November 1, 2012
“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)
Born Heinrich Carl Bukowski in Germany after the First World War, Bukowski’s American father moved the family to California in 1923. He studied writing and literature briefly at Los Angeles City College before moving to New York. Arrested for draft evasion in 1944, he failed a psychological evaluation and was listed 4F. His writing career did not flower until the mid-fifties, when he began to publish his hundreds of poems and short stories, and his six novels, of which Ham on Rye is the best known. He wrote the script for the semi-autobiographical film “Barfly” which detailed his nearly life-long alcoholism and depression and their effect on his writing. Bukowski wasinfamous for his confrontational literary readings, which bordered on performance art, described by some as uninhibited, but by others as drunken and boorish.