Charles Bukowski’s birthday

Taken from: Writers Almanac

Today is Charles Bukowski’s birthday.

about competition
by Charles Bukowski the higher you climb
the greater the pressure.

those who manage to
that the distance
between the
top and the

and those who
this secret:
there isn’t
“about competition” by Charles Bukowski from Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way. © Ecco, 2004. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

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.”



About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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4 Responses to Charles Bukowski’s birthday

  1. ShimonZ says:

    I love that quote of his at the end.

    • A Shimon,
      Yes. Me too. He’s so damn good. And to his advantage, Los Angles is so damn nuts.
      Packed full of every character there is to write about. And the jobs he had.
      I have had jobs like that, the very bottom of the pay scale – Burger King might be worse. I had one job unloading a huge truck of grocerys.
      Guess weve all had jobs like that, most of us have, I think. Buks takes these stories and poems and plays with them. The experience is real, but played with, m Exageratdion and imagination. I’ve published 3 short poems about terrible temps job I had when I was 40.

  2. Aw, “the secret” to success.

    • I love Bukowski. Think I’ve read all of his stuff, fiction and poetry.
      I hope I’ve misses something and will stumble upon it the future. God I wish
      I could hook readers as fast as he does. Five or six lines, he’s got you.
      And it’s real. You know that shit has happened. I have been through things as crazy as he writes.

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