When did you discover Bukowski?

d gray

tried to do his best but could not
Founding member
yes! and post it here first so we can...uh...proof read it for you...;))
 
I have a big journal full of that time, if you do want some of the details just message me (and I do live just outside DC but no politicians made their way to me, just other filthy rich lonely menfolk). I haven't put it into anything cohesive -minus the journal but who the hell wants to scan/type that?
 
I think I was 20 and was looking for something different. I picked up both Ask the Dust (with the Bukowski intro) and Factotum. I've always enjoyed the coincidence.
 
1993 - I went to work in Poland, in a mid-sized town where little English was spoken and I quickly ran through the few books I'd brought with me. A friend sent me a copy of Post Office with a note - "I think you'll like this." He was right. Never looked back.
 
I have holes in my memory - it's just that kind of memory, plus a little naughty living didn't help - but I think I first read Bukowski in about my mid-20s (late 1990s). I was aware of him before I got round to reading him, anyway, but I had some vague idea he'd be somehow "too real" for me. Strange prejudice. I already liked William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson and stuff and, more pertinent, it wasn't as if my life had been all a silvery dream before I read Bukowski. Anyway, I remember I waited until life had kicked me a few more times and then inexplicably thought, I'm ready. I would've liked him before that, of course. I read the first three novels in order, some poetry and story collections soon after and on from there. I have stuff to read still. I want to read other writers, naturally I get a lot from other writers, but Bukowski is my favourite. I don't have any rare editions or anything. I have shitty Virgin editions of the first three novels. All my Bukowski stuff is standard but some of it at least looks better than the Virgin editions, and the Black Sparrow ones are the best-looking of any books on my shelves.
 
The dear old BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) showed a documentary tribute to dear old Buk, a few months after he died. I had heard his name, so I watched the tribute. There were extracts from 'The Bukowski Tapes', etc...I've been hooked on Buk ever since. I especially like the clarity in his writing and speaking. I am presently enjoying the 'From the 'Run With The Hunted' Sessions' C.D. set. Marvellous.
 
In the late 80s I came across "Tales of Ordinary Madness" and also saw Barfly. After that I became a Bukphile.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
How am I not on this thread??? It must be some mistake. My little icon doesn't show up. Perhaps I never posted anything? But that seems impossible Batman!

I was about 14. I read Ham on Rye at the North Hollywood Public Library. I was hooked. Then I read Women. Then I went to Dutton's on Laurel Canyon Blvd and bought a copy of Ham on Rye so I could read it again, Women, Love is a Dog From Hell and South of No North.

The librarian actually recommended him. She called him a Beat Writer however, and he was in a special section with Kerouac and all of them. I read On the Road just before and wasn't impressed, so she suggested Bukowski.
 
Last night Nov 25/11 Black Friday.... on the couch watching.... Bukowski: Born Into This...I was coming down from some drug the hospital gave me for a colonoscopy. Sorry Chuck where ever you are..!.I will have to re-watch...I nodded off too many times and had to go to bed.....
 
24 years old and a girlfriend rented 'Born Into This' from our Netflix queue. The next day we went on a search & destroy mission, found Post Office & Women. Those were the first two I ever read. I've been collecting his books ever since. His poetry is best. I eat it up like cheese & crackers. One after another, just gorge yourself.
 
I was about 17 or 18 when my high school teacher put You Kissed Lily in a play with different short scenes. I saw the theater-part of my class work with that, and then I went and bought Hot Water Music.
 
The first time I discovered Hank, I was 13 or 14 years old. It was a Friday night and I sat in front of the TV. I fell accidentally on "Barfly" and I had really enjoyed the movie. It was my first "contact" with Hank's world.

Some months after, in a secondhand bookseller, I found a copy from "Love Is A Dog From Hell". When I read the name "Charles Bukowski" on the cover, my first reaction was : "Oh, isn't the guy who wrotes Barfly ? This book can be good".
I read the book without any apprehension, I knew absolutely nothing about Bukowski's life and reputation (nobody knew him around me at the time)
And my reaction was : "Damn', this guy is a true genius ! I want to read all of his books !" This first reading really changed something in me.
 
I first heard his name when I was in high school. I wasn't into literature back then (and concerning most writers, that still stands). The person described him and his writing as disgusting. Years later I was in the bookstore looking for something to read on a long flight I was taking. I found Women. After reading it I realized that I was disgusting too.
 
Checked out BURNING IN WATER, DROWNING IN FLAME from my college library....this was in 1990. I'd read about Bukowski in music magazines but that was my first chance to read him.
 
My first introduction to Buk was when I started reading stuff from the Beat generation and Bukowski's name always got thrown around, one day I was at the bookstore and saw Ham on Rye and remembered the name since I had no idea what I wanted I bought Ham on Rye. I came home read a bit and I didn't love me I just kinda forgot about it as time went on and never bothered to finish it.

Then I got into Tom Waits (Thus the avatar and name) In all his interviews he went on and on about Bukowski and how much he influenced him and his impact on his songwriter. Tom was and is my favourite musician ever so his word was practically gospel. At this point I had completely forgotten about Ham on Rye and that I even owned it. So I went to the bookstore. I still remember everything about that night. I was at the store and picked up a copy of Hemingway's short stories for school and Post Office.

I got home and cracked open the Hemingway book first, I really wanted to see what all the fuss was I read the first story loved it and wanted to keep going but there was Post Office. Curiously small with that sticker "Daryl's pick" on it. I reluctantly picked it up wanting to continue with Hemingway but if Tom loved Buk that much it had to be good right? Well I started reading my legs stretched over the couch with the rain pounding down on the window I was shocked at how good this was. I read the whole bloody book in one sitting and it is now my tradition when I get a new Bukowski to read it on that couch with my legs stretched out and let his words pour over me.

I've been on the hunt for more Buk to this day but being 15 and having relatively no money that search seems like it will be never-ending.
 
In 2002 I was taking a creative writing class at Los Angeles City College. I wasn't trying to be a writer. I just needed some credits for a teaching credential. In any case, I wrote a short "boy meets girl" story. Well, the girl turns out to be a cold hearted, nagging, up tight cunt. So, the story is basically about the struggle between these two love birds.

After I read my story out loud to the class, I received nothing but criticism from my class mates for being cruel to women. Then, the teacher says, "This is a creative writing class. Not all characters in stories are going to be heroic and noble. The man in this story is mean to women and that's okay. There are plenty of authors out there that write like this. For example, there is Charles Bukowski." I remember thinking " Who the fuck is Charles Bukowski?". Well, the rest is history.
 
I was at the University of Missouri St. Louis campus library, very hungover from a show the night before, and I thought I'd skip class and find a Burroughs book and dissolve into a couch somewhere. Looking through the "B's" I saw a title that read Erections, Ejaculations and General Tales of Ordinary Madness. Well , hell, sure. First story was "Kid Stardust in the Porrterhouse". I found a brother.
In 2002 I was taking a creative writing class at Los Angeles City College. I wasn't trying to be a writer. I just needed some credits for a teaching credential. In any case, I wrote a short "boy meets girl" story. Well, the girl turns out to be a cold hearted, nagging, up tight cunt. So, the story is basically about the struggle between these two love birds.

After I read my story out loud to the class, I received nothing but criticism from my class mates for being cruel to women. Then, the teacher says, "This is a creative writing class. Not all characters in stories are going to be heroic and noble. The man in this story is mean to women and that's okay. There are plenty of authors out there that write like this. For example, there is Charles Bukowski." I remember thinking " Who the fuck is Charles Bukowski?". Well, the rest is history.
It's goddamn crazy, this political correctness. I guess it's always been there, a bunch of bobbleheads agreeing over nothing.
 
I harbored a strange sort of resistance to him for a large part of my life because I've struggled with hard drug problems all my life and the Burroughs vs Bukowski dichotomy was like an odd "Beatles vs Stones" mental block that I had, always looking down on alcoholics because of this inherent elitism that I stupidly imagined in my head. As usual, things that a person once made fun of become a beautiful thing in their own way, and being of an addictive mindset as I grew older I practiced some damage control and shifted the vices into more practical spectrum...

...and at roughly the same time a friend that had just suffered through a divorce in which there were 3 children involved managed to convey to me that there was SO MUCH MORE to Bukowski than just a drunk sitting in front of a typewriter, and that the message of survival that Bukowski was transmitting was an important one. Bukowski's underlying message of survival got my friend through the disillusionment of a marriage + 3 kids falling apart so that made a huge impression in me.

At the same time I had just read some John Fante books and followed the internet trails that led out from that.

It was all sort of a convergence of factors and a willingness to reassess my previous feelings. I previously missed the light that shone through Bukowski's work, and that was more a statement about my mindset then a reflection on his true work. I'm very glad that the stars lined up for a second run at Bukowski because this time through has let me know that I was wrong, and life is short so yeah!
 
It's been a while since I've read Buk. Seemed like if I wanted to make a serious stab at any kind of writing career that I'd have to quit Hank for a while. I've been able to make a living off of it the last couple years, took me 10 years to even get a leg on the ladder (for those who are not afraid of writing for the sex market, buk was right, the porn markets pay ok, but try getting them to hand over a check!) and I felt comfortable enough to get back into some of the stuff I've been missing the last decade, or so. I found the City Lights "uncollected" collection, More Notes of a Dirty Old Man columns published last year. Its like I got to rediscover him all over again. And of course this place.
 
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