Review: The People Look Like Flowers At Last by Charles Bukowski

Another day, another Bukowski book. At least that’s the way it sometimes seems with this particularly prolific writer. Again, though, his work is more hit than miss, and this book finds him in particularly fine form, rolling with the punches, talking frankly about death (as I’m sure it was impending in at least a few of these poems), and quite simply looking into the maw of life without flinching. At this point I’ve written more than enough poems not only about Bukowski but downright mentioning him for the mark he’s left on the heart of American letters. At this point I’ve written hundreds of poems aping his style in part just to see if I could get away with it and in part because I am so different from not only the way he presents himself in his texts but in all likelihood the way he really was. You can denigrate him for being so simple, but when a person does the things he does so well then what’s the point? Bukowski is superior to Hemingway not because like Hemingway he presents a myth of himself but because unlike Hemingway he will break that myth. For that he deserves the keys.

Final Grade: A-

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