Review: The Roominghouse Madrigals by Charles Bukowski

Here’s something you won’t find in any other Charles Bukowski book: pretension. I thought his father had beaten it out of him, but it must be that he had to develop his voice. So what we have here is not just uncut diamonds but hints at directions Bukowski could have taken instead of the one he did. Sadly his verse isn’t as inspiring at this stage but his talents are present and accounted for. A few of these poems are classics and I’ve even heard him reading one of them. But you don’t get the plain spoken with this book, you don’t get the characters who all talk with attitude like they came straight out of an old movie, you don’t get the tales as much, and instead you get imagery, which in his hands works fine although in my evaluation it’s sub-Neruda.

Grade: B

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