When he started working at the Post Office, hist craft started exploding. He found his voice and 'became' the Bukowski we know during the 60s. Then he was able to quit the job and his productivity, which had always been astounding, doubled in the 70s. It was also the period he was the most loose and wild in his writing, including the letters.
That article said 1981 was "the height of his literary success," but I think the writer just needed to say something about 1981 and he didn't know anything so he threw that in. In 1987 Barfly, Crazy Love, and The Charles Bukowski Tapes all came out. I don't think he was ever any more high profile than he was at that time. Does being high profile make you a success? Movies aren't "literary success," but most people probably think having your book turned into a movie is the height of wonderfulness.
The height of his literary success, financially, was probably, as he predicted, after he died. You now, whatever literary success is. Bukowski probably felt literary success when he pulled the first copies of Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail out of the box in 1960.
"Success" is all about what the rest of the world sees in you anyway, not what you see in yourself.
Height of literary success is a strange and abstract term, the title of the thread is just an imitation of the mentioned article. But I still don‘t know what these words are supposed to mean, maybe something monetarily. Therefore the career/craft question. Career, as I understand it, doesn‘t have to be connected with success or making money.
Anyway, thanks for your answers so far.
When he was sick in the late 80s, his writing was failing as bad as his health. "The Last Night of the Earth Poems" was published a few years later and was one of his best. The caveat being, some of those poems were written much earlier.