“As a woman, how could I like Bukowski?”

I was talking with a lady friend of mine the other day about books. I started talking about how Buk is my favorite. She said she hated him, so I asked her why?

She said, “As a woman, how could I like Bukowski?”

I’d like to see the fine members of this community answer this question.

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Over 1000 posts
if she never read him, I mean really...
she wouldn't know what's to like or not to like.
His persona may be shocking but the writer is quite different.
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It's all about giving the man a shot. I have a friend who is the last person you'd think would like Bukowski, seeing as she is a pretty serious feminist, but she really enjoys reading him, and she even borrowed one of my books. One never knows.


Over 1000 posts
My sister didn't like Bukowski (as I pretty much expected). I had always told her how great a story "You Kissed Lilly" is, so she was curious and asked me to give her the book (Hot Water Music) to read. She read the book and failed to see what I find so fascinating in Bukowski's writing. Then again she is constantly surprised whenever she learns something new about her brother, so maybe that's not so surprising.

My wife had read Bukowski before we were married and also didn't have an extremely high opinion on him and his writing (to say the least).

I love them both nevertheless.

Long ago I had a girlfriend who liked Bukowski very much.
It takes all kinds to make the world, I guess.


Founding member
Over 500 posts
That woman probably never even really read Bukowski or isn't sensitive to other people's experiences in general. There's a lot of judgement in this world. She is exactly the sort of person Buk writes about a lot of the time. People just aren't good to each other. Something like that, right?

When I first picked up Ham on Rye, I was a bigger feminist then (or so I thought) than I am now. And not to say feminists equate to man-hating, but I had many reasons to hate them at that time. I was at least angry with them and mistakenly generalized many negative traits in people as male--a sort of "them against me" mentality. And as womanizing as Bukowski may seem to be in his stories, he gives some of us hope for mankind. I think more hope than any other writer, male or female. At least for me, his stories and poems had a profound empathetic effect on me not just about men, but all people. All people can be horrible. Many people can be beautiful.

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Over 1000 posts
I’ve learned so much about myself reading Bukowski and about human nature in general.
Above all, I have learned a lot about endurance and courage and to fight for myself.
His sense of humour is incomparable and his flair for recognizing bullshit a signpost.
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" [...] The most ridiculous charge is that I'm a sexist pig. If one will read the body of my work, they will see that where ridicule or attach falls, the male receives just as much as the female. There are shitty women just as there are shitty men; the fact being, that I have lived with women, and some of them have been worse than shitty. I reserve the right to state that fact if I find that it fits into the flow of some work I am into. [...]"

letter to Gerald Locklin, August 13, 1983. (Reach for the Sun, p. 49)
The reason some woman don't like Bukowski is the reason Bukowski wrote about woman's.
He saw there beauty in a way they couldn't possibly understand, it takes too much sincerity.
I just don't see how even if he was a sexist pig women are able to disregard his great talent to take mundane issues that have been numbing to us on the count of them being retold everywhere and by anyone and still having soul and character while he tells his experience with them. I also think that you shouldn't avoid something just because it doesn't fit your point of view perfectly. We should be able to be subjective and objective to writing at the same time and that what makes it so moving at times. Yes he's not the perfect example of a gentleman but honestly I've seen worse and I don't think it has any impact on how women can enjoy his work.


Over 100 posts
My wife loves Buk, i introduce her to his world of literature, and thats why we get along, of course among many more things, but hey sun goes out for everyone, some women might like him, some don't.