Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp (1994).
This wonderful collection of letters chronicles Bukowski's life from his first days as a poet having meager success through his resignation from his postal job to pursue writing as his sole source of income. In between, the letters reveal in raw and uncensored fashion how a hard-drinking, hard-living man followed his own vision of poetic truth and artistic integrity. Earlier letters are written to the few editors, poets and admirers who had become aware of Bukowski's wild poetry. In them, we see the 40-year-old author struggling to make ends meet through an alcoholic stupor of which he is neither ashamed nor apologetic. We read of his thrill as his first book appears-- directly in the aftermath of the assassination of JFK. Even as his fame grows and his friends are convinced that he has made it, Bukowski remains in ill health and financial insecurity. The honesty, humor and lack of pretension in these letters make them a must for Bukowski fans and an engaging read for anyone interested in literary lives. Reproductions of letters and an afterword by Cooney round out the volume nicely.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 04, 2002
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