Charles Bukoswki: Cult Hero

“I am a dangerous man when turned loose with a typewriter,” said Charles Bukowski, the author of more than 40 books of poetry, prose, poems, and novels.

Bukowski was what could be qualified as cult Hero. Basically described by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “ A writer, musician, artist, or other public figure who is greatly admired by a relatively small audience or is influential despite limited commercial success.” His style of writing is blunt, unequivocal, and powerful. His poems are often not as abstract in obvious ways as authors like Robert Frost.

Bukowski was the kind of author who would discuss the harsh realities of the world (or at least the world as he saw it) and didn’t care to embellish with unnecessary “fluff” but rather he was straight forward in his intentions. He was raw, honest, and candid. Especially when it came to his own life and experiences, “For 7 or 8 years I wrote very, very little. I was quite a drunk. I ended up in the charity ward of the hospital with holes in my belly, heaving up blood like a waterfall. . . I was spitting my stomach out through my mouth and ass.” Bukowski didn’t hide his alcoholism and it was something that many

Do we need to really need to admire Bukowski as a man in order to admire his poetry? Sure he was a drunk, a misogynist, and his language isn’t always mild. Should that stop readers and critics from embracing his work? “Bukowski’s voice is one of the most original and important in modern American literature,” says Sara (Sue) Hodson, the Huntington’s curator of literary manuscripts. Bukowski wrote with no apologies, no filter. He allowed his voice to illiterate any situation or grotesque imagery he thought should be done.

As an English major I have touched on Bukowski’s writing from time-to-time, but not s deeply as I would like. Most professors say his writing is too explicit and students agree. I, on the other hand was intrigued by his writing that many described as “dirty realism.”

I wanted to read more of his language. I had liked some poetry, but I found a lot of the writers were too heavy in their language. As if they were trying to give deep meaning, but it came across as trite and pretentious. Bukowski, even when he was being vulgar, was real. His genuine attitude and language were what drew me to him. Some days when I am suffering writer’s block or life blocks I take the time to sit and read some of his works, or glance at quotes.