==_-_ Supporter

    dear Douglas

    thankyuuu  for lifting the curtains
    and a most warm welcome


    silent lotus


    `
     
    powers likes this.
  17. Anna Ruiz

    Anna Ruiz I have the same religion as that tree over there. Supporter

    Hi Doug, just seeing this thread reemerge and you being here, inspired me.  

    Haven't written a Buk poem in a loooooong time.

    This is going to be verrrry interrrestingggg, me thinks.

    ~Anna
     
  18. Douglas Goodwin

    Douglas Goodwin "We don't hate you. We don't even care."

    Jay Dougherty did a lot for me, and I am completely grateful to him. It's been almost three decades since that day in 1987 when I came back from a dentist appointment to my apartment (in Glassell Park, right next to the Glendale Freeway) to find a package leaning against my front door. The package contained 20 copies of Half Memory Of A Distant Life. I flipped open a copy and found the foreword by Charles Bukowski. I had no idea it would be in there. I had no idea it even existed. Jay never told me. Bukowski never mentioned it. It was the shock of my life and it still shocks me.

    And just a few days ago I found this website. And of course it's Jay Dougherty again. Who else? No one else remembers, and why should they. I've never met Jay Dougherty. I don't remember if we ever spoke on the phone. Jay is simply an amazing person. There is no explanation; he just is. My words are not sufficient. I can't convey the gratitude I feel to Jay Dougherty for what he did.

    Anyway, I don't write poetry anymore. By about 1994 I'd had enough of the whole thing. Bukowski died and he sort of took any impetus for giving a crap about poetry with him (for me). Maybe it was an overreaction, but you can't keep doing the same thing forever. Complaining about the same stuff. Finding more eloquent ways to say basically the same thing. Bukowski had a reason to keep writing. He was a genius and he was making real money. I wasn't a genius and I wasn't making any money. I was getting too old to be broke, so I found a better way to waste my time. The standard way. The American way.
     
  19. Cheryl.Leverette

    Cheryl.Leverette Reading poetry, editing media

    This is great, hearing from you like this, D.  So sorry you don't write poetry anymore but I understand.  Your presence will be appreciated hear no matter what.

    You know what, now that I'm thinking about it, I wrote a poem about you here somewhere.  I read these articles on you and then fell asleep and dreamed about it, woke up and wrote about it.  No tellin' where it's at tho.  I'll look for it, just for the fun of it.
     
    powers likes this.
  20. Cheryl.Leverette

    Cheryl.Leverette Reading poetry, editing media

    I found the poem, not all that great.  I was reading Bukowski's letters to you and dreamed about him, not you.  Oh well.  Nice memory, anyway.  Glad I memorialized it in a poem.
     
    powers likes this.
  21. TrishSaunders

    TrishSaunders Member Supporter Editor

    I'm sure Jay will be happy to read that; he's kept this poetry forum going.
    Still good to have you aboard, Douglas.
     
    powers likes this.
  22. Anna Ruiz

    Anna Ruiz I have the same religion as that tree over there. Supporter

    Goodness Mr. Goodwin.  

    Perhaps then, you will be reinspired to write?  I'm a poetry blabber.  Probably won't shut up until I go up in flames or the coffin lid comes down.  
    I read somewhere let your life be the poem you write. I guess it's serious for me.

    In any case, Bukowski never stopped writing about the human way.  

    Cheers!
     
    powers likes this.
  23. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    Doug, great to hear about what happened to you. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wondered (you probably had more fans, or "followers" in today's lingo, than you realized).

    I, too, left the poetry/little mag scene for, oh, about 15 or 20 years, I think. It just got old--the dearth of good writing, the abundance of inflated egos. Then one day, fully ensconced in the tech world, I decided to go online and see what was happening in the poetry world there. The answer, I found, was nothing. No, it was worse than nothing. There was a bunch of horrid greeting card verse almost everywhere, on sites with names like PoetryForAll and PoetEveryone. So I contacted (by e-mail) a bunch of the writers I had corresponded with in the 80s, when I was publishing Bukowski (and you), in the hopes of bringing something like Clock Radio into the online world, and guess what? Most of them were still firmly stuck in the paper age, either uninterested in the digital transformation of the publishing world or completely unable or unwilling to change their ways. So I had to give up on any hopes of creating something worthwhile online with them as partners and, instead, find some writers that were into the online thing and see whether something worthwhile could take shape. The result was PoetryCircle. It has its ups and downs, but overall, it's kind of fun, and we all see some good writing here on a reasonably consistent basis.

    So all of this is by way of saying that if the inspiration strikes you again, put the pen to the computer and see what happens. Sometimes inspiration results from community, or the context provided by other writers, and that's pretty much why I started this place. The main reason I stopped writing--in addition to needing to make a living, as you said--was because I was no longer in a community in which writing was taking place on a regular basis. I figured there must be others out there like me, so my goal was to find some good ones and start this place. Here it is. Sometimes we all get sick of it, but most of us tend to come back.
     
  24. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    I'm pretty sure Bukowski got a kick out of this poem of yours, Doug, and I remembered it, too, from time to time throughout the years.

    WAITING FOR BUKOWSKI TO DIE

    Richmond shakes his head disgustedly.
    He taps the filter end of his cigarette
    on the corner of his gnarled wooden table.
    He sticks the thing in his mouth.
    "Bukowski didn't start writing prose
    until he was in his forties."
    Richmond's eyes are wide; he inhales smoke.

    "Yeah, yeah, yeah ... " I respond, thinking:
    so this is Gretchen Willits, spilling the beans.

    "Bukowski's a fucking genius," he goes on.
    "If you could just tape record everything
    that comes out of that fucker's mouth .... "
    He trails off, eyes wide, smoke swirling out
    of nostrils and mouth.

    It's cruel of me, I realize, to sit here
    watching this guy for later poems
    and unwise but I see the poem forming
    and I push it away. I like Richmond.

    "Barton's just waiting for Bukowski to die;
    he's sitting on tons of crap, just waiting."

    I don't understand this but don't pursue.

    "Barton wants to write Bukowski's biography,
    publish his collected letters, shit like that."

    I nod.

    "Barton wouldn't let me publish about 80 pages
    of Bukowski letters; he threatened to sue.
    I was gonna call it, LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET."
    He scrunches out the cigarette in a well-used ash tray.
    He sighs.
    "Ah fuck it," he says. "If I were Barton, I'd probably
    do the same thing."

    "No you wouldn't," I say.

    Richmond thinks about it, takes out another cigarette,
    taps it on the corner of the gnarled wooden table.
    "No, I probably would," he says, and then he laughs
    and lights his cigarette.
     
  25. Douglas Goodwin

    Douglas Goodwin "We don't hate you. We don't even care."

    Yes, this was also a big part of it for me. It just got boring. All these fake-tough guys bragging about how bad they were. It was like Twitter before Twitter, and they weren't even limited to 140 characters. And the idea that by writing down every mundane thought that has ever occurred to you constituted "doing your work" as if it demonstrated a superior virtue and an impressive work ethic was so lame and false and empty. It was disgusting. I no longer wanted to participate. Flushing it all away was the right thing to do (for me), at that time.
     
  26. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    Ultimately, though, for writers, the writing becomes a momentary stay against whatever else there is out there that you'd rather not be a part of at the moment--or that you'd like to process or make fun of or just discover some truth about--and sometimes the writing is a way to get through to that, whatever that is. There's also a certain joy in the creation, and for some that's enough. I think Bukowski could be counted among those some. He said as much many times. I would think it would be the same for you, too, if for no other reason than because there's music in your lines, rhythm, and style--which might, in great part, come down to knowing what to leave out...and when to stop.
     
  27. Douglas Goodwin

    Douglas Goodwin "We don't hate you. We don't even care."

    Steve Richmond was an interesting guy. I read something that seemed to indicate that he died a few years ago. It sounded like his last few years were increasingly insane, and he was not entirely sane when I knew him. He could be simultaneously generous and greedy, self-aware and delusional, vindictive and gentle...he was a truly bizarre and original person. Steve was one of the few people involved in small-press poetry with whom I actually spent any time. I never even met most of these other people, including Bukowski. The whole thing was done by mail. It's strange to think of now. It was an entirely different world.
     
  28. Jay Dougherty

    Jay Dougherty Well Worn Supporter Editor

    He did.

    I got the same impression.

    Would be great to read your impressions of him in an essay, hear some stories.


    BTW, did you see that Abe Books has your Half Memory title for $200? LOL. You're rich with your 20 copies (or however many you ended up with or still have).
     
    Cheryl.Leverette likes this.
  29. Douglas Goodwin

    Douglas Goodwin "We don't hate you. We don't even care."

    For me, the primary impetus for writing was finding a way to put into words how terrible I felt and explaining (showing) why I felt the way I did. I also needed to make fun of writing about feeling terrible because writing about feeling terrible is basically an absurd thing to do. Bukowski made a career out of it, and he inspired me. I found the whole process exhilarating for a while, and then it stopped being exhilarating and then it turned into something far less compelling. That entropy arc seems completely natural to me.
     
    silent lotus and Paul Brookes like this.
  30. Douglas Goodwin

    Douglas Goodwin "We don't hate you. We don't even care."

    Ha! Ever try to sell poems to anyone? I'm sure you have. These prices are not real (as you know). It's funny. A counter-offer of 15 cents would probably close the deal.
     
    Mick O'Grady and Jay Dougherty like this.

Share This Page