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The Continual Condition: Poems

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  839 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
“The Walt Whitman of Los Angeles.”

—Joyce Carol Oates

“He brought everybody down to earth, even the angels.”

—Leonard Cohen, songwriter

Arguably the most imitated and influential American poet of the previous half-century, Charles Bukowski remains a counter-culture icon more than a decade after his death. The Continual Condition is a collection of never-before-published poems
ebook, 144 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kelly Thompson
Apr 04, 2011 Kelly Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poetry readers, Bukowski fans, new readers of his work
Recommended to Kelly by: Sara Lundquist
Bukowski’s newest collection is one that dwells in the mind of an aging man, even though the poems span his career. While the bitter genius that lends itself to the poet’s reputation is still very much present in The Continual Condition, as a set of poems, it also speaks to Bukowski’s ability to provide deep philosophical musing in just a few words — whether about his own particular bad habits, or of those around him. The longer poems, such as “This Flag Not Fondly Waving,” and the reflective an ...more
Carlos Pelay
This also is one of my favorite lines: “3-year-olds will have computers/and everybody will know everything/about everybody else/long before they meet them/and so they won’t want to meet them” (“This Flag Not Fondly Waving”).

This line seems prescient - I was trying to track down when this particular poem was written but wasn't successful. [this line also resonated because at the same time I was also reading "The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster (written in 1903?) - a dystopian tale where everyone l
Jan 21, 2011 Sydney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, wishlist
This book opened up the poetry world to me. I've never been interested in it, just because of the different ways you can interpret it. Then after reading if I had a conversation with someone about it and they have a different view, I feel cheated and wrong.

But upon reading this, I felt like that was okay. The way these poems and stories made me feel, it didn't matter anyone else's opinion.
Nov 27, 2013 Tuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 but i liked this one for its true-to-life
the strange morning

it had never happened before and one doesn’t
know why such things

it was about 11 a.m. and I had stepped
outside the bar for some air.
Danny walked up and I started talking
to Danny.
then Harry walked up and joined us.

then two other men started talking
to each other a few feet away.

“let’s go back for a drink,” I said to
Danny and Harry.

“no, it’s nice out here,: said Danny,
“let’s gab a while.”

so we did.

then I noticed some other men
Danny Daley
My relationship with Bukowski's writing is a strange one. On the one hand, I am continuously struck by how, despite his massive popularity, his writing is really quite dry and lifeless. And on the other hand, I constantly feel drawn to read more of it.

The poems themselves are hardly poetry, but for the fact that they so look like poetry. In fact, they look almost too much like poetry, as though Bukowski was looking to constantly exaggerate the form. But the language is as anti-poetic as it gets.
Jon Cone
This isn't great Bukowski, but even mediocre Bukowski is worth looking at and he continues, even in death, to give substantial pleasures to those readers who are open to his brand of unadorned, plainspoken poetry. (Is it even poetry? Who cares.) If you are new to Bukowski or if you find yourself within the turmoil of an early Bukowski infatuation, you should skip this book for now: there are many other collections, especially from the early 70s, that provide the reader greater examples of Bukows ...more
James Goertel
Apr 21, 2012 James Goertel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had not read Bukowski in some time after reading him intensively for years - he is a Rosetta Stone for me in terms of my introduction to poetry. He showed me not what poetry was, but what it could be. This collection stands up with the best of what I have read by Charles Henry Bukowski. Most striking are the poems scattered here and there which reference his mortality. "Moving Toward Age 73" and "Bayonets in Candlelight" are stunners.
I knew Bukowski was a macho asshole when I bought this collection. I bought and read it anyway. There are some gems here, though, mostly the poems dealing with a mortal's grudging acceptance of the ticking of the clock and his regrets and triumphs in the face of that. I wonder if he'd cringe at some of the poems published here, which perhaps aren't ones he would have wanted public. Definitely a mixed bag.
vi macdonald
In one of these poems Bukowski invokes Catullus, which feels weirdly appropriate since after reading this collection (and 17 of his others in what has quite possibly been the most atrociously painful marathon read I have ever put myself through) I feel like I have indeed been on the receiving end of the now infamous "Catullus 16".
ej cullen
Bukowski has what only the best writers have: Voice. What he's missing is range and felicity, but it goes to show that, in literature, a true and unique Voice keeps us reading and ultimately trumps all else.
Kent Winward
Jun 02, 2012 Kent Winward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"all my words ... do they create
laughter through the flame?"

For Bukowski, the answer is always yes.

Feb 12, 2010 Reuben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never been a fan of poetry, but damn. I might be now.
Anas Almansuri
Feb 25, 2015 Anas Almansuri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great collection, Bukowski keeps blowing my mind over and over again.
John Defrog
Dec 19, 2016 John Defrog rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been a fan of Bukowski for decades, but for some reason I’ve always been a bit wary of his posthumous books – there’s always the worry that unpublished works won’t measure up. Which is silly, I know. And this collection (which is a mix of unpublished poems and previously published but never anthologized poems) proves it. Here, Bukowski covers all the usual bases – drinking, horse racing, crazy women, low-lifes, writing, misanthropy, alienation, loneliness, the perils of success, wry humor – ...more
Katty Morozovska
Very nice book of poetry. I have finished it in one sitting.
Víctor Mesa
Jan 05, 2017 Víctor Mesa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pronto la reseña.
Jessica Christian
I am really enjoying Charles Bukowski
Fred Kohn
Jun 29, 2016 Fred Kohn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
2.5 stars. My generation has a fascination with Bukowski that I truly don't understand. He has all the vulgarity of Henry Miller without, as far as I can tell, Miller's capacity for philosophical reflection. I had never heard of the guy until he died. Other than this book, all I have read of his is Post Office, which is a genuinely ghastly book from start to finish. (Perhaps the fact that I worked for the Post Office at the time I read this didn't help.) This book is better. Some of these poems ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a man who died in 1994 at the age of 73, Bukowski is still a prolific writer. Released in 2009, The Continual Condition is the newest book containing never before published poems.

Not being a poet, my gauge of how well I like a poetry book is based on how many pages I dogear to go back to and re-read. While I did really like the majority of poems here, I didn't dogear to many. Although it might just be my mood because I seemingly just picked the darkest poems as my favorites.

This Kind of Fire
Shinayde Meyerson
Bukowski's attention to the simplicity of a complex subject is a motif in all his poetry, but especially so in the anthology of 'The Continual Condition' which even as a title says a lot about himself and his selfish writing as an art form. This was the first I had ever read of Bukowski and since then I have fallen thoroughly in love with his style. His words are relentless, raw, and seemingly limitless- each of them, written filthily on a single line, illuminates his ceaseless struggle between ...more
Me quedo con este poema o fragmento de poema. Bukowski tenía y tiene más razón que un santo:

"hoy todo son ordenadores y más ordenadores
y pronto todo el mundo tendrá uno,
los niños de tres años tendrán ordenadores
y todo el mundo conocerá todo
lo relacionado con los demás
mucho antes de que lleguen a conocerse
y por eso nadie querrá conocerse.
nadie querrá conocer a nadie
nunca jamás
y todos serán
unos solitarios
como lo soy yo hoy"

Cierto es que este libro baja un poco de nivel e ironía. Aún así la esencia
Sep 22, 2013 Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Selected by John Martin at Black Sparrow Press this collection from 2009 seems to be the most recent posthumous collection of Bukowski. I just love this guy, especially his poetry. I'm always telling people to read his poetry not just his prose. Unpretentious, full of reflection, insight, joy and sadness. Elegant, short pieces which communicate so much. I'd probably give 5 stars to any book of his poetry I guess, but I do think this a particularly joyous collection. 10 quid for an hour's reading ...more
Denton McCabe
Oct 27, 2015 Denton McCabe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something about Bukowski, who despite being a filthy and miserable alcoholic, managed to speak with a zen-like bit of wisdom in his best writing. I am amazed at lines about the range of topics covered in this book. Income disparities, alcoholism, relationships, warfare, education, racism, etc. Bukowski tackled American issues with honesty and sharp scrutiny and that is why he is one of our finest writers. I also recommend the Roominghouse Madrigals, Love is a Dog From Hell, and Notes of ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern
It's Buk. Though many of the themes are old, good old Bukowski has a way with words. Some of his poems were written as he is an old man looking back. As always, even his self-reflection does not escape his bittersweet approach. His exuberance of the mundane, and his castration of sacred cows always are insightful. What can you say... its Buk. Certainly a delight to read though the concluding poems seem laden with an unresolved lament. Unlike the earlier Bukowski. Still... worth the read!
Rating: 3 1/2

Published posthumously. Strange line breaks. Not his best, but a lot of his stuff wasn't.

the best poet I never knew is dead
and abandoned in the dust;
the others write me letters

- "to kiss her long dark hair" (the poet being Lorca)

looking at her
sitting at the bar

she's the best thing
in sight:

silent, blazing,

- "as Buddha smiles"
May 17, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow....Charles Bukowski. Nothing can be more whimsical and serious. Nobody can talk about booze and hookers better than Bukowski. Being one of his first major works I've read completely, I am very impressed. His contemporary tone lets this all flow like water and nothing can stop tho barrage of wordplay, wit and whim. A book of poetry worth remembering and recommending for the rest of my life.
BTW my personal favorite is as Buddha smiles
Sep 10, 2016 K.m. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, gritty, americana
Usual swagger, mumble, ramble and fall. Bukowski is a particular world-weary, burned-out, misanthropic mouthful. You have to be in the mood for the stop-go rhythm, the dingy, sordid, crawling thoughts of a drunkard's tale, a perpetual leery old-man, wino-womanizer. If misogyny, misanthropy, and general good-natured ill-will turns you off, steer clear.
Raychel Mcmahon
I love Bukowski so much and found some real gems in here, but I thought there was too much repetition of similar themes poems regarding the decline of his career. I mean, it's still amazing and I highly recommend it, but definitely not his best work. Could have covered more topics and more raw emotion.
Jan 26, 2012 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not his greatest collection, but it's Bukowski and I am always amazed at the quantity of his work, bad or good. Other volumes from the 1970's and 1980's are much more 'raw' and longer (this was quite short, I finished it in about 2 hours. Either way, I was impressed and love his style. Never a dull moment with Hank.
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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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“when I was a boy I used to dream of becoming
the village idiot.
I used to lie in bed and imagine myself the
happy idiot
able to get food easily
...and easy sympathy,
a planned confusion of not too much love or effort.

some would claim that I have succeeded.”
“now it’s computers and more computers
and soon everybody will have one,
3-year-olds will have computers
and everybody will know everything
about everybody else
long before they meet them.
nobody will want to meet anybody
else ever again
and everybody will be
a recluse
like I am now.”
More quotes…