Patrick Maguire

Real-life Americans



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The Rat on Fire


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The publisher’s come-on for Charles Bukowski’s Women cites Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Genet. Both apparently have acclaimed him as ‘the best poet in America’. Perhaps this says something about the efforts of every other poet in America, or indicates the perversity of existentialist taste, or maybe even it reflects the common understanding of American English of the Gallic savant and ex-voleur (a language of unfettered mendacity?). Or it could be that they were just drunk at the time?

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