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You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense
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You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  6,223 ratings  ·  228 reviews
Charles Bukowski examines cats and his childhood in You Get So Alone at Times, a book of poetry that reveals his tender side. He delves into his youth to analyze its repercussions.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 5th 1986 by Black Sparrow Press
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Dec 03, 2013 Davy is currently reading it
The library is after me again to return this book to them. I just can't seem to let it go. I've taken to not answering my door in fear of an angry librarian come to collect on a raft of overdue fines. I think I might hide it inside my old toaster for a while just in case they break in and try to take it back.

Yes, it's that good.

And I'm a cheap bastard.
Man, I wish you guys could see how banged-up and dog-eared my copy of "You Get So Alone" is. I think that's the only way I can do this collection justice. The poet as an older man lacks the vinegar and vitriol of his younger self, but being eight years from his death certainly infused these poems with the magnetic appeal of a someone who has seen enough to write about it however he damn well pleases. His rage has abated and a brutally subtle wit stepped up to fill its shoes, all to an immensely ...more
Jul 25, 2014 Jareed rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want to experience a hard emotional punch to the gut in verse
Shelves: poetry
While the Beat Generation was making its headway in literature with the likes of On the Road and Howl, Bukowski was, in most instances, dead drunk. In the post-World War II lit movement where the Beat Generation found its threshold, Bukowski was in engaged in what was to be a ten-year alcohol induced stupor predicated on his failure to initially break in the literary world. He actually wrote in a time after the Beat Generation, and this perhaps have brought contentions of whether he is actually ...more
Nov 13, 2012 Aad rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
--beasts bounding through time--

Van Gogh writing his brother for paints
Hemingway testing his shotgun
Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine
the impossibility of being human
Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief
Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town
the impossibility of being human
Burroughs killing his wife with a gun
Mailer stabbing his
the impossibility of being human
Maupassant going mad in a rowboat
Dostoevsky lined up against a wall to be shot
Crane off the back of a boat into the prope
I think there is blood on my Bukowski book. Of course, the book is not mine. It is an ILL copy but I'm pretty sure the dried stains on the bottom right corners is blood. I wonder where the book has been. I've tried to not touch the area.

This is another excellent collection. Except for a few poems here and there that I did not react to, every one was memorable and true. I dread the day I run out of new-to-me Bukowski poetry.

Many of the writer's topics were the same, whores and other poets to name
The question I put to every poem - do I believe your truth, do I enjoy your lies?

If both answers are a 'no' I'll consider them a stone cold sober waste of time.

But let's move on to 'alkies'. I always had a sneaking suspicion that despite the obvious and secret trials and tribulations of being an alcoholic, (high functioning or otherwise) alcoholics are out there having so much more fun than I and additionally gaining great material and inspiration for that book, poem,
song, film project.

This book makes me wonder if Charles Bukowski was the loneliest man on Earth. (Not as an insult)

I'll further explain my feelings towards this book with the texts exchanged between me and a friend (starting with me):

- "It's funny, the reason I can't just sit through a bukowski book and finish it at once is because he actually kinda starts to annoy me after a while... ha"
- "I can see that. But how so?"
- "It's too hard to explain in a text or even a few sentences, we'll just have to look at the boo
Lots of people think that Bukowski's later work is less immediate and raw and powerful - after he found some commercial success (mainly in Europe) - than his earlier work. They ask "why don't you keep writing about drinking and fighting in alleys and sleeping with prostitutes?". To them, it felt more "real".

But I like the later stuff. It moves with more confidence and less self-awareness. I always got the sense that too many of his earlier experiences were experienced with exactly the self-satis
This is one of my favorite collections of poetry. Charles Bukowski led a pretty rough life (he was an unapologetic, womanizing, violent drunk) which is reflected in his work. Some of his pieces are coarse, lewd, and downright graphic. But amongst all of the chaos and drunkeness he will write something beautiful and poignant, which seems even more so in contrast to then violent and lacivious poems around it. And that's kind of what poetry is, isn't it? Finding something beautiful in the everyday. ...more
Jun 08, 2014 Isak rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Possibly Bukowski's most consistent collection of poetry. None of my favourite poems can be found here, but as a collection in whole, this book is marvelous. Less of the hard, chauvinistic and false Bukowski that I loathe and more of the soft, tender and true Bukowski that I love. Just as it should be.

From "1813-1883":

"some men never
and some men never

but we're all alive

From "beast bounding through time -":

"the impossibility of being human
all too human
this breathing
in and out
out a
I loved Bukowski in high school, haven't picked him up since then, but the purposeful coarseness, the rough exterior hiding vulnerable loneliness, the delight in being developing teenage girl should grow up without him. His poetry is so much better than his prose, this collection is my favorite.
I would never want Bukowski for a friend.

He's the friend that gets slobbering drunk at the party.
The friend who rails and rails for hours about some nonsense that nobody wants to listen to.
He's the one who ruins the carpet that's been in the family for generations- the one that your great-great grandmother wove with her bare hands-
and he doesn't apologize for it.
He's never the friend you look to for advice,
or the friend that you would ever share a drink with when you were in a happy mood,
Karl Prinz
I'll compare reading an entire collection of Bukowski poems to listening to a whole Sex Pistols album. You love the first song and the second. By the third and fourth, the feeling wanes as thematic and musical monotony sets in, and with each proceeding poem or song, your enthusiasm continues to decrease. You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense stays in Bukowski's wheelhouse of drinking everything in sight, screwing everyone in sight, gambling at the horse track, and realizing, from ti ...more
"Some men never die and some men never live and we're all alive tonight."

Bukowski reminds me of my first time stepping foot in the Tate Museum of Modern Art (London) and staring at rocks on the floor. They were part of the exhibit. It irked me that someone was getting paid to do that. Anyone could do it. But no one did. This is Bukowski-- hell, he's got some moments where he twists his prose into remarkable, ethereal figurines, but most of the time he spits the words of a layman (drunken at that
I changed the status of this book from currently reading to read when I finally figured out that I will always be currently reading this. It's a constant companion. It's a book that if it were not easily accessible only Kindle now it would be tattered and falling apart at the bindings. It would be That Book. So yes, I've read it and I will a million more times most likely.
If I have to describe how I felt reading this, it'll probably go like this:

I wake up and find myself surprisingly in whirlpool of dark, negative, depressing emotions
and while I am totally terrified that I'm getting sucked into the oblivion of it
I don't exactly struggle trying to get out either.

Fantastic read.
In the poem "Murder" he states:

the writing becomes a useless
a jerk-off of a once

Bukowski wasn't speaking of himself when he wrote those lines, but that's pretty much how I feel about this collection. That's not saying it doesn't have its memorable moments. "Helping the Old" could be considered one of Bukowski's finest poems. "Invasion" - my favorite piece in this collection - is strange and beautiful. Another poem that particularly stood out, but not because of its quality, was th
This is by far my favorite of Bukowski. It reads of an old man, looking back on his long life. Some poems read of old, some of new. The gems are intermingled between the two, acknowledging his past with the realization of his present. It's innately honest and pure as he critiques his past work, criticizes his past life, and apologizes for nothing.
I blew through this book and dog eared more pages than I any other book I have read.
Favorite book by my favorite poet, it doesn't get better than thi
Sian Lile-Pastore
Loved these poems - I particularly liked the ones about his cats and about john fante... could have done without so many about horse racing.

There's lots of boozing and ladies in these poems - but even though i'm not sure he's treating those ladies super-great, he does think that they are all way to good for him. Reading about alcoholics does make me a touch anxious but I bravely read on. There's a searing honesty to these poems and an easy, effortless style to them and they were much more enjoya
This book I read after I read the Beautiful Creatures books. I only got to know of Bukowski through these books. And I do have to say that I loved this collection of poems, though it did not contain the poem Lena and Ethan quoted in the books and the movie - although they've been reading this copy of Bukowski's poems.
Nevertheless I loved this copy and nearly every day read a poem out of it. Such a collection of poems I've never had! It's just great to have a book from which I can read an excerp
Probably my favorite Bukowski poetry collection...this is where he earns his money, as far as I'm concerned. You have to look past the "he makes it look so easy" nature of his poetry into the substance of his work in order to get a feel of why Bukowski's so good. Sit with it a while, skip around, and you'll see what I mean.
Taylor Quinn
“there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space

and even during the
best moments
the greatest times

we will know it

we will know it
more than

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

we will wait

in that space.”
Hannah  Messler
Hilarious and lovely and awful.
Bukowski reminds me of this character from Naked Lunch who refused to edit anything that he ever wrote because the spontaneity of raw poetry, even--or especially--when it was crap made it the essence of true art. This is an unfair comparison, but it has some merit. The majority of the poems in here should have been left on the cutting room floor. They have an easy, conversational style that creates a sense of intimacy between the author and the reader, but as often as not they're just little non ...more
Bukowski is a guy that makes me bipolar. i love him cause he is a genius and i feel that he understands me, and i hate him cause he is a jerk. whatever. that's my favorite book.
RB Love
"well, that's just the way it is..."

sometimes when everything seems at
its worst
when all conspires
and gnaws
and the hours, days, weeks
seem wasted-
stretched there upon my bed
in the dark
looking upward at the ceiling
I get what many will consider an
obnoxious thought:
it's still nice to be

...we order beer for starters, we sit there as she searches her purse for cigarettes, then I get up, move toward the jukebox, put a coin within, come back, sit down, she lifts her glass, "the first one's
Fabulous collection of poems. This is the best poetry I've read from Bukowski to date. Once again, not all of the poems are good. He's pretty hot and cold throughout but when he's on his game, he's really on his game.
His poetry seemed to get stronger and stronger as he grew older.
I could not put this book down and what I like about his books is you can read them in one day. Reading both his prose and his poetry is so effortless for the reader and yet his imagery is very strong and he is a true
This is probably the first poetry book I've read in ages, so perhaps my judgment is suspect with regards to it. Bukowski's words are raw and hard-hitting, and they feel so entirely natural that you realize there's no artifice at all. He just experiences this things and writes about them, and it's like you were there with him at the time, listening to his thoughts as he went through them. He doesn't paint himself in a nice light: he's not nice or polite, he's rude and repugnant and you probably w ...more
Bukowski's raw and raunchy poetic ramblings about his drunken, prostitute-filled life on skid row LA is the opposite of what I thought I'd ever like. He tells it like it is and does not candy coat. His repulsive life style is redeemed with his many ode's to his one true love, Jane. For me, one who will hopefully never live the life that Bukowski writes about, I actually enjoy taking a mental romp down those harrowing streets and living for a few poems that dirty life, relishing the feeling that ...more
Ait Hpesoj
Dec 18, 2014 Ait Hpesoj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who just don't don't care and care at the same time
I have weird feelings about this author; I don't know if I should pity or sympathize with the man, if what he writes is true. His poems don't rhyme but that's okay. He writes in a way that makes you visualize them in your head which I really like and most of his poems make me wonder if he had actually gone through all those things he writes about. His poems are funny and weird at the same time but at the end of every all just makes sense, even if it doesn't make sense! Let's just say ...more
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List of Poems 3 21 Sep 10, 2013 12:05PM  
  • The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry
  • Scattered Poems
  • Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life
  • Reality Sandwiches
  • The Happy Birthday of Death
  • Hotel Insomnia
  • Splinter Factory
  • The Wine of Youth
  • Crossing the Water
  • Book of Longing
  • , said the shotgun to the head.
  • Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980
  • Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems
  • All of Us: The Collected Poems
Henry Charles Bukowski (born as Heinrich Karl Bukowski) was a German-born 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 ...more
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“Lighting new cigarettes,
pouring more

It has been a beautiful

“it seemed to me that I had never met
another person on earth
as discouraging to my happiness
as my father.
and it appeared that I had
the same effect upon
More quotes…