Jahrbuch der Charles-Bukowski-Gesellschaft 2009 74
BukScene #1
The Birth of a Literary Magazine
An interview with Jocelyne Desforges & Jan Hallers
The authors are the founders of a new international magazine on Bukowski and related poets. Here they talk about their experiences creating that magazine.
Hello Jocelyne and Jan, you're from very different countries, Canada and the Netherlands. Still you both have gathered to start a magazine together. A magazine about Bukowski. You called it 'BUK-SCENE' and it hit a lot of ground.
Would you please talk a bit about the project? How the idea appeared, how it came to life and what happened afterwards . . .
Jocelyne: What is interesting to me is that the fans of Bukowski are so numerous, with different lifestyles, from different parts of the world, different languages, ages, and yet, we instantly feel a certain connec-tion.
You get Bukowski or you simply don't. Jan, in the Netherlands, had been reading Bukowski for more than 25 years, selling his books online and was thinking of sharing his find with Dutch readers.
Me, In Canada, I had been introduced to Bukowski in the seventies, but I really got him much later after inheriting 20 of his books of poetry, letters and novels. I read everything I had within a few months. Then I was looking to express my enthusiasm through paintings, by introducing some of his lines in my artwork.
Jan: What brought Jocelyne and I together was www.bukowski.net, a website created by Michael Phillips. Michael is a poet, writer and a computer expert from Los Angeles. This website, created in January 2006, is devoted to Bukowski. It is in the form of a blog that has attracted writers, readers, collectors, publishers, artists and people like us who were mostly surprised to realize that the site had a strong pulse.
Jocelyne Desforges & Jan Hallers: BukScene #1 75
Jocelyne: I think that it is growing everyday, attracting new viewers and new members. The beautiful thing about such a website is that all information is quite accurate and discussed by knowledgeable mem-bers. It holds everything that has ever been published, a timeline, his artwork, photos, a search option.
Bukowski appears to most as a tenaceous, courageous, bluntly honest wild man. He was a blue collar worker, drinker and appeared to some as a womanizer, who becomes successful after years of down and out living. I suppose that most of us are excited by such an ending to such a life. It is like justice prevails, someone's efforts are rewarded. At least, that's how I see it.
Writing from the underground, as an underfed underdog who emer-ges as a giant, breaking all the literary rules, upsetting the academics, and being so prolific that no one could argue his talent.
Anyhow, Jan was dreaming of publishing a newsletter, ( half Dutch, half English), noticed the paintings that I had posted on the Bukowski website and contacted me through a private message on bukowski.net.
He asked me if I would contribute pictures of my paintings for the front cover of the publication, or the back cover. He had offered to pay me for it, and I replied that he could use anything I had for free, since I was happy to share my appreciation of Bukowski and that it also gave a meaning to what I had been doing on my own, for myself, a lesson I had learned from Bukowski.
I need to say that I thought that Jan was a Dutch woman, with strong opinions, and I felt very comfortable, doing something about Bukow-ski with a woman, knowing that most members seemed to be men. So, we kept in touch by e-mail for a few months.
I sent him a CD with a couple of pictures. One was 'Hollywood', another was titled 'How do you make it , baby?', and a third one ' The last night of the earth poems'. These paintings were not portraits, but paintings inspired by the poetry and the novels I had read. She (he) asked me if I could paint a portrait of Bukowski. I did paint a first portrait of Bukowski.
Jahrbuch der Charles-Bukowski-Gesellschaft 2009 76
That painting was done from a Michael Montfort b/w photo, which appeared on the cover of 'Tales of Ordinary Madness'.
I was to go to Paris for my birthday and Jan offered to meet me in Paris, and sent me a picture of himself, (for my birthday.) I had to know what he looked