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[ Charles Bukowski, 1920 - 1994]

Biographical Notes For Charles Bukowski

  Charles Bukowskiwas born on16 August 1920 in Andernach, Germany.His father was an American soldier. His mother was German.

 He immigrates with family to Los Angeleswhen he is about three years old.

 Educated through second year at Los Angeles City College, which he leaves in 1941.

 Publishes first short story, "Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip," when he was 24 in 1944.

 From 1945 to 1955, publishes only a few short stories. Publishes first poetry at 35.

 Begins working for the US Postal Service in 1956(?), first as a carrier and later as a clerk. During the latter period, he often calls his friend John Martin,editor and publisher of Black Sparrow Press,and tells him: "I am going to die if I don't get out of here."

 In the early 70's he is able to quit working at the Post Office because of a stipend offered to him through John Martin. Devotes himself full time to writing.

 Publishes first novel, Post Officein 1971.

 The loosely biographical film Crazy Love, (based on Love Is a Dog From Hell),is made in Belgium.

 The movie, Barfly,made in 1987, effectively making Bukowski a name for the masses. Of how he was surviving all the attentions, he wrote: "You've got to instinct what will suck you dry." And adds: "Barfly is not a great film, but it kicks along. I've seen it 2 or 3 times, and it always makes me thirsty."

 Died on9 March 1994 in San Pedro, California. The rites were conducted by Buddhist monks.


  • On the years spent not writing: "This diffusion of talent usually occurs among writers in their twenties who don't have enough experience, who don't have enough meat to pick off the bone. YOU CAN'T WRITE WITHOUT LIVING AND WRITING ALL THE TIME IS NOT LIVING. Nor does drinking create a writer or brawling create a writer, and although I've done plenty of both, it's merely a fallacy and a sick romanticism to assume that these actions will make a better writer of one."

  • "The mercy of death is like flowers."

  • "I've never been lonely. I've been in a room- I've felt suicidal. I've been depressed. I've felt awful- awful beyond all- but I've never felt that one other personcould enter that room and cure what was bothering me... or that any numberof people could...."

  • "Why can't you be decent to people?" she asked.
    "Fear," I said.

  • "You've got to hand it to Ginsberg.He's gotten away. He's sitting in India, which is something. I guess they've got good beer in India...."

  • This poetry-thing is the worst sort of crutch. It weakens a man. And if a man is weak before he writes poetry he becomes, finally, through the strumming of shadows and wailing, he becomes finally what he is- just another fine pink juicy boy doing his god damned job in the frailest and most vomiting way.

Other Links

Major Works

  • Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail, 1960

  • Longshot Poems for Broke Players, 1962

  • Run with the Hunted, 1962

  • It Catches My Heart in Its Hands, 1963

  • Crucifix in a Deathhand, 1965

  • Cold Dogs in the Courtyard, 1965

  • Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts, 1965

  • All the Assholes in the World and Mine, 1966

  • At Terror Street and Agony Way, 1968

  • Poems Written Before Jumping out of an 8 Story Window, 1968

  • Notes of a Dirty Old Man, 1969

  • A Bukowski Sampler, 1969

  • The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills, 1969

  • Fire Station1970

  • Post Office, 1971

  • Mockingbird Wish Me Luck1972

  • Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness, 1972

  • South of No North, 1973

  • Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame: Selected Poems 1955-1973, 1974

  • Factotum, 1975

  • Love Is a Dog from Hell: Poems 1974-1977, 1977

  • Women, 1978

  • Play the Piano Drunk/Like a Percussion Instrument/Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit, 1979

  • Shakespeare Never Did This, 1979

  • Dangling in the Tournefortia, 1981

  • Ham on Rye, 1982

  • Bring Me Your Love, 1983 ( Robert Crumb, illustrator.

  • Most Beautiful Woman in Town & Other Stories, 1983

  • Hot Water Music, 1983

  • There's No Business, 1984

  • War All the Time: Poems 1981-1984, 1984

  • You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense, 1986

  • The Movie: "Barfly", 1987

  • The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, 1946-1966, 1988

  • Tales of Ordinary Madness

  • Hollywood, 1989

  • Septuagenarian Stew: Stories & Poems, 1990

  • The Last Night of the Earth Poems, 1992

  • Run With the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader(edited by John Martin), 1993 (audio edition, read by Bukowski)

  • Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters 1960-1970, 1993

  • Pulp, 1994

  • Living On Luck: Letters Vol. 2 60's - 70's, 1995

  • Betting on the Muse: Poems & Stories

  • Bone Palace Ballet: New Poems

  • The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, 1998. Robert Crumb, illustrator.

  • What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire

  • Open All Night: New Poems, Oct. 2000.

  • Night Torn Mad With Footsteps, Sep. 2001.


  • Run With the Hunted(1 cassette, 60 minutes), 1993

  • Charles Bukowski Reads 'Do You Use a Notebook'(1 Cassette)

  • King of Poets: CD format, reading early poetry.

  • Down Terror Street & Agony Way: CD Format. 40 poems and stories.

  • Hostage: CD and cassette. Recorded in April 1980.

    (Amazon has a few seconds of this live performance available in Real Audio format).

  • 70 Minutes in Hell(1 CD, 69 minutes), recording of a 1969 performance.

  • Poems & Insults + 2(2 CD set), recording of a 1973 performance.

  • Solid Citizen Live in Hamburg(CD), 1978 recording includes 20 additional minutes of the 70 Minutes in Hell, a 1969 performance that could not fit on the original release.

Available on Video

  • Barfly: Starring Mickey O'Rourke as "Henry Chinaski (1987)

  • Tales of Ordinary Madness: Starring Ben Gazzara (1983)

  • Crazy Love: (based on Love Is a Dog From Hell)

  • Bring Me Your Love (2002)

  • Love Pig (short film, 14 min.) 1990

  • Lonely at the Top (short film, 15 min.) 1993

  • The Blanket (short film) 1994

  • Bukowski at Bellevue (short film, black & white) 1995

  • Poetry In Motion, VHS, 1982. Performances by Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Tom Waits, Ann Waldman, and many others.

Works About Bukowski

  • Against the American Dream: Essays On Charles Bukowskiby Russell Harrison, 1994

  • The Buk Book: Musings on Charles Bukowski

  • Bukowski: A Lifeby Neeli Cherkovski, 1997

  • Charles Bukowski: A Sure Betby Gerald Locklin, 1996

  • Spinning Off Bukowskiby Steve Richmond, 1996

  • Charles Bukowski: Laughing with the Godsinterviews done in 1980 by Fernando Pivano.

  • Drinking with Bukowski: Recollections of the Poet Laureate of Skid Row, Daniel Weizman, ed. Jan. 2001

  • Bukowski In Pictures, Dec. 2000

  • Beerspit Night and Cursing: The Correspondence of Charles Bukowski & Sheri Martinelli 1960-1967, Apr. 2001

 Author: Bonesy Jones

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