A letter from Charles Bukowski giving conditions for doing a poetry reading

By Abraham Piper


Here is a 1971 response from Charles Bukowski to a request he received to do a reading. It is winsome, mildly crass, and equal parts dismissive, disarming, and self-deprecating…

I am available for a poetry reading but don’t know if you have the stakes. It would take round-trip air… plus $200… Auden gets 2,000 a reading, Ginsberg 1,000, so you see I’m cheap. A real whore…

I quit my job at age 50, I’m 51 now and have been more or less on the literary hustle. That’s why I talk money like a pool sharp. It’s all survival; Forgive me.

(via Boing Boing)