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PEOPLE : How Poetic--a Bukowski Wake

March 24, 1994|IRENE LACHER

For someone who liked to flout the bounds of literary acceptability, Charles Bukowski still has more than a few fans among L.A.'s literati.

The departed godfather of L.A. poetry has been cordially invited to attend, in spirit, an "all-star poetry wake" in his honor on Saturday evening. (Witness the mannequin with Bukowski's craggy face.)

The wake at Arundel Antiquarian Books, 8380 Beverly Blvd., will feature readings written and inspired by L.A.'s Meat School master. Signing on are Bukowski biographer Neeli Cherkovski; John Harris, owner of the erstwhile Papa Bach bookstore; beat poet John Thomas; L.A. Free Press contributor Michael C Ford; poet Harry Northup; a fellow U.S. Postal Worker from Bukowski's federal days, among others. The evening will be hosted by Liza Richardson of public radio station KCRW-FM's "Man in the Moon" program.

"He was very much a Southern California presence," says poet and wake organizer Laurel Ann Bogen. "He was a champion of the underdog. He approached life with grace and honesty and a kind of truth that found honor in the attempt to live in the world, as opposed to just achieve in it. . . . The city is going to be a much darker place without him.

"I never met him, but I've heard him read two or three times--the last time at the Troubadour in West Hollywood about 1976. He came up with a six-pack of beer and he read until the six-pack was gone and then he left."

The poetry wake, featuring 20 readers, runs from 8 p.m. to midnight. It's free and open to the public.

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