Taken from: Writers Almanac
Today is Charles Bukowski’s birthday.
by Charles Bukowski the higher you climb
the greater the pressure.
those who manage to
and those who
|Time magazine called him “the laureate of American lowlife”: Born Heinrich Karl Bukowski in Andernach, Germany (1920). His father was an American soldier, and his mother was German. They moved back to the States when the boy was two years old, and he grew up in Los Angeles, a scrawny kid who was frequently bullied. He had his first drink at 13: “It was magic,” he later wrote. “Why hadn’t someone told me?”
He published his first short story when he was 24, but got discouraged by all the rejection slips that followed, and didn’t write again until he was 35. He published his first book of poetry, called Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail, in 1959. He once said that his work was 93 percent autobiographical; it featured his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, a writer who works at a variety of unskilled jobs, drinks heavily, and takes up with loose women.
Bukowski said, “Bad luck for the young poet would be a rich father, an early marriage, an early success or the ability to do anything well.”