So I’m not the only one, eh? A few weeks ago, I apparently committed to taking part in a Write Like Bukowski night here in Budapest. I don’t remember. But hey, it wouldn’t be the first time my memory has failed me in recent months. Anyway, last week I got around to borrowing a book written by the man whose style I am supposed to be stealing.
Monday, I got around to reading a few pages. And had my doubts. Yesterday, I checked out a poem or three and thought, well, mmmm. Last night, I wrote for two hours and wondered. When the reaction to my first reading was a tad tepid, I figured I needed someone who was actually familiar with his work and hadn’t just read some other pages from the same borrowed book. Someone who wouldn’t be at the event tonight.
So I asked those friends I thought were eclectic enough in their taste to know him and like him and be in a position to say yay or nay … Was I in the ballpark? Had I even come close? To my surprise, I’m not the only one who’s clueless about the man. I always thought that he spelled his name with an R – BuRkowski. Now, I know I don’t have to know everything about everyone who has ever been published, but this man is iconic – apparently. He’s an institution. And I couldn’t even spell his name right?*& FFS. Am mortified.
Born in Andernach, Germany, on August 16, 1920, Bukowski was the only child of an American soldier and a German mother. They moved to the States when he was 3 and he grew up in Los Angeles. He spent some time at LA City College before moving to New York City to become a writer.He didn’t quite cut it and when the publishers ignored him, he took to drinking… for 10 years. It took a bleeding ulcer for him to turn full circle. He published his first of 45 books of poetry and prose in 1959. He died in 1994. And tonight, if he’s watching, he’s in for a right old laugh… Check him out.