English 1A (81038)
November 5, 2010
Research response-week Ten
Who is Charles “Hank” Bukowski?
His gravestone reads: "Don't Try". Charles “Hank” Bukowski explained the phrase in a 1963 letter to John William Corrington:
“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 Cadillac’s, 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. ” (wikipedia)
It has been said by some, that there is no Charles Bukowski. A rumor for many years declared that those grotesque poems signed with his name were actually written by a nasty old lady with hairy armpits; maybe the woman he lost his virginity to at age 23 - a woman he describes as a "300 pound whore" (Bukowski.net) In his early teens Bukowski had an epiphany when he was introduced to alcohol by his friend. "This alcohol is going to help me for a very long time," he later wrote of his chronic alcoholism; or, as he saw it, the genius of a method that helped him come to terms with his life. (Bukowski.net) Once asked what influence alcohol had on work, he responded; “Hmm, I don't think I have written a poem when I was completely sober. But I have written a few good ones or a few bad ones under the hammer of a black hangover when I didn't know whether another drink or a blade would be the best thing.” (Kaye)
By 1944, he had been taken into custody by FBI agents in Philadelphia for suspected draft evasion, spent 17 days in prison and finally was exempted from service in World War II after a physical and psychological evaluation determined him psychologically unfit for service. Then came a period of seven years during which he did little or no writing, but a great deal of living. As suddenly as he stopped, in1956 he sat down at the typewriter and began his systematic assault on "the littles," which he would continue for almost 40 years. By 1961, he had the first of his attempts at suicide, by gas, resulting in him waking up with a headache. Disappointed, he opens the windows. By 1963 he had three chapter…