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HELLO NIKOS, Selected Letters by Charles Bukowski

HELLO NIKOS, Selected Letters by Charles Bukowski

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This is a recent publication that adds to the great collections of letters that are already out there.

I’m going to use some of the details from the bookseller below because he only knows where he got the copies and whatever information he has on the book’s origin.

“Helo Nikos” refers to Nikos Stangos, a Greek poet working for Penguin when Bukowski was asked to be a part of the Penguin Modern Poets Series in 1967. “Hello Nikos” is a great title in a way because that’s how he starts every letter.

I have read the letters myself and they are fantastic from a historical perspective. The primary focus is about Bukowski attempting to get into Penguin Modern Poets 13 with Philip Lamantia and Harold Norse. He lovingly describes his admiration for Norse’s work over and over and over again (unusual praise by Bukowski for any contemporary, but perhaps Bukowski thought it would get back to Norse and inspire Norse to push for his inclusion).

Bukowski also unabashedly kisses Niko’s ass. You can tell he really, really wants to be in this book. You get the feeling that inclusion in the distinguished series would mark a true accomplishment for himself as a writer. He mentions in some letters that At Terror Street and Agony Way is in production, but he honestly doesn’t seem to care all that much – in fact, he complains about having to do all the paintings for the hardcover and spending too much time doing the recording.

Of course, in the end he is included in the book, which makes for a happy ending when you read these letters. It’s a very unique time capsule that I don’t recall reading much about in the past.

Details from the bookseller:

This volume contains approximately 50 xeroxed letters from Bukowski to Nikos Stangos. Bukowski has included some poems and drawings in a few of the letters.


8-1/2" x 11"

No publisher

No date

Published in London, England

Limited Edition of 100 copies

Note: The scans are from my personal copy, not yours.


Box 29, Copy 1

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