New to the forum. Been a fan of Bukowski since I first read "Genius of the Crowd" in high school and haven't looked back since. Even though I came from a very different economic background than ol' Hank, there was something in his writing that spoke to my own feelings on the human condition. I tried introducing his poetry to friends but always got responses along the lines of "he just sounds like a grumpy asshole" or "it's too simple and straightforward". It was as if the tenderness, sensitivity, and sense of existential sorrow I found in his work was either lost on everyone around me or I was too stupid to realize the his writings were just the misanthropic musings of a tired drunkard. Then one day in college I remember trying to hawk Bukowski's poetry to two girls, nice people but totally average both in personality, intellect, and looks. As I was speaking one of the most beautiful girls I had ever met at the school came up to us and said, "Are you talking about Bukowski? He's my favorite 'dirty old man'." She then expressed her reasons for loving Bukowski, mirroring to perfection my own: that tenderness, almost femininity, that lies beneath the "tough guy" image that's been cultivated around the man. Never since have I doubted my own readings of Bukowski and at 22 years old I continually find myself returning to his work as an almost therapeutic, oft-times revelatory experience in my moments of despair and confusion.