Happy Birthday, Mr. Bukowski

The “Laureate of American Lowlife,”  Time magazine called him.  Charles Bukowski would have been 90 years old today.  He died of leukemia on March 9, 1994 at the age of 73.  Pretty remarkable for a man who was told in his 20s to give up drinking or die.  He never did give it up, but he did take it much more seriously.  In a 1987 LA Times article, he said,

The wine does most of my writing for me.

That wasn’t just bravado.  He meant it.

“Don’t Try” is engraved on his tombstone.  What he meant, I think, is the theme of his poem, “So You Want to be a Writer.”  If you’re a writer, it’s a must read.

Bukowski falls into one of three categories: Love him.  Hate him.  Don’t know him.  Which one are you?

Want more? Visit Bukowski.net.


6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Mr. Bukowski

  1. I’m one who loves him, though I must admit, I’d never heard of him until Anthony Venutolo, of Bukowski’s Basement, joined the #fridayflash group.
    I’d never read this poem and am so glad you shared it – I couldn’t agree with that philosophy more; this one’s going on my wall.
    It may seem an odd comparison, but Bukowski’s work reminds me much of Bruce Springsteen – they both write (wrote) from the depths of their soul, about the American people who most wouldn’t dare even think of. I appreciate that art very much.

    Thanks for a wonderful post Olivia – I’ve missed you!
    By the way, I must’ve forgotten to get over here and tell you, (and I apologize for that), there’s a Fabulous Flash Award waiting for you on my fiction site: http://theothersideofdeanna.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/love-love-love/

    1. Deanna, I miss you, too! I’ve been so involved with my manuscript, I haven’t done anything else! How’s your novel coming?

      Thanks for the award! I recently changed my blog theme, so I need to figure out how to display these lovely badges!

      1. Olivia, I must’ve overlooked the email with your comment – I’m just now seeing it. I’m sorry to say my novel has taken a back seat to the start of school for the boys, including football and band for one son and track for the other. I’m trying to keep up with writing something every day, but even my blog posts are scarce for the moment. I hope to pick the novel back up after football, (and hope to goodness I haven’t forgotten to much!) 🙂

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