Kim Addonizio’s Bukowski in a Sundress: she’s not oversharing.


addonizioHaving been nominated for a prestigious prize, and then lost it, poet Kim Addonizio learned that one judge had characterized her as “Charles Bukowski in a sundress.” Hence the title of her newest collection of essays.

Meredith Maran reviews the volume in the Chicago Tribune‘s “‘Bukowski in a Sundress’ by Kim Addonizi: Don’t call it oversharing.” (We hope the Trib will correct the misspelling of her name by the time you read this blogpost.)

If this sample is at all representative, I want the whole book:

“Necrophilia is a term that is commonly misunderstood. You probably think it means being so attracted to dead people that you skip the dating part and go straight to their place with a little wine …. What necrophilia is, really, is this: sexual obsession for men who are incapable of having a real relationship because they have no heart in their chest cavity. What they have is an empty socket that will electrocute you if you try to get close and touch it or maybe just point a flashlight that way to see what’s wrong.”

From a chapter called “How I Write”: “I write and it’s good and I am queen of the kingdom and every flower is for me. I write and it’s not good enough; I go and read someone who is very, very good and feel inspired, and go back and write again.” Well, it’s a good thing it doesn’t make her feel envious and frustrated and wanting to break something and move to a remote island and whittle sticks for the rest of her life, which is how Humble Moi tends to feel in the same circumstances.

Maran concludes:

The best memoirs have a paradoxical effect on their readers. On the one hand, they make us attach to their authors, which in turn makes us wish they hadn’t suffered the indignities that spawned the tale. On the other, we’re grateful for the pearl that came from the irritation, the rich gift of the book. If there is any justice at all in the literary world (a premise Addonizio might dispute), “Bukowski in a Sundress” will have that effect on the wide-ranging audience its brave, brilliant author deserves.

Charles_BukowskiRead the whole thing here.

Postscript on 7/10: It occurred to me that some of you may not know who Bukowski is, in the first place. Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) is a Los Angeles poet who has been called “the laureate of American lowlife.” You get the picture – booze, women, and hard livin’. Photo at left. He smoked, too.



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One Response to “Kim Addonizio’s Bukowski in a Sundress: she’s not oversharing.”

  1. George Says:

    She embraces the image of “Bukowski in a sundress” and is surprised to find herself among men who are not interested in relationships? If somebody gives her a duck call, will she be surprised to find that it draws ducks?