Charles Bukowski [1920-1994] was one of the most famous of the American poets of his time. He was first published in his 20s., but gave up serious writing for the world of work and bars. He spent a lot of time roaming from job to job living in rooming 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 insanity and death, two prevalent themes in his writing.
As a youth Bukowski was shy and withdrawn allegedly due to constant beatings from his father, but it was not helped by his strong Germanic accent and the Germanic clothing he was forced to wear.
Bukowski claimed his early childhood enabled him to endure and understand undeserved pain. Although considered Dyslexic, he did reasonably well at school and was praised for his artistic talents. It was in his early teens that Bukowski “discovered” alcohol and became a chronic alcoholic in later years.
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 and moving to New York to begin his writing career.
Bukowski was arrested in 1944 by FBI agents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on suspicion of draft evasion. He was held for 17 days in Philadelphia’s Moyamensing Prison. Sixteen days later, he failed a psychological exam and was given a Service Classification of 4-F (unfit for military service).
In 1955 he was treated for a near-fatal bleeding ulcer. After leaving hospital he began to write more poetry. Also in 1955 he married Texas poet Barbara Frye, but they divorced in 1958. Following the divorce, Bukowski once again turned to alcohol.
Bukowski continued writing poetry and found an outlet in, Nomad, a small magazine published by Anthony Linick and Donald Factor. Nomad ’s inaugural issue 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.
By 1960, Bukowski was once again working for the post office in Los Angeles and did so for more than a decade. In 1962, Bukowski worked on a series of poems and stories lamenting the death of Jane Cooney Baker, his first “real love”.
In 1964 Bukowski had a daughter, Marina Louise Bukowski, by his live-in girlfriend Frances Smith, whom he referred to variously as a “white-haired hippie”, “shack-job”, and “old snaggle-tooth”.
The Outsider literary magazine featured some of Bukowski’s poetry. Under the Loujon Press imprint, they published Bukowski’s, It Catches My Heart in Its Hands, in 1963 and, Crucifix in a Deathhand, in 1965.
Bukowski wrote the column “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” for Los Angeles’ Open City, an underground newspaper starting in 1967. In 1969, the column was transferred to the Los Angeles Free Press when Open City closed down. It also appeared in the hippie underground paper NOLA Express in New Orleans.
Bukowski’s many and varied affairs and relationships provided material for his stories and poems. In 1976, Bukowski met Linda Lee Beighle, a devotee of Meher Baba. Two years later Bukowski moved from the East Hollywood area to the harborside community of San Pedro, the southernmost district of Los Angeles. Beighle followed him and they lived together intermittently for a couple of years. They were eventually married by, Manly Palmer Hall, a Canadian-born mystic referred to as “Sarah” in Bukowski’s novels Women and Hollywood.
Bukowski died of leukemia on March 9, 1994, in San Pedro, aged 73, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.
SOME OF HIS WORKS
Bukowski published extensively in small literary magazines and with small presses beginning in the early 1940s and continuing on through the early 1990s.
In 1978, he released as a double 12″ L.P stereo record titled “CHARLES BUKOWSKI
“There’s Gonna Be a God Damn Riot in Here” was released as a CD devoted to his last international performance .
1980 “Hostage” on audio CD and “The Last Straw” on DVD . 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 small Belgian film called Crazy Love came out in 1987 with script co-written by Bukowski himself.
Post Office (1971), ISBN 978-0061177576
Factotum (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 Bestial Wail (1960)
It Catches My Heart in Its Hands (1963)
Crucifix in a Deathhand (1965)
At Terror Street and Agony Way (1968)
Poems Written Before Jumping Out of an 8 story Window (1968)
A Bukowski Sampler (1969)
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969)
Fire Station (1970)
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck (1972), ISBN 978-0876851395
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame (1974)
Maybe Tomorrow (1977)
Love Is a Dog from Hell (1977), ISBN 978-0876853634
Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit (1979), ISBN 978-0876854389
Dangling in the Tournefortia (1981), ISBN 978-0876855263
War All the Time (book)|War All the Time (1984)
You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense (1986)
The Roominghouse Madrigals (1988), 978-0876857335
Septuagenarian Stew: Stories & Poems (1990)
People Poems (1991)
The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992), ISBN 978-0876858653
Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories (1996), ISBN 978-1574230024
Bone Palace Ballet (book)|Bone Palace Ballet (1998)
What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire. (1999)
Open All Night (book)|Open All Night (2000)
The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps (2001)
Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way (2003), ISBN 978-0060527358
The Flash of the Lightning Behind the Mountain (2004)
Slouching Toward Nirvana (2005)
Come on In! (2006)
The People Look Like Flowers at Last (2007)
The Pleasures of the Damned (2007), ISBN 978-0061228438
The Continual Condition (2009)
SHORT STORY CHAPBOOKS AND COLLECTIONS
Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts (1965)
All the ****s in the World and Mine (1966)
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972) ISBN 978-0-87286-061-2
South of No North (1973), ISBN 978-0876851906
Hot Water Music (1983)
Tales of Ordinary Madness (1983)
The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (1983)
Prying (with Jack Micheline and Catfish McDaris) (1997) ASIN: B000I92IS0
Portions from a Wine-stained Notebook: Short Stories and Essays (2008) ISBN 978-0-87286-492-4.
Absence of the Hero (2010)
More Notes of a Dirty Old Man (2011)
The Bell Tolls For No One (2015)
Shakespeare Never Did This (1979); expanded (1995)
The Bukowski/Purdy Letters (1983)
Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters (1993)
Living on Luck: Selected Letters, vol. 2 (1995)
The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998), ISBN 978-1574230598
Reach for the Sun: Selected Letters, vol. 3 (1999)
Beerspit Night and Cursing: The Correspondense of Charles Bukowski and Sheri Martinelli (2001)
Sunlight here I am: Interviews and encounters, 1963-1993 (2003)
FILM AND SCREENPLAYS
Bukowski at Bellevue 1970 – Poetry Reading
Bukowski 1973 – Californian KCET TV Documentary
Supervan 1977 – Feature Film (Not based on Bukowski’s work but Bukowski had cameo appearance as Wet T-shirt Contest Water Boy)
There’s Gonna Be a God Damn Riot in Here – Filmed: 1979; DVD Release: 2008 – Poetry Reading
The Last Straw – Filmed: 1980; DVD Release: 2008 – Poetry Reading
Tales of Ordinary Madness – Feature Film
Poetry In Motion 1982 – General Poetry Documentary
Barfly 1987 – Feature Film
Crazy Love 1987 – Feature Film (Belgium)
Bukowski: Born Into This 2002 – Biographical Documentary
Factotum 2005 – Feature Film
The Suicide 2006 – Short film
One Tough Mother 2010 Released on DVD – Poetry Reading
Mermaid of Venice 2011 – Short film;