If you were to browse the poetry section of any large bookstore, you would probably find a book or two by each of those critically esteemed, prize-winning poets. Nowhere to be found in the canonizing Norton anthology, however, is the man who occupies the most shelf space of any American poet: Charles Bukowski. Bukowski himself, and his many, many readers, would not have it any other way. He is one of those writers whom each new reader discovers with a transgressive thrill. Fittingly, for a poet whose reputation was made in ephemeral underground journals, it is on the Internet that the Bukowski cult finds its most florid expression.
By This Poet
At the core of all good writing and copywriting is the sentence. I picked up Bukowski for the very first time this year, beginning with arguably one of his most widely-read works, The Post Office. For the unfamiliar, reading Charles Bukowski is like going for a ride on a Honey Badger —— nothing is off-limits, nothing is too scary to write about and you never know what the hell he is going to do or say next. If you begin to feel light-headed, take a breather. Great art is horse shit, buy tacos. An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. Find what you love and let it kill you.
Meet Charles Bukowski
Sharp and moving reflections and ruminations on the artistry and craft of writing from one of our most iconoclastic, riveting, and celebrated masters. In this collection of correspondence—letters to publishers, editors, friends, and fellow writers—the writer shares his insights on the art of creation. On Writing reveals an artist brutally frank about the drudgery of work and canny and uncompromising about the absurdities of life—and of art. Sold by: Amazon. Bukowski moved it a little farther. In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, woman, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. Lawrence, Ham on Rye offers a crude, brutal, and savagely funny portrait of an outcast's coming-of-age during the desperate days of the Great Depression. One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job.
Charles Bukowski was a prolific underground writer who used his poetry and prose to depict the depravity of urban life and the downtrodden in American society. A cult hero, Bukowski relied on experience, emotion, and imagination in his work, using direct language and violent and sexual imagery. While some critics found his style offensive, others claimed that Bukowski satirized the machismo attitude through his routine use of sex, alcohol abuse, and violence. His father believed in firm discipline and often beat Bukowski for the smallest offenses, abuse Bukowski detailed in his autobiographical coming-of-age novel, Ham on Rye A slight child, Bukowski was also bullied by boys his own age, and was frequently rejected by girls because of his bad complexion. The next few years were spent writing and traveling and collecting numerous rejection slips. By Bukowski had decided to give up his writing aspirations, embarking on a ten-year binge that took him across the country.