When did you discover Bukowski?

I was reading a 1983 Paris Review interview with Raymond Carver and Carver referred to Bukowski as "a kind of hero to me." It seems Carver's first published poem came when he was around 20 (1958?ish) in a publication called Targets and Buk (can I call him Buk?) had a poem in the same issue (not sure which one.) When I read Carver's "You Don't Know What Love Is" (covered here in a thread by Angus) I was hooked when he quotes Bukowski as saying...
"But I want you to remember this
there's only one poet in this room tonight
only one poet in this town tonight
maybe only one real poet in this country tonight
and that's me."
This truly is Thunderdome, good to be here!
I was flicking through the channels and got to PBS (Public broadcasting station - USA) and Bukowski was reading "Law" (It's Authorized) in the Taylor Hackford Documentary. It just summed up the World and how things (don't) work.

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
I knew a drunk who passed out in my house during a party, then "woke up" around 11 pm and pissed all over my CD collection in front of everyone, which was in the corner of my room. I didn't understand he was sleep pissing at the time and I hit him hard enough to wake him up. To get to the point, he later turned me on to Barfly the movie over a bottle of JD. I bought Notes of a Dirty Old Man the next day and have been grateful ever since, even though I had to use a garden hose to clean up my CDs.
2 years into a horrible consumptive job and hopeless. I had dated a few women who broke a lot of the rules. I knew loneliness and heartbreak. I had no hope for the future. I found Bukowski and he made me feel just existing was pretty interesting. And it is.

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
When I was a teenager, one of my teachers (female) gave me Ham On Rye as a graduation present.
I'm not sure how she felt about his portrayal of women, but she loved that book.
Curious to know if you read anything else by Bukowski after reading Ham On Rye, as a teenager?
The very first one I read was Women, when I was 16. It was the Spanish translation from Anagrama. I liked it, but I wanted to read the true work.
My brother had an English copy of Notes of a Dirty Old Man, so I read that one. Then I went into Ham On Rye (the Spanish version my teacher gave me) on a vacation, on my 17-18 transition, right before college.
Little did I know that year was going to suck college-wise, since most of my friends dropped out and waited for the following year to do something else. I followed suit, we didn't know what we wanted in life at that time. So Ham On Rye really resonated with me.

I started getting more books as the years went by, physical or in ebook format. And I've heard some audiobooks narrated by Christian Baskous which are awesome to listen to. But yeah, I read those 3 during my teenage years.
The very first one I read was Women, when I was 16. It was the Spanish translation from Anagrama.

What the...! It was actually the same for me, I think. I just don't remember if it was 16 or 17, or somewhere in between. I was getting progressively interested in the Beat Generation novels, buying the english editions off Amazon because there are really no bookstores I know of where I live. So it was actually Amazon that based on my purchases kept recommending me those editions of Bukowski's novels that have like a neon sign on the cover. I thought "Why do you keep recommending me this?" and decided to read the book summaries. I thought they sounded like crazy detective novels hahahaha. I gave women a try and well, like they say, the rest is history. I ended up almost completely ditching the Beat Generation from that point on.

I think Ham on Rye was my second or third book and, like you mentioned in your post, it has had the most impact on me since I read it, specially right now. I still have a soft spot for Women though, and Factotum has been growing on me a lot (I just watched the movie last week, in fact).
And it's a much better movie than Barfly, as much as I love Mickey Rourke. I think Matt Dillon did a nice job.
I still think Willem Dafoe would be perfect to play him, particularly due to his face.

I think that Anagrama's versions are nice. Hell, that's how I got into Bukowski! But I always end up gravitating towards the originals, particularly the audiobooks read by Christian Baskous, since I can work and feel I'm not alone whenever I'm having a bad day with my bosses or whatever.
Yeah, I thought the same thing. I saw a post in another thread that described it perfectly: "Rourke was a better Chinaski, but Dillon was a better Bukowski."

I think that Anagrama's versions are nice.

They do have good translations. I borrowed a Bukowski book from a friend one time, and it turned out it was just South of No North with another name. Ended up reading a couple of the stories anyway because I wanted to see how they translated into spanish.
They are good, yes. But that variety of Spanish can get too thick. I'm reading a huge book about Elvis and it's taking me ages. Too many Southern expressions that sound too weird or goofy.
I discovered him online in the late 90's. I can't be sure. Maybe 1998/9. The first poem i READ was on a website called 'Writerswrite.com' and the poem was posted by another writer 'for jane' and it really struck me. Particularly the line:

'I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.'

I knew those tigers too and I understood that line almost on some intuitive visceral sense straight away. And the poem just captured my attention, the simplicity, yet the packed emotion on a simple phrase.

I then went to a book shop in Glasgow and bought my first collection 'What matters most is how well you walk through the fire' closely followed by 'the last night of the earth poems' and on and and on. I now have 14 of his books (novels, poems, short stories, photos...even the Sounes biography and one academic book of literary criticism on him.)

He remains one of the most intense, honest, curmudgeonly writers I ever read. I was obsessed. I still am. Yet, I read him much less these days and I have always been deeply avoidant of venerating him as a deity. I still come back to him again and again. A strange, continually intriguing writer....and of course this website dedicate to him has a place in my heart too.

Hello btw. I haven't been on here in years. :)
Hey Johannes,

Good to hear from you. I am well. I grew up. Just a little bit. Devastating. ;)

I still see a lot of people on here from way back then. Whatever happen to Dam Dusky? Or Dusty?

I have been dipping in and out of Bukowski again after coming back into the sight and being inspired or provoked to read him.

Hope you are well!


randomly in a rolling stone magazine several years ago around 2005 more or less, there was this article about his paris interview...and a cover photo showing this old man sitting taking a shot of whiskey or whatever he was drinking at the time, thought this old man was interesting to read and well, me in my 20s an ocassional alcoholic thought he looked REEEal cool giving this interview giving 0 fucks about it and well, the rest is history
I don't remember, oddly enough, given how much I like him... His work grew on me - it was a slow burn, like charcoal. I started with Burning in Water one summer at Ocean City on vacation... c. 2005. I loved it... but I didn't go out right away and buy more stuff. It took some time... and then before I knew it, I had a shelf load of books, a number of his lines memorized and, well, here I am...
The first collection of poetry I read was The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses that I borrowed from someone and then I started on his books...Ham on Rye was the first and it was so brilliant and heartbreaking. I read that book a lot and Factotum!
...I’m a music nut. Grew up in So Cal and one of my favorite bands, before they started crooning love songs, was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their song “Mellowship Slinky In B Major” has a Bukowski reference. I was already an art and literature buff, loved Zap Comix, Kerouac, Burroughs and the Beats, so I bought a copy of The Roominghouse Madrigals and the rest is history. This was early to mid 90’s.
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In high school I found Ham on Rye in my parents' home - don't remember why I picked it up! - and devoured it. Unfortunately, at the time I had a crazy idea about only reading one book by any author... Luckily I changed my mind and read Post Office about a year later. I liked Ham on Rye but Post Office blew me away and (after ending a busy period during my first year at university) sent me on to read Factotum, Tales of Ordinary Madness, and the Most Beautiful Woman in Town. Reading these three in close succession was one of the great reading experiences of my life, and I knew that I would end up reading everything by Bukowski. The end of this story was only one year ago, so luckily I still have quite a lot of Bukowski books to go!
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