Four Charles Bukowski Poems Animated

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.” Below, you can watch Moni­ka Umba’s even more uncon­ven­tion­al ani­ma­tion of “Blue­bird”:

With­out any words spo­ken on the sound­track and only the title seen onscreen — a chal­leng­ing cre­ative restric­tion for a poet­ry-based short — Umba depicts the nar­ra­tor’s “blue­bird in my heart that wants to get out.” But the nar­ra­tor, “too tough for him,” beats back the blue­bird’s escape with whiskey, cig­a­rettes, and a pol­i­cy of only let­ting him roam “at night some­times, when every­body’s asleep.”

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.

At the bot­tom the post, you will find “Roll the Dice,” an ani­ma­tion sug­gest­ed by one of our read­ers, Mark.

You can find read­ings of Bukows­ki poems in the poet­ry sec­tion of our col­lec­tion of Free Audio Books.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Last (Faxed) Poem of Charles Bukows­ki

Lis­ten to Charles Bukows­ki Poems Being Read by Bukows­ki, Tom Waits and Bono

“Don’t Try”: Charles Bukowski’s Con­cise Phi­los­o­phy of Art and Life

Charles Bukows­ki Sets His Amus­ing Con­di­tions for Giv­ing a Poet­ry Read­ing (1971)

Charles Bukows­ki: Depres­sion and Three Days in Bed Can Restore Your Cre­ative Juices (NSFW)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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