Charles Bukowski died of leukemia on this day in 1994. He was 73 years old.
Bukowski often wrote about Los Angeles and documented many a drunken night in the form of languid and raw poetry. One critic described Bukowski’s fiction as “a detailed depiction of a certain taboo male fantasy: the uninhibited bachelor, slobby, anti-social and utterly free”.
Some of our favorite Bukowski collections of poetry include “The Only Thing That Matters is How Well You Walk Through the Fire” and “Slouching Towards Nirvana”. Bukowski also wrote several novels, including “Factotum” and “Barfly” which were both made into films.
What we love most about Bukowski though is his sense of humor. Though sometimes dark, crass or self deprecating, his observations are honest. Even in death, he continues to warn, inspire and discourage those who aspire to follow in his drunken footsteps…
His headstone reads:
In a 1963 letter to John William Corrington, Bukowski explained this statement:
Somebody at one of these places […] asked me: “What do you do? How do you write, create?” You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.
We encourage our readers to do just that. Today… “don’t try”.
Mr. Bukowski- your unique voice and sour wit is sorely missed.
Write on in peace!
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