Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994), was a Los Angeles, California poet and novelist. Bukowski's writing was heavily influenced by the geography and atmosphere of his home city of Los Angeles. He is often mentioned as an influence by contemporary authors, and his style is frequently imitated. A prolific author, Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short-stories, and six novels, eventually having more than fifty books in print. http://smog.net/writers/bukowski/database/searchBOOKdate.php
Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany in 1920 as Heinrich Karl Bukowski. His mother Katharina Fett, a native German, met his father, a Polish American serviceman, after the end of World War I and the family moved to Los Angeles when he was two years old. During Bukowski's childhood, his father was often unemployed, and according to Bukowski, verbally and physically abusive (as detailed in his novel, Ham on Rye). After graduating from Los Angeles High School, Bukowski attended Los Angeles City College for two years, taking courses in art, journalism, and literature.
At 24, Bukowski's short-story "Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip" was published in Story Magazine. Two years later, another short-story, "20 Tanks From Kasseldown," was published in Portfolio III's broadside-collection. Bukowski grew disillusioned with the publication-process and quit writing for almost a decade. During part of this period he went on living in Los Angeles, but also spent some time roaming around the United States, working odd jobs and staying in inexpensive rooming-houses. In the early 1950s Bukowski took a job as a letter-carrier with the United States Postal Service in Los Angeles, but quit after two-and-one-half years. In 1955 he was hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer that was nearly fatal. When he left the hospital, he began to write poetry. In 1957, he married writer and poet Barbara Frye, but they divorced in 1959. Frye insisted that their separation had nothing to do with literature, though she often doubted his skill as a poet. Following the divorce, Bukowski resumed drinking and continued to write poetry.
He returned to the post office in Los Angeles, where he worked as a clerk for over a decade. In 1964, a daughter, Marina Louise Bukowski, was born to Bukowski and Frances Smith. Smith and Bukowski lived together but were never married. Bukowski lived in Tucson briefly where he befriended Jon and Gypsy Lou Webb. The Webbs published The Outsider literary magazine and featured some of Bukowski's poetry. Under the Loujon Press, they published Bukowski's It Catches my Heart In Its Hand (1963), A Crucifix in a Deathhand, in 1965. Jon Webb bankrolled his printing ventures with his Vegas winnings. It was at this point that Bukowski and Franz Douskey began their friendship, for want of a better word. They argued and often got into fights. Douskey was a friend of the Webbs, and was often a guest at their small E. Elm Street house that also served as a publishing venue. The Webbs, Bukowski and Douskey spent time together in New Orleans, where Gypsy Lou eventually returned after the passing of Jon Webb. In 1969, after being promised a monthly stipend of $100 "for life" from Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin, Bukowski quit his job at the post-office to make writing his full-time career. He was then 49 years old. As he explained in a letter at the time, "I have one of two choices -- stay in the post office and go crazy ... or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve." http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jayd/buktro.htm Less than one month after leaving the postal service, he finished his first novel, entitled Post Office (book). As a measure of respect for Martin's financial support and faith in a then relatively unknown writer, Bukowski published almost all of his subsequent work with Black Sparrow. In 1976, Bukowski met Linda Lee Beighle, a health-food-restaurant-owner. Two years later, the couple moved from the East Hollywood area, where Bukowski had lived for most of his life, to the harborside community of San Pedro, the southernmost district of the City of Los Angeles. Bukowski and Beighle were married in 1985. Linda Lee Beighle is referred to as "Sara" in Bukowski's novels Women (book) and Hollywood (book).
Bukowski died of leukemia on March 9th, 1994 in San Pedro, California, at the age of 73, shortly after completing the novel "Pulp", his last. His funeral rites were conducted by Buddhist monks. His gravestone reads: "Don't Try".
According to Linda Lee Bukowski, her husband's epitaph means something along the lines of "If you spend all your time trying, then all you're doing is trying. So don't try. Just do."
Bukowski published extensively in small literary magazines and with small presses beginning in the late 1950s and continuing on through the early 1990s, with the poems and stories being later republished by Black Sparrow Press (now HarperCollins/ECCO) as collected volumes of his work.
Bukowski acknowledged Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, Knut Hamsun, Ernest Hemingway, John Fante, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, D.H. Lawrence, and others as influences, and often spoke of Los Angeles as his favorite subject. In a 1974 interview he said, "You live in a town all your life, and you get to know every street-corner. You've got the layout of the whole land. You have a picture of where you are. ... Since I was raised in L.A., I've always had the geographical and spiritual feeling of being here. I've had time to learn this city. I can't see any other place than L.A." http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jayd/buktro.htm
One critic has described Bukowski's fiction as a "detailed depiction of a certain taboo male fantasy: the uninhibited bachelor, slobby, anti-social, and utterly free." http://bostonreview.net/BR19.3/fiction.html Since his death, in 1994, Bukowski has been the subject of a number of critical articles and books about both his life and writings. Despite the fact that he has become an icon & heroic role-model for many of the disaffected and those with problems stemming from alcoholism, his work has received relatively little attention from academic critics. ECCO continues to release new collections of his poetry, culled from the thousands of works published in small literary magazines. Bukowski: Born Into This, a film documenting the author's life, was released in 2004.
In June 2006, Bukowski's literary archive was donated by his widow, Linda Lee Bukowski, to the Huntington Library, in San Marino, CA.
Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail (1960) Longshot Pomes for Broke Players (1962) Run with the Hunted (1962) It Catches My Heart in Its Hand (1963) Grip the walls (1964) Cold Dogs in the Courtyard (1965) Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts (1965) Crucifix in a Deathhand (1965) All the Assholes in the World and Mine (1966) The Genius of the Crowd (1966) Night's work (1966) The Most Beautiful Woman In Town (1967) At Terror Street and Agony Way (1968) Poems Written Before Jumping out of an 8 Story Window (1968) A Bukowski Sampler (1969) Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969) If we take (1969) Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969) Another Academy (1970) Fire Station (1970) Post Office (book) (1971) ISBN 0-87685-087-5 Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972) Me and your sometimes love poems (1972) Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck (1972) South of No North (1973) Burning in Water Drowning in Flame: Selected Poems 1955-1973 (1974) 55 beds in the same direction (1974) Factotum (1975) The Last Poem & Tough Company (1976) Scarlet (1976) Art (1977) Love is a Dog from Hell (1977) Legs, Hips and Behind (1978) Women (book) (1978) You Kissed Lilly (1978) A Love Poem (1979) Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit (1979) Shakespeare Never Did This (1979) Dangling in the Tournefortia (1981) Ham on Rye (book) (1982) Horsemeat (1982) The Last Generation (1982) Bring Me Your Love (illustrated by Robert Crumb) (1983) ISBN 0-87685-606-7 The Bukowski/Purdy Letters (1983) Hot Water Music (book) (1983) Sparks (1983) Going Modern (1984) Horses Don't Bet on People and Neither Do I (1984) One For The Old Boy (1984) There's No Business (illustrated by Robert Crumb) (1984) War All the Time: Poems 1981-1984 (1984) Alone In A Time Of Armies (1985) The Day it Snowed in L.A. (1986) Gold In Your Eye (1986) Relentless As The Tarantula (1986) The Wedding (1986) You Get So Alone at Times It Just Makes Sense (1986) Luck (1987) The Movie "Barfly" (1987) Beauti-Ful (1988) The Movie Critics (1988) Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946-1966 (1988) Hollywood (book) (1989) If You Let Them Kill You They Will (1989) Red (1989) We Ain't Got No Money Honey (1989) Darkness & Ice (1990) Not Quite Bernadette (1990) Septuagenarian Stew: Stories and Poems (1990) This (1990) In The Morning And At Night (1991) In The Shadow Of The Rose (1991) People Poems (1991) Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992) Now (1992) Three Poems (1992) Between The Earthquake (1993) Run with the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader (1993) Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters 1960-1970 (1993) Those Marvelous Lunches (1993) Pulp (1994) Confession Of A Coward (1995) Heat Wave (1995) Living on Luck: Selected Letters 1960s-1970s, Volume 2 (1995) Shakespeare Never Did This (augmented edition) (1995) Betting on the Muse: Poems & Stories (1996) The Laughing Heart (1996) Bone Palace Ballet (1997) A New War (1997) The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998) To Lean Back Into It (1998) Reach for the Sun: Selected Letters 1978-1994, Volume 3 (1999) The Singer (1999) What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire (1999) Open All Night (2000) Popcorn In The Dark (2000) Beerspit Night and Cursing: The Correspondence of Charles Bukowski and Sheri Martinelli 1960-1967 (2001) The night torn mad with footsteps (2001) Pink Silks (2001) The Simple Truth (2002) Sifting Through The Madness for the Word, The Line, The Way: New Poems (2003) ISBN 0060568232 as Buddha smiles (2004) The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems (2004) ISBN 0-06-057701-0 Slouching Toward Nirvana (2005) Come On In!: New Poems (2006) The People Look Like Flowers At Last: New Poems (due out April 1st, 2007)
Criticism and Biographies
Hugh Fox - Charles Bukowski A Critical and Bibliographical Study - 1969 Jory Sherman - Bukowski: Friendship, Fame & Bestial Myth - 1981 Neeli Cherkowski - Bukowski - A Life - 1991 Russell Harrison - Against The American Dream - 1994 Amber O'Neil - Blowing My Hero - 1995 Gerald Locklin - Charles Bukowski: A Sure Bet - 1996 Steve Richmond - Spinning Off Bukowski - 1996 A.D. Winans - The Charles Bukowski/Second Coming Years - 1996 Gay Brewer - Charles Bukowski, Twayne's United States Authors Series - 1997 Jim Christy - The Buk Book - 1997 John Thomas - Bukowski In The Bathtub - 1997 Ann Menebroker - Surviving Bukowski - 1998 Carlos Polimeni - Bukowski For Beginners - 1998 Howard Sounes - Charles Bukowski. Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life - 1998 Jean-Francois Duval - Bukowski and The Beats - 2000 Gundolf S. Freyermuth - That's it. - 2000 Daniel Weizmann (editor) - Drinking with Bukowski - Recollections of the Poet Laureate of Skid Row - 2000 Aubrey Malone - the hunchback of east Hollywood - 2003 Jon Edgar Webb Jr. - Jon, Lou, Bukowski and Me - 2003 Ben Pleasants - Visceral Bukowski - 2004 Michael Gray Baughan - Charles Bukowski - 2004 Enrico Francheschini - I'm Bukowski, and then? - 2005 Barry Miles - Charles Bukowski - 2005 Tom Russell - Tough Company - 2005 . David Charlson - Charles Bukowski: Autobiographer, Gender Critic, Iconoclast - 2005 Linda King - Loving and Hating Charles Bukowski - 2006
Bukowski (1973) - an hour-long video documentary produced by Taylor Hackford for the educational television-station KCET in Los Angeles (won the Silver Reel Award at the San Francisco Film Festival). Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981) - Ben Gazzara plays Charles Serking, a character loosely based on Bukowski's autobiographical character Henry Chinaski. The slow and stiffly acted film never found an audience, and Bukowski - though friendly with Gazzara - panned the actor's performance. The film Barfly (film) (1987) starring Mickey Rourke and written by Bukowski himself, was based on his life, the main character being his alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. His novel Hollywood was based on the tribulations of making this film. The same year in which Barfly debuted (1987), the Belgian film Crazy Love, directed by Dominique Deruddere, was released. Based on the Bukowski story, The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, California, and portions of Ham on Rye, the film tells the story of a man's life by spotlighting three different nights spread over 20 years. Crazy Love was cited by Bukowski as his favorite film-adaptation of his work. In 1988, French Director Patrick Bouchitey directed the short movie Lune Froide (English title: Cold Moon). The story is an interpretation of The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, California. It was then edited in a longer version in 1991, with the same title, but this time including parts taken from Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness. A documentary entitled Bukowski: Born Into This was released in American theaters on July 9, 2004, generally to good reviews. Actors Harry Dean Stanton and Sean Penn as well as musicians Tom Waits and Bono, friends and fans of Bukowski, appear in the film. An adaptation of Bukowski's short-stories, " Social Dinner " was shot in Salonica, Greece 2004. It was directed by independent filmmaker Ektoras Agathocleous klein mein.
An adaptation of Bukowski's second novel, Factotum, was shot in Minnesota in 2004 and premiered 2005-04-12 at the Kosmorama film-festival in Trondheim, Norway. It was directed by Bent Hamer, and Matt Dillon plays the role of Henry Chinaski. The film opened in the U.S. on August 18, 2006 by IFC Films. Its soundtrack consists of 3 of Bukowski's poems adapted into song by the Norwegian singer/songwriter, Kristin Asbjørnsen. Asbjørnsen also composed the score to the film. An adaptation of Bukowski's illustrated short-story, Bring Me Your Love, was shot in New York City in 2006. It was directed by independent filmmaker Gui Teixeira.
Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/