Henry Charles Bukowski jr.
"Los Angeles writer Charles Bukowski was one of the most original voices
in 20th-century American literature. In his poetry and prose,
Bukowski used experience, emotion, and imagination, along with violent
and sexual imagery, to capture life at its most raw and elemental.
With unflinching honesty, he spoke for the social outcasts—the drunks,
prostitutes, addicts, lay-abouts, and petty criminals—as well as those who
are simply worn down by life."
(official statement by
The Huntington Library)
Born in Andernach, Germany and raised in the Los Angeles of the depression-years, Charles Bukowski had a hard start into life. His father beat him and in school he was an outsider from the beginning. He soon learned what can help him get through: Alcohol and literature. A little later, he added classical music to these and then, there came the race-track.
Bukowski developed a unique writing style, that paralleled his way of living: Direct, rough, without ornament or compromise or lie.
He is "the greatest poet" as Whitman presented him in his 1855 preface and was not willing to tame his style in order to get published easier. So it took him decades of unsatisfactory employments to pay the rent, till he was finally able to quit his last job (at the Post Office) at age 49 to henceforth make a living out of his writing alone.
The years to come brought growing success and Bukowski's prolific output constantly added to his literary importance. Six novels, hundreds of short-stories and thousands of poems build the base of his work, lots of which still isn't published yet.
There's more to come . . .
"What matters most is how Well you walk through the fire."