Reviews

Bukowski Effect

Michał Kozłowski

Not long ago I came across a copy of Bruce Serafin’s Stardust, a 27 book of essays about the poetry of William Henry Drummond, the plays of Michel Tremblay, the image of the cowboy, Stan Persky, Roland Barthes, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Ashcroft, trips to the library, love, youth, as well as the state of Canadian literary journals: boring layouts, bad copy, artsy photography, filled with poetry and sensitive short stories—impenetrable. There’s a lot of Bukowski in Serafin’s prose: strong, punchy narrative, little exposition, unburdened by political correctness, populated in large part by men (the women in the essays are mostly girlfriends, wives, prostitutes), and occasionally set in the post office, (where Serafin worked). Serafin is an old school writer, in the tradition of American intellectuals who dealt with their subjects directly (Susan Sontag comes immediately to mind)—he writes about the thing, not around it, which is rare and refreshing to read. At times the writing is brilliant, his critiques accessible and profound; other times the writing is quite bad and his ideas baffling; which is to say, it’s definitely not boring.

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Michał Kozłowski

Michał Kozłowski worked at Geist for 15 years. He was born in Krakow, Poland, and has lived in Ottawa, Winnipeg and now Vancouver.


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