A cut above

by HRM on October 9, 2012

Literary Wood carvings by Loren Kantor

Bukowski woodcut

I don’t hate people…I just feel better when they’re not around.
Charles Bukowski

When I was a college student, I had the habit of checking my friends bookcases to see what they were reading. I’d see books by Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Herman Hesse. Looking on a lower shelf, tucked away in a corner perhaps, I’d often see multiple well-worn titles by Charles Bukowski. The message was clear: high-brow reading was necessary but Bukowski was pure fun. Charles Bukowski was a poet of the profane. A student of the gritty streets, he wrote about the shadow side of America.

Bukowski died of leukemia in 1994 and his funeral was conducted by Buddhist monks. His old De Longpre Avenue Apartment in Hollywood is now an official landmark. His headstone features a graphic of a boxer and the epitaph “Don’t try.”

Aram Saroyan
Aram Saroyan
Aram came of age in the 60’s and his early writings were heavily influenced by the Beat Generation. He met the beat triumvirate of Kerouac, Ginsberg & Burroughs and Aram’s book “Genesis Angels” chronicles the life of beat poet Lew Welch. Kerouac recited his poem “Mexico City Blues” and asked Aram to repeat the words after him, line by line. When the poem was complete, Kerouac rewarded Aram by saying, “You’ll do, Saroyan.” To Aram, this was the equivalent of a literary knighting. Currently, Aram teaches creative writing at USC. Aram’s 2007 collection “Complete Minimal Poems” received the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. His latest book is “Door to the River: Essays and Reviews from the 1960s into the Digital Age.”

Loren Kantor is a Los Angeles based woodcut artist and writer. He loves carving woodcuts & linocuts of his favorite cultural figures. His original carvings can be seen on his blog woodcuttingfool.blogspot.com

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