Charles Bukowski [1920-1994] was one of the most famous American poets of his time. It was first published at the age of 20, but gave up serious writing for the world of work and bars. He spent much of his time migrating from job to job, living in boarding houses from the East Coast to the West Coast before joining the United States Postal Service in Los Angeles. His life at that time bordered on madness and death, two predominant themes in his writing.
Charles Bukowski was born Heinrich Karl Bukowski on August 16, 1920 in Andernach, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, where his father served as a sergeant in the United States Army. Bukowski claims he is illegitimate, but records show his parents were married a year before he was born. After the war, his father tried to earn his living as a building contractor, which turned out to be difficult due to the conditions in Germany, so he returned to the United States in April 1923 and settled in Baltimore. The surname was Anglicized from Boo-kof-ski to Boo-cow-ski and Heinrich Karl eventually became Henry Charles. The family moved to South Central Los Angeles in 1930.
In his youth, Bukowski was shy and withdrawn, allegedly due to his father's constant beatings, but his heavy Germanic accent and the Germanic clothes he was forced to wear didn't help him.
Bukowski explained that his early childhood enabled him to endure and understand undeserved pain. Though thought to be dyslexic, he did reasonably well in school and was praised for his artistic talent. As a teenager, Bukowski "discovered" alcohol and years later became a chronic alcoholic.
After graduating from Los Angeles High School, Bukowski attended Los Angeles City College for two years, taking courses in art, journalism and literature before quitting his job and moving to New York to begin his writing career.
Bukowski was arrested by FBI agents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1944 on suspicion of conscientious objection. He was held at Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia for 17 days. Sixteen days later, he failed a psychological test and received a service rating of 4-F (unfit for military service).
Bukowski's short story "Aftermath of a Long Rejection Slip" was published in Story Magazine when he was 24 years old. Two years later, another short story, 20 Tanks from Kasseldown, was published in Portfolio III; However, Bukowski became disillusioned with the publishing process and stopped writing seriously for nearly a decade during his "drunk ten years". This period formed the basis for later semi-autobiographical chronicles, fictionalized versions of Bukowski's life through his alter ego Henry Chinaski.
During this time he roamed the United States, working sporadically and staying in cheap boarding houses. Then, in the early 1950's, he took a job with the United States Postal Service in Los Angeles for almost 3 years.
In 1955 he was treated for a nearly fatal bleeding ulcer. After leaving the hospital, he began to write more poetry. Also in 1955, he married Texas poet Barbara Frye, but they divorced in 1958. After the divorce, Bukowski returned to alcohol.
Bukowski continued to write poetry and found an outlet in Nomad, a small magazine edited by Anthony Linick and Donald Factor. The inaugural issue of Nomad in 1959 featured two of his poems. A year later, Nomad published one of Bukowski's best-known essays, Manifesto: A Call for Own Critics.
In 1960, Bukowski returned to work for the Los Angeles Post Office and did so for over a decade. In 1962, Bukowski was working on a series of poems and stories mourning the loss of Jane Cooney Baker, his first "true love".
In 1964, Bukowski had a daughter, Marina Louise Bukowski, with his girlfriend Frances Smith, whom he described as a "white-haired hippie," "shack job," and "crooked old tooth."
The literary magazine Outsider featured some of Bukowski's poems. Under the Loujon Press label, they released Bukowski's It Catches My Heart in Its Hands in 1963 and Crucifix in a Deathhand in 1965.
Bukowski wrote the "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" column for the Open City of Los Angeles, an underground newspaper founded in 1967. In 1969, the column was transferred to the Los Angeles Free Press when the Open City collapsed. He was also featured in the underground hippie newspaper NOLA Express in New Orleans.
In 1969, Bukowski accepted an offer from Black Sparrow Press edited by John Martin and devoted himself to writing full-time. He was then 49 years old. His first novel, Post Office, was completed less than a month after he left the service. Bukowski published almost all of his later major works with Black Sparrow Press, although he was an enthusiastic supporter of small independent publishers, he continued to submit poetry and short stories to numerous small publications throughout his career.
Bukowski's varied affairs and relationships provided material for his stories and poems. In 1976, Bukowski met Linda Lee Beighle, a follower of Meher Baba. Two years later, Bukowski moved from the East Hollywood area to the port community of San Pedro, the southernmost neighborhood of Los Angeles. Beighle followed and they lived together for a number of years. They eventually married Manly Palmer Hall, a Canadian-born mystic known as "Sarah" in Bukowski's novels Women and Hollywood.
Bukowski died of leukemia on March 9, 1994 in San Pedro at the age of 73, shortly after completing his last novel Pulp.
SOME OF HIS WORKS
Bukowski published extensively in small literary journals and with small publishers from the early 1940s to the early 1990s.
Bukowski also gave live readings of his works, beginning in 1962 on Los Angeles radio station KPFK and becoming more frequent in the 1970s.
In 1978 he released a 12 inch stereo double LP titled "CHARLES BUKOWSKI 'Hello. It's good to be back.'
"There's Gonna Be a God Damn Riot in Here" was released as a CD dedicated to their final international performance [October 1979 in Vancouver, British Columbia].
1980 "Hostage" on audio CD and "The Last Straw" on DVD. they are recordings of his last reading at the Sweetwater Club in Redondo Beach.
Barfly, released in 1987, is a semi-autobiographical film written by Bukowski.
A Belgian short film called Crazy Love was released in 1987 with a screenplay co-written by Bukowski himself.
Mail (1971), ISBN 978-0061177576
Completed (1975), ISBN 978-0061131271
Women (1978), ISBN 978-0876853917
Ham on Rye (1982), ISBN 978-0876855591
Hollywood (1989), ISBN 978-0876857656
Pulp (1994), ISBN 978-0876859261
Flower, Fist and Animal Moans (1960)
Take My Heart In Your Hands (1963)
Crucifix in Death's Hand (1965)
Em Terror Street und Agony Way (1968)
Poems Written Before Leaping Out of an Eight-Story Window (1968)
Die Bukowski-Show (1969)
The Days Run Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969)
Fire Department (1970)
Nightingale Wishes Me Luck (1972), ISBN 978-0876851395
Burn in Water, Drown in Flames (1974)
Maybe Tomorrow (1977)
Love is a Hellhound (1977), ISBN 978-0876853634
Play the Drunk Piano as a Percussion Instrument 'Til Your Fingers Start Bleeding A Little (1979), ISBN 978-0876854389
Hanging by Tournefortia (1981), ISBN 978-0876855263
war all the time (book) | War All the Time (1984)
Sometimes You're So Lonely It Makes Sense (1986)
The Renten Madrigals (1988), 978-0876857335
Septuagenarian Stew: Stories and Poems (1990)
Folk Poem (1991)
Poems from Earth's Last Night (1992), ISBN 978-0876858653
Betting for the Muse: Poems and Stories (1996), ISBN 978-1574230024
Bone Palace Ballet (livro) | Bone Palace Ballet (1998)
What matters most is how well you walk through fire. (1999)
Open All Night (Book) | Open All Night (2000)
The Night Crazy by Steps (2001)
Inquiry into Madness in Search of the Word, the Line, the Path (2003), ISBN 978-0060527358
The Lightning Behind the Mountain (2004)
Bow to Nirvana (2005)
Finally People Look Like Flowers (2007)
The Joys of the Damned (2007), ISBN 978-0061228438
The Permanent State (2009)
CHAPBOOKS AND COLLECTIONS OF STORIES
Confessions of a Man Crazy Enough to Live With Beasts (1965)
All the assholes in the world and mine (1966)
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
Erections, Ejaculations, Expositions, and General Stories of Madness Together (1972) ISBN 978-0-87286-061-2
South of No North (1973), ISBN 978-0876851906
Hot Water Music (1983)
Tales of Madness Together (1983)
The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (1983)
Snoop (with Jack Micheline and Catfish McDaris) (1997) ASIN: B000I92IS0
Portions of a Wine-Stained Notebook: Short Stories and Essays (2008) ISBN 978-0-87286-492-4.
Hero's Absence (2010)
More Notes from a Dirty Old Man (2011)
The Bell Rings for Nobody (2015)
Shakespeare Never Did (1979); extended (1995)
Bukowski / Purdy Ace Letters (1983)
Screams from the Balcony: Selected Lyrics (1993)
Living by Happiness: Selected Letters, Vol. 2 (1995)
The Captain Went to Lunch and the Sailors Boarded the Ship (1998), ISBN 978-1574230598
Reaching for the Sun: Selected Letters, Vol. 3 (1999)
Beerspit Night and Cursing: The Correspondence of Charles Bukowski and Sheri Martinelli (2001)
Sunlight Here I Am: Interviews and Encounters, 1963-1993 (2003)
cinema and screenplays
Bukowski in Bellevue 1970 - Poetry Reading
Bukowski 1973 - California KCET TV Documentary
Supervan 1977 - Feature Film (not based on Bukowski's work, but Bukowski had a cameo as Water Boy from the Wet T-Shirt Contest)
There's Gonna Be a Damn Riot Here - Filmed: 1979; DVD Release: 2008 - Poetry Reading
The Last Drop - Filmed: 1980; DVD Release: 2008 - Poetry Reading
Tales of Ordinary Madness – Largometraje
Poesia em Movimento 1982 - documentary about general poetry
Barfly 1987 - Feature Film
Crazy Love 1987 - Feature Film (Belgium)
Bukowski: Born Into This 2002 - Biographical Documentary
Made in 2005 – feature film
Suicide 2006 - short film
One Tough Mother released on DVD in 2010 - Poetry Reading
Mermaid of Venice 2011 – short film;