Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Roy Jerden's Blog

About Roy Jerden
(Show Details...)
Bloggers Photo

Do you agree with Bukowski?

Blog Posted:5/16/2013 8:04:00 PM

so you want to be a writer?

by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don't do it. if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don't do it. if you're doing it for money or fame, don't do it. if you're doing it because you want women in your bed, don't do it. if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don't do it. if it's hard work just thinking about doing it, don't do it. if you're trying to write like somebody else, forget about it.   if you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. if it never does roar out of you, do something else.  if you first have to read it to your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your parents or to anybody at all, you're not ready.  don't be like so many writers, don't be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers, don't be dull and boring and pretentious, don't be consumed with self- love. the libraries of the world have yawned themselves to sleep over your kind. don't add to that. don't do it. unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don't do it. unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don't do it.  when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you.  there is no other way.  and there never was.

Please Login
  1. Date: 5/17/2013 5:53:00 AM
    First, I got my backbone up. Had to go have a coffee. Think about it. Read it again. I realized I was ticked about the Don'ts... I HATE Don'ts... Don'ts annoy, are pretentious, highbrow and just SHOULD NOT BE PLACED side by side with anything in regards to art (unless the purpose of that art is to evoke hatred, hurt those undeserving ie rascism, rape, child pornography)... So I edited it in my mind... Changed it all to DO'S... like... Write when it comes bursting out of you in spite of everthing. Write when it comes unasked... and suddenly I GOT IT... Yeah, agree with a lot of this. BUT I know of poets with Down's Syndrome, Poets with Dyslexia, Poets struggling with illiteracy (bought his book) and poets who have had strokes.. and they ARE poets.. who struggle with words, who stare at the empty page, who push themselves... HE IS WRONG. Even the BEST writers in the world have come across a block, spent hours searching out that ONE perfect word...

    Login to Reply
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 5/18/2013 3:11:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    (*quit -- typo. I am editing :P). Even with the negativity of Bukowski's above statement, I dig the underlying messages. The lines about the yawning libraries is very pertinent, wot with the millions of people walking around with portable 'typewriters', then calling themselves poets or wotever. Just because I might write shitty poems, this doesn't mean that I want to spend my time reading the shitty poetry of others. But hey, I am not being forced to do so. It is my choice to click on a name.
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 5/18/2013 3:04:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    If I make sure not to take every word of Bukowski's message too literally, there are a lot of great points for me. Maybe not for you. And this is a-ok. Again, it isn't about Bukowski being right or wrong(right or wrong can become too subjective). He spewed and spewed; it was almost an automatic response for him. He told people to negate things he said an hour before. I totally get the mocking part of him. I also mock too much. This is something that I am attempting to reform. If one is too facetious a lot of the time, people don't know how to take it after a while.
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 5/18/2013 2:56:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Cyndi, I am fine with agreeing to disagree. That's wot I am doing. It is a difference of opinion; of perception; of life experiences. In the years just before Bukowski passed away, he quite drinking and his mannerisms in interviews really softened up. During the last year of his life, Charles almost became eloquent(as eloquent as the dirty, old man could be lol). One thing he kept reiterating over and over during this time(and before), was how people shouldn't take his words in interviews and the above example, too literally, because he was mocking poetry and even himself. If one looks at his original manuscripts(, there is editing, chicken-scratches throughout. He could be very facetious and mocking in his statements. But there is an underlying sense to his messages if one doesn't take it all too literally. Remember, he called himself a louse, etc. He had a lot of self-hatred for many decades. And he spewed-off remarks simply to get a reaction.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/18/2013 6:35:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Chris, you get that I'm hardheaded and mean no slight to YOU, right? If after these years we can't agree to disagree... :D HUGS
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/18/2013 6:34:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    He even says, YOUR KIND, because he is, oh glory be fall to my knees and worhip his greatness, HIS KIND. And those who are not HIS KIND, should pack up there paper, toss their ink and never dare to stain verse with their mediocrity. BAH! Me? I say write, write, write and read read read. The odd thing is, he probably believed strongly in the freedom of expression.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/18/2013 6:29:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I can read his words a hundred ways. I took some drama, know about inflection... so I do understand the PASSION behind his thoughts. Yes, it can and should burst! And it should not be an attempt to copy, to xeorox some other voice... got that.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/18/2013 6:25:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    If we read between his lines, he is indicating that there are those "CHOSEN" for "GREATNESS" and if what moves you is DIFFICULT, REQUIRES WORK, DOES NOT COME NATURALLY, should not be pursued? HUH?! Nope, what I can't tell my child, I can not tell another soul. This is, of course, my interpretation.
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 5/17/2013 1:58:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Maybe I am a hexagonal peg. Yeah, seems about right. Even so, depending on the situation, even an icosahedron can fit into a 40-sided polygon.
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 5/17/2013 1:54:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    As long as the diameter of the circle is the right size, the round peg can still fit in the square hole.
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 5/17/2013 1:53:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    **causes -- Well, Cyndi, if you are a square peg for a round hole, then I am a round peg for a square hole :)
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 5/17/2013 1:50:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    "Don'ts" can work within and outside of the arts. Don't kill. Don't rape. My art teacher once told someone: "Don't mix those two cutters(mineral spirits/varsols)together, you'll blow holes in your lungs." Or: "Maybe don't add the high-gloss finish to the yellows this time, because it cause the yellows to brown, and the paint cracks much more quickly." Very good pointers within the arts. I completely understand the negative connotations of the word, esp when dampening someone's ego. There are always exceptions to the bell-curve, such as the type of poets you mention(Down's, stroke, etc). They are probably true poets, a poet's poet. I ass.ume Bukowski wasn't referring to these types of people, since he was a bluecollar worker and writer with debilitating alcoholism and mental disease. I might be a bit jaded, because to me, Bukowski's overall message is a very pertinent one, even with its stifling negativity. Switching the "don'ts" with "do", works with the above message.
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 5/17/2013 5:55:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

  1. Date: 5/17/2013 5:39:00 AM
    Interesting work..I hate the dry spells that come to me..Sara

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 5/16/2013 10:41:00 PM
    On second thought, maybe some of Bukowski's work does leap out of his body fully grown, just not from his head. I am pretty sure he likes to mock us, as I saw him doing with a Belgian interviewer, who was trying to analyze Bukowski's work between the drags on a cigarette and swigs of beer that Bukowski was hiding behind in his customary manner. I would have loved to have met this character, especially before he became famous.

    Login to Reply
    Strand Avatar Brian Strand Date: 5/17/2013 11:14:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    It leaps out even more(as does everbody's verse) when you listen to him read his poetry on youtube.Roy.A very remiscent voice/accent (to my ears) of WCW.
  1. Date: 5/16/2013 10:33:00 PM
    I wish my poetry were like Athena, leaping out of the head of Zeus, fully grown and armed, but it's not, nor do I think much of Bukowski's is either, after reading some of his work in which he is actually writing a poem about writing a poem as dinner is made. Of course, the stream of consciousness style makes it easier, doesn't it? Nevertheless, some of his points are well taken. Anyway, I'm more of a gardener. I plant, water, weed and hoe several times before I harvest a poem. Even then, I go back months later and add a stanza or change a word.

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 5/16/2013 10:02:00 PM
    So very true Roy ...Seren

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 5/16/2013 9:13:00 PM
    Roy, I couldn't agree more(the only angle of introspection that I don't completely agree with, is how sometimes a good polishing of a poem can truly result in a gleaming gem....but hey, I am not famous, so wot do I know? Not too much when compared to the overall universal knowledge base). I've read this before, as have I read a lot of Bukowski's work. "if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don't do it. if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don't do it." = Awesome! Yes!

    Login to Reply
  1. Date: 5/16/2013 9:05:00 PM
    I don't know why I love you like I do---ya I do---because you're so dead center---too many times, too many thoughts stretched to the point of infinite insignificance, too many stretched metaphors and I am as guilty as anyone-------------hmmm---great blog.

    Login to Reply

My Past Blog Posts

Pi Day 2015
Date Posted: 3/13/2015 3:05:00 PM
Foodies - Part 2
Date Posted: 1/7/2015 11:30:00 AM
East Jesus Contest Judged
Date Posted: 1/2/2015 9:21:00 AM
Happy New Year to the World of Poets
Date Posted: 12/31/2014 6:23:00 PM
Merry Christmas to the World of Poets
Date Posted: 12/25/2014 5:54:00 AM
Foodies - Part 1
Date Posted: 12/20/2014 2:01:00 PM
How kids perceive their grandparents
Date Posted: 12/19/2014 5:55:00 AM
Got Writer's Block?
Date Posted: 12/6/2014 8:10:00 AM
Clean and Clever Limerick Contest Update
Date Posted: 11/17/2014 7:51:00 AM
My First Short Story - Accepted for publication
Date Posted: 11/2/2014 6:46:00 PM
Happy Halloween
Date Posted: 10/31/2014 7:18:00 AM
Non-Christian Poetry Contest Update
Date Posted: 10/19/2014 9:05:00 AM
New Contest - Religious Poetry: Non-Christian
Date Posted: 10/5/2014 6:40:00 AM
Date Posted: 9/30/2014 10:57:00 AM
The Pedicure Virgin
Date Posted: 9/11/2014 8:19:00 PM
How to make an image out of a long poem
Date Posted: 9/3/2014 12:58:00 PM
How to do a scansion of your poem to verify the meter
Date Posted: 8/19/2014 6:03:00 PM
Too Subtle?
Date Posted: 8/15/2014 1:39:00 PM
New Feature -Poet's Notes About the Poem
Date Posted: 8/2/2014 12:31:00 PM
Free Verse: Start here or finish here
Date Posted: 7/21/2014 7:04:00 PM
Bogus Entries in Contests
Date Posted: 7/19/2014 6:46:00 AM
Punctuation and Capitalization in Poetry
Date Posted: 7/18/2014 6:35:00 PM
About Poem/Poem Notes/Inspiration, etc.
Date Posted: 7/18/2014 8:17:00 AM
Bawdy Limericks II Judged
Date Posted: 7/6/2014 2:48:00 PM
To Footnote or Not to Footnote?
Date Posted: 7/3/2014 8:47:00 PM

My Recent Poems

Date PostedPoemTitleFormCategories
2/22/2015 Steamed Buns Limerickhumor,
1/12/2015 Punxsutawney Phil Speaks Limerickhumor,
12/24/2014 Santa's Little Helper Limerickchristmas,humorous,
12/18/2014 How to Make Money with Poetry Limerickhumor,poems,poetry,
12/4/2014 Saint Nicholas Clerihewchristmas,humor,
11/29/2014 But I Must Stay Villanellesad,
11/29/2014 The Pedicure Virgin Prosehumor,
11/14/2014 One Tolkien Over the Line Rhymetribute,
11/5/2014 Message of the Moth Quatrainangst,longing,
10/30/2014 Just Another Routine Day Monorhymedeath,
10/25/2014 Pi Day Rhymehumor,
10/25/2014 Go For It Carpe Dieminspirational,
10/15/2014 Halloween on the Dark Side of Town Rhymeholiday,satire,
9/22/2014 Andrea Dietrich Clerihewtribute,
9/15/2014 The Empty Quarter Alliterationearth,nature,stars,
8/31/2014 Bad Goldilocks Abecedarianhumorous,
8/23/2014 Matryoshkan Multiverse Haibunhumor,
8/10/2014 The New One Blank versedark,
8/5/2014 Little Superheroes Quatrainchild,children,
7/22/2014 A Brush of Wings Versebird,
7/16/2014 Great A'Tuin Haibundeath,journey,stars,
7/13/2014 Blood on the Saddle Limerickfunny,vacation,
7/8/2014 Willow: A Fable Rhymechildren,death,dream,fant
6/30/2014 Ragnarok: The Storm Epyllionweather,
6/28/2014 Dante's Path Quatrainspiritual,
6/11/2014 Bill's Drill Limerickhumorous,
5/26/2014 Albert Einstein Clerihewhumorous,science,
5/22/2014 John Cougar Mellencamp Clerihewbio,humorous,
5/19/2014 Same Old Soup Quatrainpoetry,satire,
5/14/2014 Into the Sunlight Haikunature,
5/9/2014 Januaries Haikunature,
5/7/2014 Jonah Falcon He's Not Limerickfunny,
5/6/2014 The Well Traveled Linguist Limerickhumorous,
5/5/2014 Raise the Mast Limerickhumorous,
5/4/2014 Are you glad to see me or is that just a wrinkle Limerickage,funny,
5/2/2014 The Devil Can Cite Scripture For His Purpose Rhymehate,religion,slam,
5/1/2014 On Conspiracy Theories Sonnetphilosophy,
4/28/2014 Tongue Oil Limerickfunny,
4/28/2014 Red Moon Limerickfunny,
4/28/2014 Fochs Gnus Rhymeslam,
4/24/2014 Concerning Human Understanding Blank versephilosophy,
4/1/2014 The Thunderous Wonderous Electric Toy Train Rhymechristmas,nostalgia,
3/18/2014 Ignominious Exit Rhymehumorous,
3/11/2014 Premature Exoneration Limerickholiday,humor,
2/28/2014 Going Gigging Rhymefishing,
2/10/2014 A Series of Unfortunate Darwin Awards Limerickdeath,humorous,silly,
2/7/2014 What Can I Do Sonnetabsence,death,fear,
1/29/2014 The Earth Abides Quatrainnatural disasters,nature,
1/23/2014 Ancient Dance Sonnetlove,
1/21/2014 Happy Hour Iambic Pentameterdrink,relationship,satire
1/7/2014 San Saba Springtime Sonnetnature,spring,
12/28/2013 The Whittlers Cowboygrowing up,nostalgia,
12/19/2013 Redneck Santa Rhymechristmas,
12/17/2013 The Tale of the China Poblana Epichistory,
6/13/2013 Ode on a Japanese Commode Rhymehumorous,
5/24/2013 The Fruits of their Labors Free versepolitical,
5/23/2013 Damaged Goods Quatrainabuse,
5/21/2013 White Trash Nostalgia Quatraingrowing up,
5/15/2013 The Conceit of Poetry Coupletphilosophy,
4/26/2013 Empyreal Ecstasy Quatrainnature,night,stars,
4/24/2013 Bordeaux Rouge Limerickhumorous,
4/18/2013 head typist Quatrainhumorous,writing,
4/14/2013 The Roughneck Song Rhymeday,drink,red,song,work,
3/23/2013 Tiger's Wood Limericksports,
3/20/2013 A Couple for the Ages Sonnethumorous,
3/17/2013 Bambino, Bambina Limerickbaby,
3/11/2013 The Treachery of Images ekphrasisart,image,me,
3/8/2013 Pearl of La Paz Sonnetdeath,grief,
2/17/2013 All Hat and No Cattle Cowboycowboy,humorous,old,time,
2/10/2013 Dark Temptress Sonnetfood,humorous,passion,
2/10/2013 Three Pills Didacticlife,me,philosophy,truth,
1/30/2013 Icebox Days Rhymechildhood,growing up,humo
1/26/2013 The Angel Inside Rhymeallegory,angel,art,beauti
1/22/2013 Call Me Tex Cowboycowboy,home,humorous,me,n
1/10/2013 Bobcat Moon Rhymeautumn,friendship,loss,mo
12/9/2012 Six Man Dance Rhymeautumn,football,nostalgia
11/18/2012 La Bejarena Rhymeangel,beauty,death,histor
8/27/2012 Kiss of the Eagle Rhymeadventure,space,travel,
8/23/2012 Delicacy of Leaves Rhymehappiness,nature,time,
8/10/2012 Keep It Turnin' to the Right Rhymeday,earth,funny,life,love
8/10/2012 Cruisin' the Drag Rhymecar,funny,growing up,high

My Photos

Fav Poems

Amazement Free verseplaces,voice,life,voice,
Pearl Diving Quatrainlove,
Slow Movin Tights Balladme,red,women,
That Night We Kissed Rondeauromanceheart,night,heart,
A Voice In The Wind Rhymeimagination,nature,
Stay Sonnetlife,self,self,
Within a Storm Sonnetinspirational,
Sailing the Seas In A Pecan Tree Rhymeadventure,old,
Soul of the Poet Quatrainfarewell,poems,poetess,
Generations Epicbirth,death,hope,life,
Muse Free versewords,writing,
Falling upward Rhymeanger,angst,bereavement,b
Words Rhymelove,words,song,song,
No Longer Mourn for Me When I Am Dead Lyricdeath,faith,religious,
Ashen Snow Villanellesad,september,

Fav Poets

Mark Peterson United States Flag United States Read