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Sulla scrittura

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,427 ratings  ·  181 reviews
Sharp and moving reflections and ruminations on the artistry and craft of writing from one of our most iconoclastic, pivoting, and celebrated masters.

Charles Bukowski's stories, poems, and novels have left an enduring mark on our culture. In this collection of previously unpublished material—letters to publishers, editors, friends, and fellow writers—Bukowski shares his in
Published March 5th 2020 (first published July 14th 2015)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,427 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I opened this up in a bookshop, and it was like sticking my thumb into a power socket. A letter he wrote in 1963 to John William Corrington, I won't quote it, it's too long, but my heart was pounding and I could feel adrenaline prickling down my forearms. I carried it to the counter, still open, bought it, staggered out into the street and sat in the roughest bar I could find – a place called the Highlander, with boarded-up windows – and just sat there drinking and reading this and scrawling enc ...more

Often it is the only thing

between you and


No drink, no woman's love,

no wealth can match it.

Nothing can save you



It keeps the walls from


the hordes from closing


It blasts the darkness.

Writing is the ultimate


the kindliest god of all

the gods.

Writing stalks dead. It

knows no quit.

and writing laughs at itself,

at pain.

It is the last expectation,

the last explanation.

That's what it is.

( blank gun silencer - 1991 )
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is more than 200 pages of Bukowski's letters in which he writes to various people (mostly editors of magazines) about what a great writer he is and how all the other writers and poets are just frauds. It is great entertainment. And also very profound.

I understood why Bukowski is a hero for some people in the American alt-right.

"There is a possibility that for the first time in history we are not in a war of nation against nation but color against color - White, Black, Brown, Yellow.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of Buk in the 90s and had to take a very long break from the guy. I think it's time to go back to the old drunk. Like Byron, Bukowski's letters are as much, and often more, fun to read than his poems. They reveal a lot about the guy that both confirms and destroys his legend. Worth the read for many reasons, high among them his take down of literary fads and those who write for fame. Repetitive but refreshing.

Cátia Vieira
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I started 'On Writing' by Charles Bukowski, I was expecting something different, to be honest. I read years ago 'Henry Miller on Writing' that includes several essays about writing, creation, inspiration and even some advices on that craft given by Henry Miller. So I was expecting something similar this time.

‘On Writing' is a collection of letters written by Charles Bukowski that delve into his craft, his literary taste and his challenges as a writer. Although it wasn’t exactly what I was l
Michael McNeely
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insight into the mind of Bukowski. I love how he wasn't afraid to point out that the "literary" world was a bunch of stuffy, boring, stiffs. In this book of letters and ramblings, Buk boasts a little and points out how most poets are focused on subtlety, which is usually boring. He also points out how poetry started to focus on gender, race, and sexuality instead of good poetry. He was prophetic in pointing this out. Today's publishers of mags and books of poetry all want a backstory that ...more
Michelle Curie
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letters
This book was my introduction to Charles Bukowski. It contains a collection of letters, dated from 1945 to 1993, in which he talks about writing. This includes his own and other authors' publications as well as the process of writing itself. As a little bonus you get to see some of his quirky illustrations.

"I might even say that a poem should not be a poem, but more a chunk of something that happens to come out right."

I feel like reading books of letter correspondences is always a bit of a hit a
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's been a bit of a struggle in reading of late, hence why the two (pretty big books) I started reading last month are both sitting at maybe 10% read, if that. Then, I decided to try On Writing, plod away on letter at a time.

The thing about Charles Bukowski when you pinpoint it is that writing was simply his life, not even the journey of being a writer, but writing one line after the other down on page. That's startling clear as you read through his letters over the span of decades, that eve
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superbly honest - Love this man

not for the uninitiated
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lackluster editing and wish they would have printed the full letters instead of fragments. Doesn't compare to the three volumes of letters released by Black Sparrow in the 90s, but nonetheless, Buk's 5-star voice, wisdom, humor, and honesty remain. ...more
Eve Kay
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, drunken
"Thank you for lessening the blow on my weakness of grammar by mentioning that some of your college friends have trouble with sentence structure. I think some writers do suffer this fate mainly because at heart they are rebellious and the rules of grammar like many of the other rules of our world call for a herding in and a confirmation that the natural writer instinctively abhors, and furthermore, his interest lies in the wider scope of subject and spirit."

Initially I was a little down about ho
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Let people do as they please. And luck to them. And if they are able to create Art and make a lasting theatre with these methods, I will be most happy to be called a liar."
My first reading in 2021! I have no idea what took me so long to finish this book, but yeah, it's better late than never I guess?

I read my first Bukowski back in 2019, it's called You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Make Sense, I couldn't help but love it! Gave it 4.5/5 stars.

This one is probably my favorite so far.
Percival Buncab
How I wish Bukowski wrote a writing memoir like Stephen King did. Unfortunately, he did not. But thanks to Abel Debritto, we now have the closest we could get.

On Writing collects Bukowski’s raw insights on literature—from his expose of the frustrating reality of mainstream publishing to his encouraging remarks on doing art no matter what. Being the first Bukowski book I started reading and after reading several of his other works, I would say this book is also a good introduction to his iconic
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The danger of writing "RTC" is that you forget to actually come back and write it. This has happened way too often with me, my latest mishap being "On Writing".

What I loved about this book is that Bukowski not only gives you a look into his life but also the publishing industry at that time. The majority of content in this book consists of letters Bukowski wrote to publishers, his friends and others.

Though sometimes repetitive, it gives the reader a unique perspective on Bukowski and let's us un
Trina Marie
"I didn't pay a hell of a lot of attention to grammar, and when I write it is for the love of the word, the color, like tossing paint on a canvas, and using a lot of ear and having read a bit here and there, I generally come out ok, but technically I don't know what's happening, nor do I care. Let us be fair. let us be fair." ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good insight into the world of being published and the hard labours Buk had to endure
Nick Rogers
Nov 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed his biographies and novels. This, however, bored me very quickly. I was expecting real insight, but I thought it was largely drunken rambles. A shame.
Liam Lalor
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At its best it is an anthology nearly seeping with hard, bloody, inexplicable profundity, and at its worst it is simply redundant.
That Bukowski was such a writer and depraved personality is, to us in these years later, not something new. He remains a martyr for so many who embrace his jagged, shameless edge, who adopt the rebuff he wielded toward all pretensive sophistication. Indeed, he is something of a cult hero. The irony, too, is that these same Chinaski disciples today sometimes become ex
Dane Cobain
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First thing’s first – before you start wondering about the title, because it’s the same as a Stephen King book, let me clarify. This book was published after King’s book, and way after Bukowski’s death, but the title is forgiveable because it’s part of a series that also includes On Cats and On Love. I think it’s fine – after all, it’s a pretty descriptive title.

In this book, then, we get to see a collection of Bukowski’s thoughts on both the process of writing and his career as a whole, thanks
Tom Walsh
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Real Bukowski in every line?!

There is something so unique about this man’s words. It’s like you’ve felt and heard his words a thousand times because they’re so real, so human.

I can never be sure whether the persona his writing has created over the years: the shacked-up starving drunk listening to Classical Music as he bangs on the often broken typer, is Real or Fake, but he sure sells it in his letters to his beloved Editor/Publisher, John Martin. It doesn’t really matter, though, because hi
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
As a collection of letters on Bukowski's thoughts and opinions on writing, I think this would best suit someone extremely familiar with his works. Which I am not. I found the references to things I had not read vague and unhelpful. It lacked context.

I also do not think much of Bukowski. He is a racist, misogynistic, homophobic drunk. None of those traits appeal to me. However, I have to give the editor credit for not trying to make him sound better than he was.
Dana Jerman
The real name for this collection should be something along the lines of “Collected Rants in Chronological Letter-form.”
Typical Buk, there’s some gorgeous shit in here, and the timeline gives you a picture of his process along with projects he collaborated on and invested himself into, but you’re really not intended to read him this way.
That said, please don’t make this the first Buk you ever read. He’d be royally pissed if that were the case.
Evan Lien
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, but i doubt ill reread it. But JESUS, he's such a classic leo. I mean, writing books because there are no writers that are good enough?

Thia book is basically buk bitchin about other (more successful) writers to people who wont publish him. Its hilarious.
Victoria Ray
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book:) honest & raw 👍👍
Apr 07, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, poetry
i found bukowski's ignorance and his certainty of what writing is and isn't quite motivating. i respect artists who know themselves and live the way they are throughout their years despite life's hell. it's an invigorating loneliness, that we only have our words. frequent mentions of li bai. racist and mysoginistic etc. ...more
It wasn't what I was expecting. Less advice or discussing the How's of writing and more rambling stories of his life, opinions of the world, and the writing scene of the time. It makes sense given its composed of his letters to people but some context would have been nice about what the others had said. Nevertheless it was certainly interesting, although I'm not sure if I want to read any of the authors work or not. If I hadn't told myself that I wanted to read it all today, I'm not sure I would ...more
J.D. Estrada
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully raw, chaotic, cathartic, destructive in his creative nature, I have to recognize that reading Bukowski's poetry and his letters is much the same in the sense that I've never read anything like him. I suspect I'm missing some wonderful writers, but at least I have finally caught up with one of those writers I've been meaning to get in touch with. In short, Bukowski doesn't give a damn while giving every damn. How he lived to 74, probably no one knows, but reading these letters, you ca ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I really do not understand how this doesn’t have a devastatingly low rating. I must admit, reading a few of Bukowski’s poems prior to picking this up, I really did enjoy his work. Which is probably why so many people enjoyed reading about him, by having prior interest.
For me, however “meeting” him through reading these letters was like being stuck with that one grumpy, old, sexist, homophobic great-uncle at a family reunion. Y’know, the one that constantly complains about “kids these days” and s
Dane Andersen
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a despicable old man. Misogynist, drunkard, pessimist... But despite all his flaws, and indeed largely because of them, Bukowski was able to see past the barriers and facades put up by society and culture, resulting in a pretty uncensored view of the world around him: "The politicians and newspapers talk a lot about freedom but the moment you begin to apply any, either in Life or in the Art-form, you are in for a cell, ridicule or misunderstanding."

Bukowski was one of the rare ones who blew
Alex Kudera
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On Writing includes some fine letters, some that read like short stories in themselves. . . letters to John Fante fifty years after he famously read Fante in the L.A. public library. . . some good self-criticism and self-mockery in here and thoughts on the books he loved. He rolled the dice at age 50, and it paid off.
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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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“A writer is not a writer because he has written some books. A writer is not a writer because he teaches literature. A writer is only a writer if he can write now, tonight, this minute.” 16 likes
“All of which is to say, I didn’t pay a hell of a lot of attention to grammar, and when I write it is for the love of the word, the color, like tossing paint on a canvas, and using a lot of ear and having read a bit here and there, I generally come out ok, but technically I don’t know what’s happening, nor do I care.” 13 likes
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