If you were to browse the poetry section of any large bookstore, you would probably find a book or two by each of those critically esteemed, prize-winning poets. Nowhere to be found in the canonizing Norton anthology, however, is the man who occupies the most shelf space of any American poet: Charles Bukowski. Bukowski himself, and his many, many readers, would not have it any other way. He is one of those writers whom each new reader discovers with a transgressive thrill. Fittingly, for a poet whose reputation was made in ephemeral underground journals, it is on the Internet that the Bukowski cult finds its most florid expression. On Amazon. But before his death, from leukemia, in , they could and did, with a regularity that the poet found flattering, if tiresome. I decided not to kill myself. So in a way I save people. Not that I want to save them: I have no desire to save anybody.
By This Poet
More by Charles Bukowski
At the core of all good writing and copywriting is the sentence. I picked up Bukowski for the very first time this year, beginning with arguably one of his most widely-read works, The Post Office. For the unfamiliar, reading Charles Bukowski is like going for a ride on a Honey Badger —— nothing is off-limits, nothing is too scary to write about and you never know what the hell he is going to do or say next. If you begin to feel light-headed, take a breather. Great art is horse shit, buy tacos. An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
When he was two years, eight months old, his parents put him on a ship and brought him to the United States, where they settled in Los Angeles, California, near the father's family. In he returned to Los Angeles, where he lived for the remainder of his life. While "on the road," Bukowski was published for the first time in Story magazine.
From sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way by Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. National Poetry Month. Materials for Teachers Teach This Poem.