Portfolio - Charles Bukowski (Poet)

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1 Biography

Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 in Germany) and immigrated with his family to USA when he was 3 years old. Bukowski began writing at a young age. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work.

Due to lack of publishing success Bukowksi gave up writing for the world of work and became a barfly. After ten years of heavy drinking he developed a bleeding ulcer and decided to take up writing again. During that time he worked a wide range of jobs to support his writing, including the United States Postal Service in Los Angeles, a job that took no effort except for the strength to show up.

Bukowksi's first generally recognized publication date is in the 1960s, yet citations from the early 60s exist in Sanford Dorbin's early bibliography, and The Roominghouse Madrigals prints poems from the late 40s.

Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His writing often featured a raw urban environment, misfortunate members of society, direct language, violence, and sexual imagery.
His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he went on to publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose. Bukowski’s informal style and non-conforming literary approach has endeared him to readers of the Beat genre, despite never truly being associated with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, or other major Beat writers.

He died of leukaemia in San Pedro on March 9, 1994. The funeral rites, orchestrated by his widow, were conducted by Buddhist monks. An account of the proceedings can be found in Gerald Locklin's book Charles Bukowski: A Sure Bet. His gravestone reads: "Don't Try", a phrase which Bukowski uses in one of his poems, advising aspiring writers and poets about inspiration and creativity. Bukowski explained the phrase in a 1963 letter to John William Corrington: "Somebody at one of these places [...] asked me: "What do you do? How do you write, create?" You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it."


2 by Bukowski [1967]
A Love Poem [1979]
Africa, Paris, Greece [1975]
All the Assholes in the World and Mine [1966]
Another Academy [1970]
At Terror Street and Agony Way [1968]
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame: Selected Poems, 1955-1973 [1974]
Cold Dogs in the Courtyard [1965]
Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts [1965]
Crucifix in a Deathhand: New Poems, 1963-1965 [1965]
Dangling in the Tournefortia [1981]
Fire Station [1970]
Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail [1959]
Grip the Walls [1964]
If We Take... [1969]
It Catches My Heart in Its Hands: New and Selected Poems, 1955-1963 [1963]
Legs, Hips, and Behind [1978]
Longshot Pomes for Broke Players [1962]
Love Is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 [1977]
Love Poems to Marina [1973]
Maybe Tomorrow [1977]
Me and Your Sometimes Love Poems ]1972]
Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck [1972]
Night's Work [1966]
On Going Out to Get the Mail [1966]
Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit [1979]
Poems Written before Jumping out of an 8-story Window [1968]
Poems and Drawings [1962]
Run with the Hunted [1962]
Scarlet [1976]
Sparks [1983]
The Curtains Are Waving [1967]
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses over the Hills [1969]
The Flower Lover [1966]
The Genius of the Crowd [1966]
The Girls [1966]
The Last Generation [1982]
The Last Night of the Earth Poems [1992]
The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, 1946-1966 [1988]
To Kiss the Worms Goodnight [1966]
True Story [1966]
War All the Time: Poems, 1981-1984 [1984]
Weather Report [1975]
While the Music Played [1973]
Winter [1975]
Sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way [2003]


Barfly [1984]
Bring Me Your Love [1983]
Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness [1972]
Factotum [1975]
Ham on Rye [1982]
Hollywood [1989]
Horsemeat [1982]
Hot Water Music [1983]
Notes of a Dirty Old Man [1969]
Post Office [1971]
Pulp [1994]
South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life [1973]
There's No Business [1984]
Women [1978]


Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters 1960-1970 [1993]
The Bukowski/Purdy Letters: A Decade of Dialogue, 1964-1974 [1983]

Poetry & Prose

Septuagenarian Stew [1990]

Joined the Circus on: 05 Jul 2011
Account: Legends

Country: USA - California (CA)

Influences: John Fante, Ernest Hemingway, Robinson Jeffers, Henry Miller, D. H. Lawrence, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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