Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook

Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook
Uncollected Stories and Essays, 1944-1990
Edited by David Stephen Calonne





East Bay Literary Examiner

"With selected pieces ranging from 1944-1990, Bukowski cleverly paints his careful moments of brutal honesty that can be regarded as some of the most sublime narratives Bukowski's ever produced . . . If Bukowski fans find their personal library lacking this spirited collection, I’d suggest they be quick to snag a copy."

—Tony R. Rodriguez


The Bloomsbury Review

"This is a valuable addition to the expanding, some might say morbidly obese, bulk of posthumous Bukowski titles. It's not just another agglomeration of odds and soda, unfinished drafts, and scraps that weren't good enough to publish the first time around, flaws that characterized his recent output and which even his most fervent acolytes must realize. No, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook is a different animal. . . . This collection is also unique in that it offers a glimpse of Bukowski as nonfiction writer. . . . Most of his work, in fact, occupies a murky uncertain terrain, a lawless border town where poetry, fiction, and memoir meet for a light lunch. In some of these essays, we meet a writer of criticism and manifestos, reminding us that Bukowski was never simply a primitive naif but rather a disciplined, self-aware, thoughtful, and widely read artisan. It took a lot of hard work to make it seem otherwise."
—Andrew Madigan


Resources for American Literary Study

"[Bukowski] could be generous and mean-spirited, heroic and defensive, spot-on and slanted, but he became the world-class writer he had set out to be; he has joined the permanent anti-canon or shadow-canon whose denizens had shown him the way. Today the frequent allusions to him in both popular and mainstream culture tend more to respect than mockery. If scholarship has lagged, this book would indicate that this situation is changing."
—Gerald Locklin


Bold Monkey

"It features a wealth of previously uncollected Bukowski material, including his first published short stories, book reviews, essays on literature, U.S. politics, his writing craft, biographical accounts, entries from his famous NOTES of a DIRTY OLD MAN newspaper column, tips on how to win at the racetrack and even a review of a Rolling Stones concert. David Stephen Calonne provides a lucid and highly learned introduction to the book. . . . No Bukophile should miss out on this book."

—Bold Monkey


20 Tanks from Kasseldown
May 1, 2008

Read an excerpt from Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook, as published in The Brooklyn Rail.

- Charles Bukowski, The Brooklyn Rail

Hard Without Music
May 1, 2008

Read an excerpt from Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook, as published in The Brooklyn Rail.

- Charles Bukowski, The Brooklyn Rail

Nutritional Value, Addicts, and Berets
May 27, 2012

Blogger considers David Foster Wallace and Charles Bukowski:

"Both Wallace and Bukowski believed that withdrawing from the masses and focusing on what you can control--individual living and writing as the best means."

- Rickstate

Small Press Review

"[Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook is] a genuine treasure trove of some of Bukowski's most important and entertaining work. David Calonne's excellent introduction provides a comprehensive overview of Bukowski's literary career, and contextualizes its importance and relevance in an intelligent and convincing manner. . . The result is a fascinating collection that clarly show how Bukowski developed his school-of-hard-knocks education into a solid, full-fledged aesthetics, and reveals a surprisingly erudite and well-read mind, proving that there was indeed a method to his apparent madness. The gritty panache and street-level humor with which Bukowski lays bare his hard-earned wisdom makes for a compelling read. . . But Portions is much more than just an entertaining read, offering many revealing insights and behind-the-scenes looks into the workings of the mind of a genuine outsider and literary innovator. As such, Portions provides an important cornerstone in the foundation of what is gradually becoming a true monument in American letters. This is essential reading for Bukowki fans (and skeptics), as well as anyone interested in the development of modern American literature, to which Bukowski has made a major contribution."

—Mark Terrill


Best Books for Winter Reading, 2008
Dec 10, 2008

"BEST PROSE
Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook by Charles Bukowski. City Lights Publishers"

- Grace Cavalieri, The Montserrat Review

Los Angeles Times

"[The] essays [in Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook] have that sometimes-absent discipline (or help from editors) so that even when they consist of disconnected paragraphs, they have a kind of form. And, I think, a preciseness of language that's missing in his lesser work. I was charmed. . . Editor David Stephen Callone makes the case, in his introduction, that Bukowski had an 'essentially European cultural sensibility,' that his dirtiness was transgressive a la Bataille, that his dark humor is existential. Maybe I'm responding to these intellectual rubrics—or maybe I'm swayed by his refusal to behave, just as my drunken poet friends were years ago. . . there is also a fair measure of the spark that made Bukowski a Los Angeles icon in the first place."

—Carolyn Kellogg


Books of the Year
Dec 9, 2008

"Niall Griffiths

I'd have to say that the best book I read in 2008 was Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon – the only cure for end-of-The-Wire blues. And Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook by Charles Bukowski, an anthology of his previously uncollected writings that show him to be a much more widely read and culturally aware man than is commonly supposed. And Roger Deakin’s Notes from Walnut Tree Farm; the beautiful necessity of involvement. His death at sixty-three was an immeasurable loss."

- Granta Online

Charleston City Paper
"In digging up more fragments from the author's vast (and uneven) library, editor David Stephen Calonne . . . reveals many of the Dirty Old Man's less-than-savory peccadilloes, but also his singular significance to 20th-century American literature . . . Over the course of the 35-plus pieces in this collection, Bukowski makes full use of his Muse, touching on nearly all his favorite topics: drinking, women, sex ('Workout' could carry an X rating), fighting, horse-racing, the drudgery of the nine-to-five . . . Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook is a welcome addition to the growing Bukowski library . . . "
—Eric Liebetrau

The Missing Links
Nov 12, 2008

"In the LA Times, Carolyn Kellog writes on Charles Bukowski: 'When I was young, and new to L.A., and hanging around dissolute poets, I read a lot of Bukowski, and it seemed to me, even then, that there was a lot of dreck to page through before something struck and resonated. So when I picked up Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, it was with those hard questions in mind: doesn't this guy need an editor? And a garbage can? But these essays have that sometimes-absent discipline (or help from editors) so that even when they consist of disconnected paragraphs, they have a kind of form. And, I think, a preciseness of language that’s missing in his lesser work.'"

- 3:AM Magazine

NewCity Chicago

"The pillars of his life, as Charles Bukowski saw it, were elemental: 'Poetry, paint, sand, whores,' he writes in the title polemic of his new volume of uncollected writings, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, adding, for good measure; 'food, fire, death, bullshit…the turning of the fan…the bottle.' In a literary climate where it is assumed writing can be taught and networking Helps Your Career, this unholy assemblage of influences has become an almost refreshing creative counter-mantra—and yet it is also a cliché. Prolonged exposure to its twisted logic can be invigorating and boring, which is what it's like to pick through this grab-bag volume. On one page there is the sparkle of Bukowski's genius; on the next there's the self-pitying."

—John Freeman


Charles Bukowski: writing, drinking, writing
Oct 17, 2008
"The newly released 'Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook' pulls together as-yet uncollected essays and stories by Charles Bukowski, written from 1944-1990. Some were published in places like 'Rolling Stone'; others showed up in fleeting literary journals and porn mags. The selections include the first of his 'Notes From a Dirty Old Man,' a series that appeared in multiple magazines, and the first short story he published, which pointed out his lack of prior publication: 'Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip.'"
- Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times

Bukowski's L.A. Scene
Sep 4, 2008
"I was born in Andernach, Germany, August 16, 1920, the bastard son of an American soldier with the American Army of Occupation. At the age of two, I was brought to the U.S. and after a couple of months' stay in Baltimore I was brought to Los Angeles, and after maturity (?) I bummed the country at random, back and forth, up and down, in and out, but I always returned to Los Angeles, and here I am today, living in a falling-down front court just off the poor man's Sunset Strip. If anybody is an authority on the scene, I ought to be, though granted, the scene has filtered down through days and nights of wine and beer and whiskey, and perhaps a desperation that has twisted my perspective a bit, but I was here, am here, and speak of it..." - Charles Bukowski, LA Weekly

Notes of a dirty old man Or: a portion from a wine-stained notebook
Aug 27, 2008
"'YOWWWWWWW!'

I was having visions in those days. They came mostly when I was drying out, not drinking, waiting around for money or something to arrive, and the visions were very real — Technicolor and with music — mostly they flashed across the top of the ceiling while I was on the bed in a half-slumberous state. I had worked in too many factories, had seen too many jails, had drunk too many bottles of cheap wine to maintain any sort of cool and intelligent state toward my visions —

'OH, GO AWAY YOU BASTARDS! I BEG YOU! GET THE HELL OUT! YOU'RE GOING TO FLAKE ME FOR SURE! OH MY GOD OH MY JESUS, MERCY!'

It was San Francisco. Then I'd hear a knock on the door. It was the old woman who ran the place, Mama Fazzio.

'Mr. Bukowski?' she said through the door." - Charles Bukowski, SF Bay Guardian

Beat Scene
"Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook is mightily essential reading for all Bukowski fans. . . . City Lights have given us earlier Bukowski, the man scrapping to find a readership, the man still drinking himself into a stupor in order to quell his fear of live readings. This is hungry Charles Bukowski."

Fall books preview
Aug 31, 2008
September nonfiction

Charles Bukowski's Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook: Uncollected Stories and Essays, 1944-1990 (City Lights) - Oscar Villalon, San Francisco Chronicle

Library Journal
"This volume is filled with 36 short selections of prose by the late Bukowski, who is especially known for his poetry (e.g., Bone Palace Ballet). Via short stories and nonfiction—introductions to the work of other writers, book reviews, and autobiographical accounts—the reader is taken on a roller-coaster ride through the waxing and waning lucidity and sometimes depravity of Bukowski's trademark topics (perhaps obsessions): sex, drinking, writing, and self-deprecating. Delving into social commentary, such as his observation that society is more interested in an artist’s personal life than artistic creations, Bukowski also documents the most private moments of his life, seemingly giving society what it wants. Describing in painful detail the abuse he suffered as a child, his antisocial interactions with others, strange sexual encounters, and ongoing battles with alcoholism and depression, this author remains astoundingly unique. Some will declare him an artistic genius, while others will agree with Bukowski’s own depictions of himself as a dirty old man. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries."

The Book Bench: In the News
May 23, 2008
"In conjunction with next weekend’s BookExpo America, City Lights Books and Esotouric are offering a bus tour through Charles Bukowski's Los Angeles, including stops at Skid Row and the poet’s favorite liquor store." - The New Yorker

SPECIAL TEV GIVEAWAY: CHARLES BUKOWSKI'S L.A.
May 23, 2008
"In honor of the upcoming BEA weekend, the gang at Esotouric is presenting, in cooperation with the landmark City Lights Bookstore, a special tour of Charles Bukowski's L.A. 'Haunts of A Dirty Old Man' will take a lucky TEV reader on this tour." - Mark Sarvas, The Elegant Variation: A Literary Weblog

Kirkus Reviews
"More posthumous uncollected prose from the Dirty Old Man. Calonne (English/Eastern Michigan Univ.; William Saroyan: My Real Work Is Being, 1983, etc.), who previously edited a volume of Bukowski's interviews, digs up a few more fragments from the author's vast—and scattershot—oeuvre. As with many 'uncollected' selections, the results are a mixed bag, but Bukowski's gruff directness and take-no-crap attitude shine through. Discussing his style in 'Basic Training,' he writes, 'I hurled myself toward my personal god: SIMPLICITY. The tighter and smaller you got it the less chance there was of error and the lie. Genius could be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.' Certainly, much of Bukowski’s genius lay in his plainspoken, immediate, self-assured prose, but his constant attack on the literary establishment also earned him accolades—and scorn—from fellow writers and critics. He held special contempt for pretentious elitists, those, as Calonne eloquently notes in his illuminating introduction, 'who tried to domesticate the sacred barbaric Muse: the disruptive, primal, archaic, violent, inchoate forces of the creative unconscious.' In the more than 35 pieces that comprise the volume, Bukowski runs through all his favorite topics—drinking, fighting, women, horse-racing ('A track is some place you go so you won’t stare at the walls and whack off, or swallow ant poison')—but he’s at his most lucid and powerful when he explores the process of writing, both his own and others (Artaud, Hemingway, his hero John Fante). There’s a neat deconstruction of Ezra Pound, excerpts from his 'Notes of a Dirty Old Man' column and a peripatetic review of a Rolling Stones concert. Though a few of the selections are little more than ill-formed rants, probably originally scrawled across a bar napkin, there is plenty of the visceral, potent, even graphically sexual (tame readers beware of 'Workout') material to satisfy fans.Not for novices, but a welcome addition to Bukowski’s growing library."