Henry Charles Bukowski
(August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994)
Born into this madhouse of drunken violent pretense, he delivered a poetry of passion and pain from the underground with unrelenting honesty. He came into the world as Heinrich Karl Bukowski in Andernach, Germany. His father was an American who met his mother between the wars. Heinrich and Katharina emigrated to the United States and settled in Los Angeles when Bukowski was ten years old. He attended Los Angeles High School and Los Angeles City College, before embarking on a visionquest as a vagrant, evading the draft through a psychological exemption, and eventually returning to Los Angeles. He submitted dozens of stories to magazines before "Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip" was published in Story magazine. He became disillusioned with the publishing world and gave up writing for a decade. When he started again after an episode with a near-fatal bleeding ulcer, it was expressed in poetry. He agreed to a proposal of marriage from small-town Texas poet Barbara Frye, with whom he had a daughter Marina. His first book of poetry Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail was published in 1960.
His column "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" for Los Angeles' Open City, an underground newspaper, was picked up by the Los Angeles Free Press and NOLA Express when Open City was shut down. Bukowski and Neeli Cherkovski produced their own magazine Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns for three years. John Martin at Black Sparrow Press convinced Bukowski to quit his job at the post office and dedicate himself to writing full time. In less than a month he finished his first novel Post Office.
Factotum and Women documented his exploits with various women who were intrigued with his notoriety including love affairs with Linda King and Pam"Cupcakes" Miller. He met Linda Lee Beighle in 1976 and moved to San Pedro where they lived together. They were married in 1985. Beighle appears as "Sarah" in Women and Hollywood. He exorcised his abusive childhood with Ham on Rye which was his most difficult work.
Bukowski died of leukemia at the age of seventy-three on March 9, 1994, in San Pedro, aged 73, shortly after completing his sixth novel, Pulp. He published twenty-one books of poetry during his lifetime and twelve more posthumous volumes have followed, eight collections of short stories with five more posthumously, eight non fiction books, and ten screenplays with five more films adapted from his work.
Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.
We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it - basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
I don't like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.
An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose.
Humanity, you never had it to begin with.
There will always be something to ruin our lives, it all depends on what or which finds us first. We are always ripe and ready to be taken.
'Bukowski: Born Into This'
'Poems and Insults'
Bukowski at Bellevue
starring Matt Dillon
Storie di ordinaria follia aka Tales of Ordinary Madness
Ben Gazzara as Bukowski
written by Bukowski
starring Mickey Rourke