Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Oscar Wilde
Born : August 16, 1920
Place of Birth : Andernach, Germany
Died : March 9, 1994
Place of death : San Pedro, California

Charles Bukowski was born in Germany in 1920 and came with his family to the United States when he was three years old. He grew up in poverty in Los Angeles, drifted extensively, and for much of his life made his home in. Bukowski had been a writer since childhood, published his first story at age twenty four, and began publishing poetry when he was thirty-five.

Bibliography of Bukowski's Works

Bukowski is generally considered to be an honorary "beat writer," although he was never actually associated with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and the other bona fide beat writers. His style, which exhibits a strong sense of immediacy and a refusal to embrace standard formal structure, has earned him a place in the hearts of beat generation readers, and the contributors to the alt.books.beatgeneration newsgroup. He was a prolific (it isn't known how much he had written; much of it was sent off to publishers long-hand and never seen again), free-formed, humorous, and painfully honest writer. His topics included hang-overs, the shit stains on his underwear, classical music, horse-racing and whores. He was at home with the people of the streets, the skid row bums, the hustlers, the transient life style. His language is the poetry of the streets viewed from the honesty of a hang-over.

Most of Bukowski's work is based on his own experience. In Ham On Rye we follow his autobiographical character, Henry Chinaski through his childhood and early years.

In Factotum we again find Henry Chinaski, now in his most vinuous days, wandering from city to city, from job to job, from woman to woman. Bukowski became widely known after the release of the movie Barfly Factotum takes place. Bukowski wrote the screenplay and was somewhat involved in the production of this film which featured Mickey Rourke in the role of Chinaski/Bukowski. Barfly was produced by Francis Ford Coppola whose current project is alledgedly a film adaptation of On the Road.

Prior to the release of Barfly, Bukowski was best known by the public at large, for his novel Post Office. Although Barfly brought Hank to the masses in a big way, Bukowski is primarily known in literary circles for his poetry. He has stated that he does not consider himself a poet, but simply a writer. "To say I'm a poet puts me in the company of versifiers, neontasters, fools, clods, and skoundrels masquerading as wise men." He has also made clear that he does not like "form" in poetry, referring to it as "a paycheck for learning to turn the same screw that has held things together." (This from sure, no. 3) If you are not familiar with Bukowski's poetry, well, please judge for yourself :

The Blackbirds are Rough Today

Young in New Orleans


Bibliography of Bukowski's Works

There is a publication dedicated to Charles Bukowski called sure, which is erudite without being overly academic.


  Texts from Levi Asher - Literary Kicks
Excerpted by permission of copyright holder

Charles Bukowski Pages by michael mccullough =