Come On In

For those who agree that poetry has been lingering on its deathbed, here are 279 satisfying pages of Bukowski’s terse, conversational soliloquies, written before he succumbed to leukemia in 1994 and before his medium succumbed to decades of abuse. The hard-living poet must have predicted his reports of life on the edge would endure; he left enough poems to be dusted off from the archive for nine (so far) posthumous books. In Come on In, he tackles his usual subjects of booze, sex, regret and writer’s block—and describes his particular corners of hell, where he lived with one foot in the world of literary success and one foot in crappy rented rooms and strip joints—in a tone that’s closer to fraternity than anguish.