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[ Charles Bukowski, 1920 - 1994 ]

Biographical Notes For Charles Bukowski

  Charles Bukowski was born on 16 August 1920 in Andernach, Germany. His father was an American soldier. His mother was German.

  He immigrates with family to Los Angeles when 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 Office in 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 on 9 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 person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me... or that any number of 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.

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Works About Bukowski

 Author: Bonesy Jones

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