Search more than 3, biographies of contemporary and classic poets. Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany, on August 16, , the only child of an American soldier and a German mother. At the age of three, he came with his family to the United States and grew up in Los Angeles. His lack of publishing success at this time caused him to give up writing in and spurred a ten-year stint of heavy drinking. After he developed a bleeding ulcer, he decided to take up writing again. He worked a wide range of jobs to support his writing, including dishwasher, truck driver and loader, mail carrier, guard, gas station attendant, stock boy, warehouse worker, shipping clerk, post office clerk, parking lot attendant, Red Cross orderly, and elevator operator. He also worked in a dog biscuit factory, a slaughterhouse, a cake and cookie factory, and he hung posters in New York City subways. Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His writing often featured a depraved metropolitan environment, downtrodden members of American society, direct language, violence, and sexual imagery, and many of his works center around a roughly autobiographical figure named Henry Chinaski.
Prolific and influential 20th-century poet, short story writer, and novelist
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.
Meet Charles Bukowski
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. On Amazon. But before his death, from leukemia, in , they could and did, with a regularity that the poet found flattering, if tiresome. I decided not to kill myself. So in a way I save people.
From sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way by Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. National Poetry Month. Materials for Teachers Teach This Poem. Poems for Kids. Poetry for Teens. Lesson Plans.