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Discover the works of Charles Bukowski

Vanessa de Largie | Topic Media | May 7, 2012

Who is Charles Bukowski?

If you have to ask yourself that question, go to the closest wall you can find and bang your head against it three times. You should be ashamed of yourself.

How’s your head?

All jokes aside. If you are yet to discover the magic of Buk, well then you are in for a real journey, a real treat. In my opinion Bukowski is the greatest writer that has ever lived.

Big call? Yeah, it’s a pretty big statement to make but I back myself all the way.

What do we look for as readers in a writer?

I don’t pretend to know what other readers look for but as an avid reader myself, I look for writers who are brave, who are raw and who are unafraid of the market or critics.

I discovered Buk in Western Australia, when I was 19 years old. I had accompanied my ‘then’ boyfriend on a surfing trip to Margaret River.

While he surfed, I spent my days lying about on the beach and in his panel van reading his books, one of them was the novel ‘Women’ by Bukowski.

A few years passed and I got interested in poetry (writing it and reading it.) It was then, that I started to delve deeper into my Bukowski education. Reading as much of his poetry and other writings that I could muster.

I see it as part of my journey to convert people to Bukowski-ism – joke. I have been fairly successful but a few dismiss him as just a drunk, wow, pretty prolific drunk, I should drink more.

Anyway, I have collated a list to begin you on your Bukowski journey.

Must See Films About Buk

Born Into This (doco)

Must Read Buk Novels

Post Office
Ham On Rye (I have heard that actor/director James Franco is writing a screenplay adaption of this book – I wait with baited breath.)

Must, Must, Must Have Buk Poetry Collections

What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through The Fire
The Genius Of The Crowd
Love Is A Dog From Hell

I would suggest you start off with the films, to get a feel for Bukowski. You will either love him or hate him, he’s one of those people.

I would move on to the poetry collections, the ones I mentioned are my favourite but all his anthologies are superb.

Finish off with his novels. There are umpteen to choose from, all autobiographical fiction, gritty and volatile stuff.