The great French playwright and novelist, Jean Genet, called Charles Bukowski "the best poet in America", high praise indeed from an artist who rarely commented on another writer's work and who is considered the undisputed archetypical "underground" writer of the 20th century.
Charles Bukowski is certainly America's best-known existential writer and many would claim its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany of an American soldier father and a German mother in 1920, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there 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).
During his lifetime he published more than forty-five books of poetry and prose including the novels Post Office (1971,) Factotum (1975,) Women (1978,) Ham On Rye (1982) and Hollywood (1989). His most recent books are the posthumous editions of Shakespeare Never Did This (1995,) Living on Luck: Selected Letters 1960s-1970s (1995) and Betting on the Muse: Poems & Stories (1996).
All of his books have now been published in translation in a dozen languages and his worldwide popularity remains undiminished.
http://www.blacksparrow.com/bsg.buk.html -- Revised: 5/22/96
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