What age did you first encounter Buk? (1 Viewer)

A college roommate made me read Post Office when I was 20 or so, and I was an immediate obsessive. Went through all the novels first before getting into the poetry, and now at 34 I can finally say I have read all that I could get my hands on. Can't wait for the new one in February.
Didn't find out about him and started to read his stuff until I was my late 40's. Got introduced to him through Youtube when trolling for HS Thompson videos. A recovering alcoholic of 20+ years that is both amused and fascinated by his short stories and novels.
30 YRS old, was flicking thru channels, saw the Taylor Hackford (1973) documentary on Public Broadcasting Station. I was hooked. It changed everything, (much for good, some for bad, some remains to be seen).
Half a year ago, at the age of 18. I'm really glad I found out about him now, because many older people I've talked to about Bukowski said that they enjoyed him a lot more in their teenage years, and that reading it now, as they're older, is more of a "nostalgic" experience, so I am really happy that I did not miss out on that.


“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
as a teen when Barfly came out... fascinated by the extreme personality and the massive amount of books I'd see on the shelves in the bookstore. Mind you I didn't start obsessively buying up all his stuff until later but oh well.

Digney in Burnaby

donkeys live a long time
This would make me 18. Creem/Lester Bangs was a big influence on me back then.

bangs on buk creem oct 74.jpg
My brother and I first started reading the poems and watching pieces of the Bukowski Tapes online when we were teenagers. I didn't get around to the novels until about 22. For some reason I had this chip on my shoulder that I was supposed to be reading people like Kafka and Flaubert. Thank god I don't anymore.
For some reason I had this chip on my shoulder that I was supposed to be reading people like Kafka and Flaubert. Thank god I don't anymore.

ahem! I think you'll find me worth reading. Check out the short stories.

I encountered buk in 94/95 just when memorial issues of mags were coming out. I was just finishing college. Two friends of mine had books and I think the first book I read was sept. Stew. That got me into reading the poems and prose. The first book I bought was run with the hunted, which is a good compilation and worth reading if you are a beginner.
I do like Kafka and Flaubert. When I first read a lot of the classics, I did it more because I felt it was mandatory, which isn't always fun. Now I do whatever the hell I want with my free time, though I'm glad I got a bigger picture of the literary scene.

EDIT: When I think about it, a better juxtaposition might have been Kafka and a writer like Henry James, the latter whom I can hardly stand save a few short stories, but read simply because he is along with Kafka a member of the untouchable canon. I would have saved myself a lot of boring reading had I just stuck with what impressed me most. Still, I don't think it was wasted time as I learned a lot even from the writers who utterly bored me.
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“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Sean, with you entirely. Henry James is really hard work. I felt like failing to get through his books was a failing on my part.
Have some James lying around. maybe I'll start with one of the shorter books. I know someone who's a bit of an expert on James and man I swear she must actually enjoy reading things that are difficult or a challenge to get thru. I'm not afraid of a challenge but the notion that the harder is, the better it is just is not true. And the converse, the easier it is to read the crappier it is? No. Not true, of course not.
...the notion that the harder is, the better it is...

For some reason I had thought that was how it was supposed to be when I was a teenager, as if good writing is homework to figure out.

I recommend James' short stories, but personally, his style gets on my nerves in the longer works. Favorites are "The Aspern Papers" and "The Turn of the Screw." I would write on his style some more but I don't want to get too far off topic here.

Sean, with you entirely. Henry James is really hard work. I felt like failing to get through his books was a failing on my part.

Ditto on the sense of failing. There were plenty of other writers from the canon whom I felt that way about. I do think to be a capable critic one should read widely, even of writers one fails to understand, but maybe that's not as important for artists or readers.

You can read Kafka, Flaubert and Bukowski.

It's allowed. I think.

I wish someone had told me this! Hopefully the lurkers are getting something out of this. It's never too late to learn.
I was given a copy of the Norton Anthology of Poetry (3rd Ed.) for my 21st birthday and the 2 poems that the editors selected of his work wasn't enough to hook me. Another writer introduced me to more of his writing 5 years later, through loaning me a copy of the Penguin Modern Poets #13 and a VHS copy of 'Tales of Ordinary Madness' and I then began to grow a little more interested in him. This then intensified when, a little later on that year, I went to a booksale held at my local university and picked up a copy of 'You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense'. A guy near to me looked at the price of the book (2 dollars) and said to me that I'd just picked up a bargain. I loved the picture of him on the front cover and turned to a page where he wrote about being on a freeway and getting pissed off with all these other idiotic drivers all around him. I bought the book and have been hooked (on and off) ever since.
I was about twenty, too screwed up to get most jobs or to keep the few that I could get, and living on the streets as a result. Wrote poetry to pass the time. A friend thought that it seemed an obvious fit, and he was right for once.
About 5 years ago. A coworker at a previous job noticed that I read a lot on my lunch break which got us talking. At some point in talking to each other he mentioned Bukowski, Post Office in particular. So I checked out of the library and read it. I immediately read all his novels the library had, which at the time was Factotum. I have since read it as well. I am not much of a fan or poetry, but have, at different times read at least two of his poem books, probably in their entirety. The Shoelace is easily one of my favorites. Because it is so true. My avatar speaks for my favorite novel.

Edit: Opps, forgot to answer the OP's question. I was 34.
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