American poet and author Todd Moore (1937-2010) grew up on the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois. His father, a failed writer, was a chronic alcoholic and in constant need of money, which landed his family in a cheap hotel for twelve years. His father’s ambition to become a writer and the experiences in that skidrow hotel shaped Todd Moore as a writer and a poet. “By the time I was twelve I was a street thief and a damned good one. I’d already seen a guy who’d hanged himself and had nearly been cut in a knife fight. In some ways it was both the best and the worst of times”, he would later explain. Taking inspiration from literary sources as varied as Ernest Hemingway, Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Rimbaud and Sylvia Plath, Moore followed his own ambition to become a writer and developed a tough, streetwise style not unlike Charles Bukowski’s, whose work he only discovered later. Despite having attended college on a scholarship, being married and making a decent living as a schoolteacher, a librarian and a souvenir shopkeeper, he liked to think of himself an ‘outlaw poet’ after having spent decades writing about gangster John Dillinger. Todd Moore left a large number of volumes of poetry carrying titles such as Shooting out the Lights, Outlaw Eyes and The Summer of Blood when he died in 2010.
In his short text Taking on Bukowski, Moore explains how any aspiring writer or poet should avoid imitating or emulating Bukowski. “I’ve never tried to take Bukowski out,” Moore writes, “because I know it can’t be done” and ends his text with: “if you can’t be Bukowski, then maybe you can die the way you have lived, always a little fucked up and against all odds”. Moloko Plus has published Moore’s text as a risographed chapbook and has added a fine German translation by Walter Hartmann. Moore’s poem i don’t want (to write like charles bukowski) fittingly completes this edition, which was elegantly designed by Kai Pohl and risographed by Stencilwerck, The Hague.