Lori's Book Nook

One day I was browsing…

Posted on: June 8, 2006

…at Powells.com — a truly great on-line bookstore. "Great" probably because they seem to truly appreciate books, and the written word. Their newsletters are text-based, not overflowing with graphics, and they have a real life storefronts in Portland, Oregon.

"Honey? Do you want to go on a road trip?"

Or is it a pilgrimage?

Over a year ago, I was looking for the letters of Al Purdy, a wonderful Canadian poet. One compilation does exist Yours, Al: The Collected Letters of Al Purdy (not hard to find…hint, hint…). But then, I discovered on Powells.com that there is a book with the collected letters of Purdy and Charles Bukowski, called The Bukowski/Purdy Letters, 1964-1974: A Decade of Dialogue.

Now, I like Bukowski's writing. He was obnoxious, but in his poetry he observed the world around him with insight and feeling. And I like Al Purdy's writing. I knew they had respected each other, but didn't know a book of their letters were available. I put myself on Powells.com request list, for a copy of the book when one came in. And a year later, just in time for my birthday, they got one. So I bought it. And like I've said before, always buy yourself the birthday present you want, 'cause nobody else will.

So, here's some Al Purdy:

The Last Picture in the World

A hunched grey shape
framed by leaves
with lake water behind
standing on our
little point of land
like a small monk
in a green monastery
meditating

almost sculpture
except that it's alive
brooding immobile permanent
for half an hour
a blue heron
and it occurs to me
that if I were to die at this moment
that picture would accompany me
wherever I am going
for part of the way

(from Beyond Remembering: The Collected Poems of Al Purdy)

And here's some Charles Bukowski:

it was just a little while ago

almost dawn
blackbirds on the telephone wire
waiting
as I eat yesterday's
forgotten sandwich
at 6 a.m.
an a quiet Sunday morning.

one shoe in the corner
standing upright
the other laying on it's
side.

yes, some lives were made to be
wasted.

©2001 Linda Lee Bukowski
reprinted with permission of Black Sparrow Press

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Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!
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