Bono Reads Two Poems by Charles Bukowski, “Laureate of American Lowlife”

Eons ago, we brought you Tom Waits read­ing Charles Bukowski’s poem “The Laugh­ing Heart” in his ever so dis­tinc­tive grav­el­ly voice. Today, we’re head­ing to the oth­er end of the rock audio spec­trum. We’re bring­ing you Bono — short, of course, for the Latin “Bonovox,” or “Good Voice” — read­ing two poems by Bukows­ki, the poet once called the “lau­re­ate of Amer­i­can lowlife” by Pico Iyer. That’s because Bukows­ki made the ordi­nary lives of poor Amer­i­cans and their many tra­vails the sub­ject of his poet­ry.

First up comes “Roll the Dice,” a poem from the col­lec­tion, What Mat­ters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire (1999). Next, “The Crunch,” pub­lished in Love is a Dog From Hell (1977). Both Bono read­ings orig­i­nal­ly appeared in the 2003 Bukows­ki doc­u­men­tary Born Into This. You can find the film list­ed in our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online (in the Doc­u­men­tary sec­tion), and also more Bukows­ki read­ings in our big list of Free Audio Books.

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  • rodw says:

    Rich and bor­ing rock star reads Bukows­ki — how Buk would have loved the irony…

  • nancy collins says:

    I cher­ish the poem by:“Charles Bukows­ki, Roll the dice”. This poem to be read by ” Bono” Amaz­ing!!! Bono is a per­fect exam­ple of ” going all fhe way, or don’t even try… thank U2

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.