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oh yes -- Charles Bukowski

Guest poem submitted by Aravind Inumpudi:
(Poem #901) oh yes
 there are worse things than
 being alone
 but it often takes decades
 to realize this
 and most often
 when you do
 it's too late
 and there's nothing worse
 too late.
-- Charles Bukowski
For me, Bukowski's poetry came from the "other side of TV" - daring to
explore in mundane terms, events and lives which are otherwise conveniently
overlooked or sugar-coated with enough abstraction. This poem with its
delicious recursive aspect seems to emulate to perfection this very aspect
of Bukowski's work.



Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany on August 16, 1920 and came
with his family to the United States when he was three years old. He grew up
in poverty in Los Angeles, drifted extensively, and for much of his life
made his home in San Pedro. Bukowski had been a writer since childhood,
published his first story at age twenty four, and began publishing poetry
when he was thirty-five.

Bukowski is generally considered to be an honorary "beat writer", although
he was never actually associated with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and the
other bona fide beats. His style, which exhibits a strong sense of immediacy
and a refusal to embrace standard formal structure, has earned him a place
in the hearts of beat generation readers, and the contributers to the
alt.books.beatgeneration newsgroup. He was a prolific (it isn't known how
much he had written; much of it was sent off to publishers long-hand and
never seen again), free-formed, humorous, and painfully honest writer. His
topics included hang-overs, the shit stains on his underwear, classical
music, horse-racing and whores. He was at home with the people of the
streets, the skid row bums, the hustlers, the transient life style. His
language is the poetry of the streets viewed from the honesty of a

Most of Bukowski's work is based on his own experience. In 'Ham On Rye' we
follow his autobiographical character, Henry Chinaski through his childhood
and early years. In 'Factotum' we again find Henry Chinaski, now in his most
vinous days, wandering from city to city, from job to job, from woman to
woman. Bukowski became widely known after the release of the movie 'Barfly'
(produced by Francis Ford Coppola), based on his life around the time
Factotum takes place. Bukowski wrote the screenplay and was somewhat
involved in the production of this film which featured Mickey O'Rourke in
the role of Chinaski/Bukowski.

Prior to the release of Barfly, Bukowski was best known by the public at
large for his novel Post Office. Although Barfly brought Hank to the masses
in a big way, Bukowski is primarily known in literary circles for his
poetry. He has stated that he does not consider himself a poet, but simply a
writer. "To say I'm a poet puts me in the company of versifiers,
neontasters, fools, clods, and scoundrels masquerading as wise men." He has
also made clear that he does not like "form" in poetry, referring to it as
"a paycheck for learning to turn the same screw that has held things

Charles Bukowski died on March 9, 1994 in his adopted hometown of San Pedro,

        -- Michael McCullough,

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