Charles Bukowski

About Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski is a German-born American poet who spent nearly his whole life living in Los Angeles, CA. Despite his work being published by the age of 24, Bukowski soon became disillusioned by the literary world and spent the next 10 years working odd jobs while drowning himself in the bottle. He later wrote about his first experience with alcohol, “"This [alcohol] is going to help me for a very long time.“ After overcoming a near deadly ulcer, he began writing poetry and short stories again, even writing for the short-lived Los Angeles underground paper Open City.

At the age of 49, after years of heavy drinking and debauchery, Bukowski struck a deal with Black Sparrow Press publishing to quit working and focus full time on his writing. The result was over 50 poetry collections, six novels, and two feature films based on his works, making him one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century.

Critics have called his work superficial, misogynistic, and pretentious while others have elevated his works and life to near mythic proportions. His collections most often deal with sex, alcoholism, depression, misanthropy, and violence, as well as many other dark themes. His style is defined by a simple, seemingly random, free-verse structure accompanied by a one-of-a-kind ironic humor. Bukowski was a notorious drunk and philanderer and a great deal of his work is semi-autobiographical. Despite being labeled a “Beat” poet, Bukowski refused to involve himself with the literary community and thus served as an archetype of rebellion to many. Though he enjoyed years of success outside the U.S., it was not until after he died that Bukowski’s mythos grew to what it is today.

Whether it be his writings on women and the struggles of the common man, or his rise from underground hero to world-wide fame, few poets alive or dead are as compatible with the sensibility of hip-hop as Charles Bukowski.

Charles Bukowski's Works

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