About that author- Charles Bukowski
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
This very famous quote by Charles Bukowski gives us an idea about the kind of individual he was. He was the kind of poet who wrote whatever was in his heart, whenever it was. He always spoke about a part of himself that exists inside us all but we choose to silence it. Bukowski, afraid of that part, still chooses to give it a voice through his poems.
Charles Bukowski was a German-American poet, writer known for the violent imagery he tries to depict with his writing. Bukowski left his home in Los Angeles to move to New York to pursue writing. In New York he took up a lot of odd jobs so that he could continue to write, but he did not see much success during that period of his life.
Charles Bukowski published his first story, titled “Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip” in 1944, at the age of 24 in a magazine. He published another story titled “20 Tanks from Kasseldown” about 2 years later in 1946, but unfortunately he failed to make a breakthrough and was left disappointed. Bukowski wrote a lot, was published too little and received even less recognition. This led him to quit writing or rather take a break from writing in the year 1946.
Now, one could say that Bukowski did not do anything during his hiatus but I disagree. During these years Bukowski gathered material for his future work. He moved back to Los Angeles and lived the life of a hippie and wandered around the country staying in cheap places. He would travel. drink alcohol and observe. The observations are talked about in his later published books.
Bukowski talked about the harsh and crude reality of existence and is known for his raw and bare writing.
After a hiatus of almost a decade, Bukowski got back to writing. In the mid 1950s he was hospitalized for a fatal bleeding ulcer. After being released from the hospital he started to write poetry, at the age of 35. Charles Bukowski, in 1957 married Barbara Frye, who later died in India. This incident resulted in Bukowski going back to alcohol and writing poetry.
By this time, Bukowski’s poems were published in literary magazines. But still he was unable to see the success he very much deserved. In the 1960s, he published a lot of poems and short stories and only tasted success in his 50s.
Bukowski spent more than half of his life writing and not seeing any considerable amount of success. He did not give up, in fact there was no point in him giving up because he was not one of the writers who wrote to achieve success, he wrote because he was extraordinarily in love with his art. He did not try to be a writer, in fact he didn’t try to be anything but true to himself and his work. He did not force himself to write, evident by his decade long hiatus. He thought that there had been too many writers in the past who forced themselves to try, whereas in his opinion if you truly love an art form you wouldn’t have to try, it would come to the artist. In his opinion if you had to try to be or do something you shouldn’t try at all. Even his grave has the words “don’t try” engraved on it.
He died in 1994, due to leukemia after living an adventurous and fulfiled life.