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July 15, 1990

There is always going to be a problem when you have a fledgling, hopeful writer (especially a poet) review a book written by a person who already has great success with his huge body of work.

As (Gary) Soto stated (in his review of "Septuagenarian Stew" (Book Review, May 13), Charles Bukowski has had 45 books published. He has also been translated into more than 15 languages. He must be doing something right.

If it could all be said in one book, why is he now selling more than ever? Bukowski usually writes about what he has experienced and observed, felt and thought. That is why there are, in his poems and stories, numerous rendezvous with the down and out; but for Soto to say that is all there is in Bukowski's new book simply shows that he did not read much of the book.

The fact is, in this wonderfully charged book, one is indeed served up a stew--an entire feast in itself--with courses of friends and miracles, of movie stars, death, revelation, celebration, the rich, failure, TV, fruit, animals, light, nutrition, succeeding, struggling, the Buddha, childhood, sickness, etc., etc. Soto missed this banquet. Perhaps he should stick to TV dinners.

I resent that someone whose taste buds are so dreadfully underdeveloped as those of Soto was chosen (or whatever) to review my husband's new book.

Poets shouldn't review poets. Siskel and Ebert review films; they don't make them.



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