Tag: 1955

Charles Bukowski – The Roominghouse Madrigals | Review

Title: The Roominghouse Madrigals

Author: Charles Bukowski

Type: Poetry

Page Count/Review Word Count: 264

Rating: 3.5*/5


Charles Bukowski - The Roominghouse Madrigals

Charles Bukowski – The Roominghouse Madrigals


This collection brings together Bukowski’s earliest selected poems from 19461966, which is interesting in itself because according to his author bio, he didn’t even start writing poetry until 1955. You can tell that they’re his early poems, too. He’s still finding his voice as a writer, and it’s his voice which made his work so distinct. Because of that, while this is a reasonable enough collection of poetry, it’s nowhere near Bukowski’s best. I don’t think I’d recommend it unless you’re already familiar with his later work and you want to see how it all started out.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some standout poems here that really stuck in my mind, and I had no problem finding enough that I enjoy to fill a YouTube video. But while you could feel that Bukowski was in there somewhere, you could also feel that he was trying to distill other people’s influences into what he was writing instead of going balls-to-the-wall and writing from his heart, instead of his head.

On the plus side, you do get plenty of his usual topics (women, races, alcohol), and you get to see them through a younger set of eyes. It’s interesting to see that he was just as obsessed with death in his younger years as he was when he reached his seventies, and that gives me some hope for myself. So I’m glad that I read this, I just wouldn’t recommend it to a newbie.


Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski


Click here to buy The Roominghouse Madrigals.


Michael Pickering – The Compass Dances | Review

Title: The Compass Dances

Author: Michael Pickering

Type: Poetry

Page Count/Review Word Count: 338

Rating: 7/10


Michael Pickering - The Compass Dances

Michael Pickering – The Compass Dances


Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

This book is an interesting one because it spans an entire lifetime – what we have here is Michael Pickering’s selected poetry, spanning from 1955 to 2015. The author himself certainly has a strong set of credentials – he’s a graduate of University College in Oxford, as well as several other universities, and he even taught English and applied linguistics in Finland for 27 years.

Now, this isn’t necessarily the type of poetry that I’d typically go for, but it was still an interesting enough read. One thing that I would say is that it’s the sort of poetry that tries to flaunt the author’s education, something which is mirrored later on in the book with the inclusion of a number of self-reflective essays that the author wrote about his work. He also uses far too many footnotes, at least in my opinion – it hampers the reader’s ability to draw their own conclusions, which is what good poetry is all about.

Still, as you’d expect from someone who spent a lifetime writing poetry, there’s also a lot here to interest and to tantalise the reader, especially if we’re talking about a reader who loves words. Whilst it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, I did have to admire the skill with which the author works words to his advantage. True, it often felt like you were reading the intellectual equivalent of dad jokes, with plenty of half-developed puns, but there were also moments of clarity where the author was able – with just a few, short words – to communicate a sense or a feeling.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re a serious fan of poetry – it can be pretty heavy, especially to someone who only reads prose, but it can also be rewarding if you stick with it. I’ll leave it up to your judgement.


Michael Pickering

Michael Pickering


Click here to buy The Compass Dances.