Friday, March 9, 2012

Charles Bukowski Bonanza At Auction

by Stephen J. Gertz

Charles Bukowski is the star at PBA Galleries Fine Literature and Fine Books sale on Thursday March 15, 2012.

Twenty-eight lots of rare and, in a few instances, extremely scarce books from the Bukowski bucket will be offered, including Carlton Way Suite, Twelve Photographs of Charles Bukowski by Michael Montfort, privately published by the photographer in 1982. With each original print signed by Bukowski and Montfort, it's one of only two sets ("A" and "B") produced out of a planned run of twenty-six lettered copies. It is estimated to sell for $12,000 - $18,000.

In the  Carlton Way Suite deluxe portfolio, Michael Montfort chronicles Bukowski in various situations in and around Los Angeles and San Pedro, CA, including: pumping gas; smoking while driving; a few domestic tableaus; in his room tossing clothes around; petting a cat; at typewriter, eating; carrying laundry; two in a graveyard (in one he is lying down, in the other he's in front of  a headstone appropriately memorializing the "Beers" family); etc. 

The cover label states this is copy “B” of a limited edition of 26 copies, but in fact only two sets were originally produced: Montfort had to halt production due to costs much greater than he anticipated.  Some years later, a similar portfolio was produced in a limitation of three more copies, but with slight production differences with red ink signatures, etc. it was, strictly speaking,  a second edition.

Bukowski's original typescript for I Met The Master, his tribute to his literary hero, John Fante, is also being offered, along with the autograph envelope the typescript was mailed in to comix legend and artist, S. Clay Wilson.

Those seeking the ultimate, soothing Bukowski experience can be tranquilized by an infernal lullaby, Bukowski as a satanic Mr. Sandman reciting 90 Minutes in Hell, the original 1967 reel-to-reel tape of Buk's recitation of a selection of his poetry. 

In that year, Santa Monica, CA poet, Earth Books shop-owner, and Bukowski protege, Steve Richmond, dropped off a tape recorder and some blank tapes to Bukowski at his Hollywood apartment. Bukowski performed solo and gave the two completed tapes to Richmond, who, in 1977, issued the recordings as a two-LP set.

The Curtains Are Waving... #91 of 125. Signed, with Bukowski sketch.

No Bukowski library is complete without a copy of his collection Poems Written Before Jumping Out of an 8-Story Window (1968), and, of course, one is being offered by PBA. Here's a snippet from one of the suicide notes in the book:

I am drinking tonight in Spangler's Bar
and I remember the cows
I once painted in Art class
and they looked good
they looked better than anything
in here. I am drinking in Spangler's Bar
wondering which to love and which
to hate, but the rules are gone:
I love and hate only

From Cows in Art Class (1966).

It is fortunate that America's Poet Laureate of the Depths didn't take that 8-story dive.

Images courtesy of PBA Galleries, with our thanks.

Of related interest:

Charles Bukowski's Last Unpublished Poem and the Bestial Wail.

Dirty Old Man Exposed at the Huntington Library.

1 comment:

  1. Very good, Bukowski in a cemetery - where he's lying!


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