41. The Laughing Heart

The poetry of Charles Bukowski deeply inspires many of its readers. Sometimes it just inspires them to lead the dissolute lifestyle they think they see glorified in it, but other times it leads them to create something compelling of their own. The quality and variety of the Bukowski-inspired animation now available on the internet, for instance, has certainly surprised me. At the top of the post, we have Jonathan Hodgson’s adaptation of “The Man with the Beautiful Eyes,” which puts vivid, colorful imagery to Bukowski’s late poem that draws from his childhood memories of a mysterious, untamed young man in a run-down house whose very existence reminded him “that nobody wanted anybody to be strong and beautiful like that, that others would never allow it.” Here you can watch Monika Umba’s even more unconventional animation of “Bluebird“.

At the bottom of the post, you’ll find Bradley Bell’s interpretation of “The Laughing Heart,” a poem that advises its readers not to let their lives “be clubbed into dank submission,” to “be on the watch,” for “there are ways out.” “You can’t beat death,” Bukowski writes, “but you can beat death in life, sometimes.” In Bell’s short, these words come from the mouth of the also famously dissolution-chronicling singer-songwriter Tom Waits, certainly Bukowski’s most suitable living reader (and one who, all told, comes second only to the man himself). Only fitting that one inspiring creator delivers the work of another — in the sort of labor of enthusiasm that, too, will inspire its audience to create. You can find readings of Bukowski poems in the poetry section of our collection of Free Audio Books.

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One Comment on “41. The Laughing Heart

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