Monday, May 21, 2012

Charles Bukowski, Artist

By Stephen J. Gertz

From: All the Assholes in the World and Mine (1966).

In 1966, after enduring a hemorrhoid operation, Charles Bukowski, America's poet laureate of the depths, published a commemorative short story. All the Assholes in the World and Mine featured a drawing by Bukowski, a Posterior-Impressionistic portrait of proctology's finest hour as a  team of crack surgeons removes a bunch of wrathful grapes from Bukowski's butt. 

A richly inscribed copy has come into the marketplace, addressed to the publisher, Doug Blazek of Open Skull Press, a prolific underground poet, key figure in the scene, publisher of the legendary literary chapbook, OlĂ©, and one of the first publishers to recognize the rough, uncut diamonds in Bukowski's early work. The inscription reads: 

"To Doug Blazek - As if a man don't have just enough fucking pain just looking out the window - But, no, there are always the little extras, one of which appears in this story - The poor asshole: Charles Bukowski Oct. 26, 1966."

From: Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Sleep With Beasts (1965).

A year earlier, in 1965, Blazek published Bukowski's Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Sleep With Beasts, which introduced the author'a alter-ego, Henry Chinaski, to the world, and featured a cover illustration by Bukowski.

This copy is inscribed, "For Doug Blazek - Doug - You know / what I mean - / that where almost all  / men have fallen apart / under the smallest / circumstances, / you've held to it / kept it / like a sugar cube / in a vase. / O, tough young bastard of / holler, true son of / truth, - my remains of / love, / Buk 1-25-66."

Below the initial salutation is an original drawing, perhaps of a face, that covers Bukowski's false start to the iniscription.

This copy also includes two pieces of original Bukowski artwork to the final two blanks, "Hangover and First Drink"...

...And "Dream of the Insect."

(I suspect, however, that the true dream of the insect is to be able to sit down and read a good book - 

...or suck up a good book's words).

Factotum (1975).

A thousand hardcover copies of Bukowski's Factotum were issued upon its publication in 1966.

250 of those copies were signed and numbered.

From: Factotum.

Seventy-five copies were signed and numbered, and included an original watercolor painting by Buk.

Recently, Loren Kantor, an artist located in Los Angeles who publishes Woodcuttingfool: Journal of a Carving Enthusiast, created the above portrait woodcut of Bukowski. Those interested in acquiring a print may directly contact the artist.

BUKOWSKI, Charles. All the Assholes in the World and Mine.  Bensenville, IL: Open Skull Press, 1966. First edition, one of approximately 400 copies. Octavo (8.5 x 5.5 in.). [12] pp. Illustrated saddle-stitched wrappers.

BUKOWSKI, Charles. Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Sleep With Beasts. Bensenville, IL: Mimeo Press / Publisher's of Ole, 1965. First edition, one of approximately 500 copies. Octavo (8.5 x 5.5 in.). [24], [2, blank] pp of alternating colored leaves: maize, white, and pink. Illustrated saddle-stitched wrappers.

BUKOWSKI, Charles. Factotum. Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1975. First edition, one of 75 copies (out of a total of 1000) signed and numbered by the author and with an original painting by Bukowski,

Book and art images courtesy of Whitmore Rare Books, currently offering these items, with our thanks.

Bukowski woodcut image courtesy of Loren Kantor, with our thanks.

Reading bug image courtesy of EmpireOnline, with our thanks.

Of related interest:


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