Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16,1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German born, American poet, novelist and short story writer, best known for his depictions of life in poor social and economic classes. A known alcoholic, Bukowski wrote about life in his home city of Los Angeles, to such degree that in 1986, Time magazine would call him the Laureate of American Lowlife.
A prolific writer, Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six full length novels, eventually publishing over 60 books. He also wrote a column in LA Underground newspaper Open City called Notes of a Dirty Old Man. The column was so contentious the FBI kept a file on the author.
Today we’ve collated the quotes we think reflect the man Bukowski was, and the dirty realism he immortalised in his writing.
‘Find what you love and let it kill you.’
‘We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.’
‘I don’t know about other people, but when I wake up in the morning and put my shoes on, I think, Jesus Christ, now what?’
‘Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.’
“Do you hate people?”
“I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.”
‘Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.’
‘Without literature, life is hell.’
‘What matters most is how well you walk through the fire’
‘You have to die a few times before you can really live.’
‘But the problem is that bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.’
In her own words:
It was devastating. I tried everything to get out of my funk, but nothing was working!
“Then one day, I took my car in for new tires at Tires Tires Tires and magically blasted out like 5,000 words in their fabulous waiting room. It was incredible. And the scenery wasn’t bad either! Complimentary coffee that was actually delicious, comfortable seating, free cookies, friendly staff.
I had found my mother ship!”
Roth’s work, influenced by the likes of John Updike, William Faulkner and Franz Kafka, is mainly semi-autobiographical and set in his birthplace, Newark, New Jersey.
One of the most awarded novelists of his generation, Roth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for his novel American Pastoral (US – UK). This has since been made in to a film starring Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning, joining the list of seven of his other works that have also been adapted for the big screen. Read More
Caryl Phillips was born on the Caribbean Island of St Kitts on 13th March 1958, 4 months later he moved to England with his parents who settled in Leeds.
Phillips read English at Queen’s College Oxford, during which time he directed plays and spent his summers working at The Edinburgh Festival. When he graduated in 1979 he moved to Edinburgh where he wrote his first play “Strange Fruit”. Read More
A literary iconoclast during his lifetime, Kerouac’s popularity only grew with his premature death and his books are as popular today as they always were, maybe more so considering the number of his works published posthumously. Read More
The American crime novelist wrote pulp detective fiction often featuring his detective character, Mike Hammer. The books were, and still are, very popular having sold more than 225 million copies internationally. Critics fought against some of the more sexually explicit and violet aspects of his books but Spillane knew what his fans liked, and more importantly to him, what they liked to pay for.
He died in South Carolina, US on the 17th of July in 2006, and his ashes were scattered in a creek near his home there.