Charles Bukowski

Deranged Alcoholic with stunning, heartbreaking poetry

Charles Bukowski

Known for his work featuring violence, corrupt environments, and oppressed members of society, the work of Bukowski was divergent to his era. Charles Bukowski was born on August 16, 1920, in Andernach, Germany. Three years later Charles, his father who was an American soldier, and his German mother moved to the United States. He grew up in Los Angeles and attended college there until he dropped out and moved to New York to pursue a writing career. Early on is his career Charles had no luck with publishing, which led to 10 years of heavy drinking and miscellaneous work to support his writing dream. By the time Charles was 24 he was finally able to publish his first story, at the age of 35 he began to write poetry. Charles Bukowski died on March 9,1994 of leukemia, before dying he published more than 45 books of poetry. (Information from


The beginning of Bukowski's writing career was everything but easy, the poem Bluebird tells just how strong he had to be. Reading the first few lines it creates the image of Bukowski being kind and gentle, but a few lines in it is shut down by Bukowski's need to be ruthless. The "Bluebird" in this poem is Bukowski's true personality, which is sensitive and fragile like a bird. To be a writer Bukowski had to be tough so he wouldn't be torn apart by publishers. The oxymoron in this poem is heartbreaking, how could this tough, ruthless, man be as fragile has a bluebird.

For Jane: With All The Love I Had, Which Was Not Enough

Yes, Charles Bukowski was ruthless, but he was not heartless. This poem tells about Bukowski mourning over the loss of his first serious romantic relationship. You can tell Bukowski wrote this from the heart it's nothing like Bukowski's other poems. He is truly distraught and in anguish over the loss of his loved one. The imagery in this poem is phenomenal I can visualize him picking up her beads and dress in one hand with a bottle in the other hand. The tone of "For Jane: With All The Love I Had, Which Was Not Enough" is down right depressing and will upset anyone who reads it. This proves Charles Bukowski wasn't completely numb from all the alcohol he drank.

For Jane

225 days, that is how long it has been his Jane died. The love Bukowski had for this woman was in another dimension. No matter how short his poems are they are full of imagery. "...the hours of love still make shadows" Bukowski sees "shadows" which represent the memories he feels when he walks into a room. "the tigers" represent the pain deep with in Bukowski, who is at the point where he doesn't care if the "tigers" get him. The poems Bukowski writes about Jane are depressing and it shows no matter the amount of time he is given he will always miss her and will continue to think about her, letting go is not an option.

The Lucky Ones

His whole life Charles Bukowski only knew poverty, he knows the struggle of needing help but no one is there to help. In this poem Bukowski sees all these people on the freeway living normal happy lives oblivious to the world around them. Bukowski creates a paradox in this poem, he makes sitting on the freeway seem like paradise. Most people would agree it is the exact opposite, but Bukowski is right. These are the lucky ones, the ones that are lucky enough to have a job and have a car which are taken for granted and that is a foreign concept to Bukowski. Just like his other poems Bukowski's imagery is outstanding, a rainy day on the freeway, the smell of someones burning clutch. Bukowski is a master at taking you somewhere you have never been and probably will never be.