Archives for posts with tag: Los Angeles writers


August 16, 2013 marks the 93rd anniversary of Charles Bukowski’s birth — and next year will mark the 20th anniversary of his passing. To honor one of our favorite authors, we will release the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology in August 2013 — and we promise the book will be available by the end of the month. (We were shooting for an August 16th release date, but for various reasons have had to push the date a few weeks ahead.)

The illustration above right by Bradley Wind will appear in the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology, along with paintings, drawings, poetry, short stories, essays, memoirs, and photographs from about 70 writers and artists around the world.

To celebrate the master poet, this post features one of his most renowned and beloved poems.

Poem by Charles Bukowski

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do

breathing bukowski
by dirk velvet

he used the smallest words
he could find
tell his
he knew that
the large ones
could get
going in
he knew
what we all
to live

…”breathing bukowski” by dirk velvet will appear in the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology, available in August 2013

Cover art by Mark Erickson and Katy Zartl

SEARS LIFE (Excerpt)
by Wanda Coleman 

it makes me nervous to go into a store
because i never know if i’m going to
come out. have you noticed how much
they look like prisons these days? no display
windows anymore. all that cold soulless
lighting-as atmospheric as county jail-
and all that ground-breaking status-quo
shattering rock ‘n roll reduced to neuron
pablum and piped in over the escalators.
breaks my rebel heart. and i especially 
hate the aroma of fresh-nuked popcorn
rushing my nose, throwing my stomach off
balance. eyes follow me everywhere i go like
i’m a neon sign that shouts shoplifter.
and so many snide counter rats want to
service me, it almost makes me feel rich 
and royal. that’s why i rarely bother to
browse. i go straight to the department of
the object of conjecture, make my decision
quick, throw down the cash and split…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in 1946, Wanda Coleman grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. She is the author of Bathwater Wine (Black Sparrow Press, 1998), winner of the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. A former medical secretary, magazine editor, journalist and scriptwriter, Coleman has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation for her poetry. Her other books of poetry include Mercurochrome: New Poems (2001), Native in a Strange Land: Trials & Tremors (1996), Hand Dance (1993), African Sleeping Sickness (1990),  A War of Eyes & Other Stories (1988); Heavy Daughter Blues: Poems & Stories 1968-1986 (1988), and Imagoes (1983). She has also written Mambo Hips & Make Believe: A Novel (Black Sparrow Press, 1999) and Jazz and Twelve O’Clock Tales: New Stories (2008). Coleman is known as the “unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles.” (Source:

Photo: Wanda Coleman, circa 1970s


The Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology (available in August 2013) will feature poetry and prose about Charles Bukowski from over 50 friends and admirers — and includes portraits of the great author from artists around the world. The cover of the Bukowski Anthology showcases a portrait of Buk by renowned California artist Mark Erickson, a longtime Bukowski aficionado, and Austrian artist Birgit Zartl.  The collection will also feature photographic portraits of Bukowski by Joan Gannij — the photographer who has captured some of the most iconic images in the Bukowski canon.

As a preview, here’s a poem from the collection.

by Michael O’Brien

Got a copy of Bukowski
from the library.
Nice, hard
cover edition; nicer than any of the ones
I’d ever shelled out cash
Just noticed that the red dye
from the binding
has bled out a bit
onto the inside
of the dust jacket.
Makes me imagine that somebody
along the line
was reading in the rain.
Not bad, old
not bad.
Still there for us
when we got no place
to hide.

We will do our best to release the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology on Charles Bukowski’s 93rd birthday — August 16, 2013.



by Charles Bukowski

we were young
at this
machine. . .
it was a most 
only now
instead of
moving toward
moves toward 
makes each word 
into the
feeding a


On November 24, 2012, Silver Birch Press released CHARLES BUKOWSKI Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me)  — a respectful, affectionate literary profile of novelist and poet Charles Bukowski by Joan Jobe Smith.

In the book, awarding-winning author Joan Jobe Smith — a Pushcart Honoree — shares up-close, personal recollections of her mentor and friend, Charles Bukowski (1920-1994). CHARLES BUKOWSKI Epic Glottis also features remembrances and comments from women in Bukowski’s life — including Frances Dean Smith (francEyE), Ann Menebroker, Linda King, and Pamela “Cupcakes” Miller Wood — in interviews conducted by Joan Jobe Smith and poet/author Fred Voss. This years-in-the-making volume also includes poetry, essays, and other writings by Smith and Voss.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked for seven years as a go-go dancer before receiving her B.A. from California State University Long Beach and MFA from the University of California Irvine. A Pushcart Honoree, her award-winning work has appeared internationally in more than 500 publications, including Outlaw Bible, Ambit, Beat Scene, Wormwood Review and Nerve Cowboy—and she has published 20 collections, including Jehovah Jukebox (Event Horizon Press, US) and The Pow Wow Cafe (The Poetry Business, UK), finalist for the UK 1999 Forward Prize. In July 2012, with her husband, poet Fred Voss, she did her sixth reading tour of England (debuting at the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival), featured at the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull. In 2013, World Parade Books will release her memoir Tales of an Ancient Go-Go Girl.

The poems of Joan Jobe Smith have the reality of force properly put down on paper…a game girl…she cuts herself loose into the stratosphere…a strange woman, a strange, good, basic woman.”


CHARLES BUKOWSKI Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me) is available at


Within the next few weeks, Silver Birch Press will release Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), a memoir by Joan Jobe Smith. Joan’s legions of fans have been asking her to write this book for many years — and it soon will be available around the world!

The book features scores of rare photos and illustrations of Charles Bukowski and the women he loved, as well as interviews with Bukowski insiders, Joan Jobe Smith’s reportage of Bukowski readings, along with her artwork and poetry — and much more.

Here’s a sampling from the memoir…


Poem by Joan Jobe Smith

Bukowski told me the reason he chose

Charles for his writer name instead of

Henry his real first name was because

He didn’t think Henry a very writerly

name and I, a full-of-myself undergrad

said, But what about Henry James, Henry

Miller, Henrik Ibsen, O. Henry? And Charles

Bukowski laughed, letting me know he was

glad I wasn’t the bimbo he thought I was, and

I laughed, glad he didn’t think me a bimbo

and he laughed some more, harder, his eyes

twinkling, his teeth big and white as he let me

know it wasn’t so much knowledge he had

but psychic insight and that he could see right

through me and I stopped laughing because it

was scarier than hell to be known so well.



Available in early November 2012 — Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis by Joan Jobe Smith. 

In her respectful, affectionate literary profile, Joan Jobe Smith shares up-close, personal recollections of her extraordinary mentor, fellow writer, and friend Charles Bukowski, along with the remembrances and comments of the fabulous women he loved — Frances Dean Smith (francEyE), Anne Menebroker, Linda King, and Pamela Miller Wood. Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis is a no-holds-barred celebration of this incomparable bard of the racetracks and bars and hard streets of Los Angeles.” FRED VOSS, award-winning poet and author of Hammers and Hearts of the Gods

“Charles Bukowski emphasized the importance of style and grace in everything and, as her mentor, the old man would not be disappointed. Like a sparkling bijou, Joan Jobe Smith is a gift to the world of art and humanity.” PAMELA MILLER WOOD, author of Charles Bukowski’s Scarlet

“The poems of Joan Jobe Smith have the reality of force properly put down on paper…a game girl…she cuts herself loose into the stratosphere…a strange woman, a strange, good, basic woman.” CHARLES BUKOWSKI 


contemporary literature, one (excerpt)

poem by Charles Bukowski

…I saw some newspapers

on the floor

I was out of writing


had long ago hocked 

my typewriter

I noticed that 

each page of the

newspaper had a wide white

margin around the 


I had a pencil


I picked up a 

newspaper and with

the pencil stub

I began to write words 

on the edge

sitting in the doorway

freezing in the moonlight

so that I could


I wrote in pencil 

on all the edges 

of all the newspapers 

in that shack…

Illustration: “Charles Bukowski” by Jeremy Hara. If you aren’t familiar with Jeremy Hara’s ouevre, he draws on U.S. currency — and has created clever portraits of iconic figures in American arts and letters, including Andy Warhol, R. Crumb, Kurt Vonnegut, and Mark Twain. For more about Jeremy Hara, visit his blog.

Note: Find “contemporary literature, one” in Charles Bukowski‘s Dangling in the Tournefortia (1981), a collection of poetry he dedicated to his writing idol John Fante. Find the book on



Essay by Joan Didion

It is three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and 105 degrees and the air so thick with smog that the dusty palm trees loom up with a sudden and rather attractive mystery. I have been playing in the sprinklers with the baby and I get in the car and go to Ralphs Market on the corner of Sunset and Fuller wearing an old bikini bathing suit. This is not a very good thing to wear to the market but neither is it, at Ralphs on the corner of Sunset and Fuller, an unusual costume. Nonetheless a large woman in a cotton muumuu jams her cart into mine at the butcher counter. “What a thing to wear to the market,” she says in a loud but strangled voice. Everyone looks the other way and I study a plastic package of rib lamb chops and she repeats it. She follows me all over the store, to the Junior Foods, to the Dairy Products, to the Mexican Delicacies, jamming my cart whenever she can. Her husband plucks at her sleeve. As I leave the checkout counter, she raises her voice one last time: “What a thing to wear to Ralphs,” she says.

“Los Angeles Notebook” by Joan Didion is found in her collection of essays Slouching Toward Bethlehem, available at

Photo: Joan Didion and her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne photographed for Life Magazine in 1972 by Julian Wasser.