Analysis of Charles Bukowski’s Poems

Living on the periphery of society, Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994)  forged a brutally honest poetic voice. The futility and senselessness of most human endeavor conjoined with the desperation and essential solitude of the individual are constants reinforcing his “slavic nihilism.” The trick, he suggested, is “carrying on when everything seems so terrible there is no use to go on. . . . You face the wall and just work it out. . . . Facing it right with yourself, alone.” It is this kind of courage and stoicism that informs Bukowski’s canon. He was neither a poet’s poet nor a people’s poet, but a personal poet who used his craft to ensure his own survival.

Analysis of Charles Bukowski’s Novels

Bukowski’s “tough guy” image was less posturing than self-protective. One senses that he was an idealist soured by the ravages of time, wearied by political betrayals, and rather appalled by the vacuity of the American left and contemporary American writers who seemed to be playing it safe and producing pallid prose and senselessly arcane poetry. Interestingly, in his best poems, the tough guy persona falls away and one discovers a sensitive poet who chose to adopt a savage bravado. Clearly, he knew the reality of the seamy side of life; his poetry teems with grotesque and sordid imagery; but unlike those who would write in order to reform, Bukowski was content to capture the pathos and rawness of the streets.

Bukowski’s first four chapbooks properly acclimate the reader to his dual vision— his rawness and his compassion. They also reveal the risks inherent in this kind of personal, reportorial poetry. At his best, he blended seemingly incongruous elements to plunge the reader into a surreal landscape. At his worst, he succumbed to self-pity, mired in his own mundane reality.


Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail

Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail is the most consistently crafted of the four books and includes one of his best-known poems, “The Twins,” which transforms his lingering animosity toward his father into a transcendent statement of shared humanity and mortality. The poem is replete with antithetical images: “We looked exactly alike, we could have been twins. . . . he had his bulbs on the screen ready for planting while I was laying with a whore from 3rd street.” His own ambivalence is suggested by the scarecrow image he presented as he realized “I can’t keep him alive no matter how much we hated each other.” So, he stands, “waiting also to die.” Read in conjunction with “All-Yellow Flowers,” “The Twins” establishes one of the dominant motifs in Bukowski’s work—the transient nature of life and the exaggerated import that human beings attach to ephemera.

These poems have the cadence of impending catastrophe. Beginning with “Ten Lions and the End of the World,” Bukowski moved from the mundane to the apocalyptic without missing a beat; he forged a vantage point that is both ironic and sentimental as he pondered the cost of the pell-mell pace of modern life.

In Bukowski’s world almost anything was possible. Although the potential for violence was ever present, it defied logic. His was the spirit of farce. He constantly challenged the contours of reality. He employed a farcical dialectic to conjoin the bizarre and the mundane; he used brutal undercutting, as in “Love Is a Piece of Paper Torn to Bits,” in which a ship out of control and a wife being “serviced” by another are divested of significance while a worrisome cat is promoted to center stage. By focusing on the cat and the “dishes with flowers and vines painted on them,” he effectively understated his angst. Similarly, in “I Cannot Stand Tears,” a guard kills a wounded goose because “the bird was crying and I cannot stand tears.”

Also evident in this first volume is Bukowski’s justification for callous machismo as a defense against “the lie of love”; he established his argument by infusing his poems with countless oxymorons that rearranged the signposts of reality. In “Soiree,” a bottle becomes a “dwarf waiting to scratch out my prayers,” and in “His Wife, the Painter,” a bus becomes “insanity sprung from a waving line”; he spoke of the sunlight as a lie and markets smelling of “shoes and naked boys clothed.” “Soiree” also announces the impossibility of sustaining a relationship; “Did I Ever Tell You” captures the tragicomic element of love. The inescapable conclusion from this panoply is that love is futile, duplicitous, or, at best, based on mutual concessions. This explains the frequent crassness in Bukowski’s work, which was already evident in “No Charge.”

Longshot Poems for Broke Players

Longshot Poems for Broke Players contains several poems that do justice to the existentialism and craftsmanship that Bukowski demonstrated in his first volume. “The State of World Affairs from a Third Floor Window,” for example, melds an essentially voyeuristic point of view with reflections on a nuclear-infested world. Its tone is mellow and its counterpoint suggests the possibility of survival. Survival, it seems, is a matter of perspective, a point forcefully echoed in “The Tragedy of the Leaves,” which embodies Bukowski’s belief that what was needed was “a good comedian, ancient style, a jester with jokes upon absurd pain; pain as absurd because it exists.” It concludes with an empathetic identification with his landlady “because the world had failed us both.”

The surrealism of “What aManI Was,” which lampoons the legendary status of various Western heroes, is accelerated and refined in “The Best Way to Get Famous Is to Run Away,” which revolves around the proverbial desire to live underground, away from the masses and the absurdity of explaining “why.” Inherent in this piece, as well as in “Conversations in a Cheap Room” and “Poems for Personnel Managers,” is the unattainability of resonance, the inability to comprehend the suffering of others: “Age was a crime . . . Pity picked up the marbles and . . . Hatred picked up the cash.” A blend of the sensitive and ironic, an easy movement through cliché and culture dignifies these pieces. The result is a litany of sorts dedicated to those who have fallen through the cracks of the dream, unveiling a world of fraudulent promises that routinely casts aside those who do not conform to the dictates of propriety.

Run with the Hunted and It Catches My Heart in Its Hand

Run with the Hunted, the most uneven of Bukowski’s early works, is more freewheeling than Poems and Drawings; it displays flashes of insight in “Old Man, Dead in a Room” and reaches innovative heights in “Vegas.” Bukowski interwove the abstract and the concrete to capture the impossibility of communication and the essential insanity of social and artistic convention. The majority of the poems, however, seem selfindulgent and pointlessly crass.

Having gained recognition from the early chapbooks, Bukowski assumed a surer direction. It Catches My Heart in Its Hand culls some of the best from the early chapbooks and adds many new pieces. In this work, Bukowski mocked his own former self-pity and transforms it into a literary device with which to document the passage of time, as in “Old Poet” and “The Race.” The danger of sanctifying art receives a lighter handling in “The Talkers,” which is both a critique of art for art’s sake and a renunciation of those who would hide behind abstraction and pretense.

Crucifix in a Deathhand and The Genius of the Crowd

Artistic distance is even more evident in Crucifix in a Deathhand, which centers around reawakened memories, senses deadened by the workaday world, and actual confrontations with death. In “Sunflower” and “Fuzz,” for example, Bukowski muted his personal voice to universalize his own anguish; he often seemed, as in “Grass,” to be observing himself. The workaday world, the province of “little men with luck and a headstart” emerges as deadening in “Machinegun Towers & Timeclocks” and “Something for the Touts, the Nuns, the Grocery Clerks and You. . . .” Bukowski was equally contemptuous of the bovine mentality of the masses and the group-think of the counterculture. In “This,” he elevated himself above any prescriptions and became his own measuring rod. His is the stance of the loner, seeking pleasures where he finds them and deferring to no one. Survival, he suggested, demands egotism; otherwise, one can only await the fiery cleansing of the bomb contemplated in “A Report Upon the Consumption of Myself.”

Bukowski’s disdain for all that is average becomes more overt in a single-poem chapbook, The Genius of the Crowd, a jeremiad cautioning the poet to avoid the profane influence of culture. More boldly than any previous poem, it unmasks Bukowski’s contempt for the masses and asserts that “There is enough treachery, hatred, violence, absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day.” This is reinforced by the suggestion that most preaching is duplicitous, a game of mirrors.

Cold Dogs in the Courtyard

A very different impression is gleaned from Cold Dogs in the Courtyard, over which Bukowski was given editorial control. In a prefatory note, he explained that he chose those poems that he felt had been unduly neglected. What emerges is a collection keynoted by an almost tender melancholia. “Imbecile Night,” for example, establishes a delicate balance with which he endured the dreary cadence of darkness. Informing these poems is a sense of awe as he notes the consonance of nature’s marvels and human invention, especially apparent in “It’s Nothing to Laugh About.” Compounding this is the poignant juxtaposition of the substantial and the ephemeral, as in “Existence,” a poem built around the post office and the exaggerated importance attached to “dead letters.” Like the roof in “2 Outside as Bones Break in My Kitchen,” the letters maintain but fail to nurture the human spirit.

In “Layovers,” the memories of lost love and the dreams of renewal serve as a reprieve from Bukowski’s encounters with death. Serving a similar function are encounters with the unexpected, as in “Experience,” and anarchistic protests such as the one depicted in “What Seems to Be the Trouble, Gentlemen?” These poems work, in part, because they lack the self-congratulatory tone of The Genius of the Crowd and the self-indulgence of The Curtains Are Waving, which reveals the limits of Bukowski’s style; in an attempt to come to terms with his angst, he is left decrying his fate.

At Terror Street and Agony Way

By the time At Terror Street and Agony Way appeared, Bukowski had apparently regained artistic control; the volume substitutes self-mockery for self-pity. Although he continued to probe the plight of those caught under the technocratic juggernaut, he did so more emblematically and with greater levity. In “Red and Gold Paint,” he conceives of luck and art as miracles against the cunning caprices of bosses, wars, and the weather. It is only playing against the odds, he repeatedly suggests, which ensures survival. Those who relinquish the good fight or never begin, he implied in “Reunion,” may ingratiate themselves, but they never really live.

This volume is more thematically unified by the primacy of terror and agony in Bukowski’s perspective. The lost innocence of “As I Lay Dying,” the gratuitousness of “Beerbottle,” and the resultant agony of blinding dreams in “K. O.” quietly undergird the wanton destruction of “Sunday Before Noon” and the defeated dreams of “7th Race.” Similarly, “I Wanted to Overthrow the Government” records Bukowski’s suspicion of revolutionary schemes: “The weakness was not Government but Man, one at a time . . . men were never as strong as their ideas and . . . ideas were governments turned into men.”

Poems Written Before Jumping out of an Eight Story Window and A Bukowski Sampler

Bukowski’s next volume, Poems Written Before Jumping out of an Eight Story Window, constitutes a reversal. Absent are the literary allusions, the calm and urbanity of At Terror Street and Agony Way. The old shrillness is back as Bukowski donned the “beast” persona and vented his spleen, abandoning all finesse. Rapine, murder, and gothic elements dominate; an alcoholic fog blurs his vision. Even the best piece, “The Hairy Hairy Fist, and Love Will Die,” despite its relentless “beat” and its examination of the individual turned back on himself, deafened by silence, is reduced in magnitude.

The publication of A Bukowski Sampler in 1969 signaled a change. In a little less than eighty pages, Doug Blazek assembled some of the best of Bukowski’s work. His selection, a fairly representative one allowing the neophyte a full taste of Bukowski, also includes an editor’s introduction, a letter from Bukowski, and several tributes from admirers of his work. Published about six months after Notes of a Dirty Old Man, the volume was directed at the growing Bukowski audience and the burgeoning counterculture.

The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses over the Hills

While The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses over the Hills again culls poems from the early chapbooks, the majority of the pieces are new and fresh. Since the book was dedicated to Jane, it is not surprising to find death as the leitmotiv. What is surprising is the almost sensual tone. In several poems to Jane, one can feel both the depth of Bukowski’s love and the anguish which her death occasioned. While there are the obligatory accounts of womanizing, these pale before his elegies to Jane and his references to Frances and Marina. His attitude is encapsulated in “Birth,” where the male dominion is muted by “small female things and jewels.”

Allusions are multiplied without pretension; in “Ants Crawl My Drunken Arms,” he criticized the banality of popular culture that prefers Willie Mays to Bach and the killing realities that essentially devoured Arthur Rimbaud, Ezra Pound, and Hart Crane. In “The Sharks” and “The Great One,” the artist emerges as victim, and in “The Seminar” and “On a Grant” the pretense and incestuousness of the literary establishment are mocked through both the form and the content of the poems.

Mockingbird Wish Me Luck

In Mockingbird Wish Me Luck, his next collection, Bukowski probed the culturally sanctioned disparities and skewed priorities which produce “shipping clerks who have read the Harvard Classics” and allow the powerful “a 15 percent take on the dream.” “Hogs in the Sky” suggests that survival is a miracle, and yet, no more than a proper rehearsal for death “as old age arrives on schedule.” The paraplegic who continues to play the longshots in “The World’s Greatest Loser” is merely an extreme illustration of the fact that “nobody had any luck.” Hence, the aspiring writer becomes a random assassin in “The Garbageman” and an ace crapshooter in “Moyamensing Prison.”

Much of the humor in these poems is self-deprecatory, as in “The Last Days of the Suicide Kid,” but subtler ironies emerge as well: the cost of success in “Making It” and the very real risk of becoming a noted writer in “The Poet’s Muse.” Bukowski recognized that often the skid row bums have more brains, more wit, and sometimes more satisfaction than those who have “won.” Again it is a question of perspective—something which is a rare commodity in America, he notes in “Earthquake.”

The second part of this volume is teeming with primordial images and energies Monkey feet, lions, and mockingbirds stalk and taunt the poet and reader while the mass media relentlessly promote diversions and distractions. The gullibility of the masses, not a new theme, is used to establish Bukowski’s own superiority and contempt for platitudes. Recording his experiences with the draft board in “WW2,” he compared himself to the draftees, concluding, “I was not as young as they.” Not as young, perhaps, because he, like Robinson Jeffers, whom he eulogizes in “He Wrote in Lonely Blood,” has solitary instincts and an understanding of what is essential. However, in both “The Hunt” and “The Shoelace,” he realized that it is the little things which tip the scale and “sometimes create unemployed drunks . . . trying to grab for grunion.”

The final section of Mockingbird Wish Me Luck is unified by the risks of love. Love, a tenuous miracle, endures for Bukowski only with Marina, who is the subject of several poems. “The Shower” suggests that others, like Linda King, will eventually pass out of his life despite the depth of their mutual feelings. At the other extreme are the large number of women who are sought because they are, by definition, “one-week stands.” The only alternative to the ebb and flow is represented by the “old fashioned whore” and the “American matador” who opt out of conscriptive relationships.

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame

These conversational poems are often riddled by the banter and banality which characterize the bulk of daily interactions, yet Bukowski insisted on the need for style—“a fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing.” Herein lies the key to Bukowski’s poetic credo—he did not seek new themes, but, rather, reworked the old from a new angle of vision. This approach is especially germane to Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame, which reprints many poems that had gone out of print and redirected his probing of such phenomena as love’s impermanence. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame constitutes a fitting conclusion to the third stage of Bukowski’s career. Including sections of poems from It Catches My Heart in Its Hand, Crucifix in a Deathhand, and At Terror Street and Agony Way (to which The Curtains Are Waving has been added), it was a testimony to his growing reputation, and, having been published by one of the more prestigious small presses, accomplished the aim of A Bukowski Sampler with considerable finesse.

In addition to making selections from earlier volumes, this one includes a section of new poems. These are not gentle poems. Beginning with “Now,” which compares writing poetry with lancing boils, Bukowski moved to “Zoo,” which questions whether, in fact, humans have evolved significantly. “The Way” represents a brutal culmination, resembling the cascading cadence of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” (1956, 1996) while managing not to fall away or to lose its sardonic tone.

The reportorial style which informs these poems is wryly explained in “Deathbed Blues” and panned in “My Friend, Andre,” and while it is not always effective, at its best it gives testimony to the moral dignity which is attainable despite the depravity which threatens to consume the human spirit. “Death of an Idiot,” which calls to mind “Conversations with a Lady Sipping a Straight Shot” in The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses over the Hills, displays compassion and achieves its impact by understatement.

Love Is a Dog from Hell

Bukowski’s later poetry is more persistently autobiographical and more finely honed than his earlier work. Many of the poems, especially in Love Is a Dog from Hell, have fictional analogues in Women. A tendency already apparent in “Hell Hath No Fury . . .” in Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame, becomes more evident here; the poems often seem merely to have been transplanted into (or from) the novel. Similarly, several of the poems in Dangling in the Tournefortia correspond to Shakespeare Never Did This, and others clearly reveal the influence of Bukowski’s move to San Pedro—a move which has not tempered his perspective.

Love Is a Dog from Hell, like the chapbook Scarlet which it incorporates, has loves and lusts as its primary focus. The proper context for viewing these poems is suggested by Bukowski’s comment that “love is ridiculous because it can’t last and sex is ridiculous because it doesn’t last long enough.” It was the tragicomedy which impelled him. Refusing to defer to feminist sensibilities, he related one sexual adventure after another, capturing both the eternal search and the predictable defeats which await everyone in “Another Bed.”

Women are portrayed in a variety of stances; sometimes merely objects, they are at other times capable of turning the male into an object, as the black widow spider in “The Escape” and the teeth mother in “A Killer” are inclined to do. The women range from aspiring artists and reformers to whores, and the latter have the edge “because they lie about nothing.” While some may take offense at the sexism in these pieces, it seems to cut both ways; the men are no less demeaned than the women. This is still the world of the streets where proprieties and pretense fall away. In poems such as “One for Old Snaggle-tooth,” dedicated to Frances, Bukowski’s sensitivity is economically and precisely conveyed.

The second section is concerned with the tragedies and inhumanities which transform artists into madmen or panderers. “What They Want” reads like a top ten list of artistic casualties. The artist emerges as vulnerable and damned in “There Once Was a Woman Who Put Her Head in an Oven,” which calls to mind poet Sylvia Plath. However, in “The Crunch,” Bukowski suggested that the artist is able to utilize the isolation and failure that drive others over the edge. Both survival and creativity seem to demand solitude, as long as it is not irreversible.

Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit

Primarily a reissue of several chapbooks, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit lacks the thematic unity of the preceding volume, but it does demonstrate Bukowski’s iconoclasm and his ability to revive old themes. The title deadpans the conception of the typewriter as a musical instrument, a theme first introduced in “Chopin Bukowski” in Love Is a Dog from Hell.

Beginning with “Tough Company,” which turns poems into gunslingers waiting to receive their due, Bukowski unleashed his acerbic wit against ersatz holiday gaiety, feigned idealism, parental protocol, the notion of a limited nuclear war, and the pretense of civilization, which is compared to fool’s gold in “Through the Streets of Anywhere.” While there is a sense of absurdity and subterfuge rampaging through these poems, there is also a sense of durability and substance. Again the losers at the racetrack bars, in the bowels of the slaughterhouses, and in the sterile rooming houses are pummeled but maintain their dignity, accepting their exclusion and their inability to affect their fates: “We are finally tricked and slapped to death like lovers’ vows, bargained out of any gain.” They await the arrival of the urban renewal cranes in “2347 Duane,” and while they occasionally master the bravado of Bogart, as in “Maybe Tomorrow,” more often they simply await death, as in “The Proud Thin Dying.” If one is careful, “Horse and Fist” implies, one may yet survive despite the open-endedness of the game. In the meantime, it is best to “play the piano drunk like a percussion instrument until the fingers begin to bleed a bit.”

Dangling in the Tournefortia

There is an interesting movement in Dangling in the Tournefortia. Several of the early poems are retrospective, establishing a counterpoint against which to view his status— something which is overt in poems such as “Guava Tree.” It seems that he was suspicious of his newly won success, recognizing that he “can fail in many more ways now,” as he said in “Fear and Madness,” knowing that there are more “suckerfish” who will insist upon intruding and fretting about the state of his soul. However, “Notes Upon a Hot Streak” revealed the pleasure he took in the “lovable comedy” which “they are letting me win for this moment.”

While success did not temper his perspective, it did temper his rage; even his references to his father’s brutality were softened, and while death continued to loom, it no longer threatened to overwhelm him or his poetry. The more balanced tone is reinforced by his use of the tournefortia, a tropical tree with delicate flowers and a fleshy fruit, as a metaphor for the interplay of love and lust, being and nothingness. Again the tempestuous love affairs are paraded, sometimes callously but often with a quick parry, as in “The Descent of the Species” and “Snap Snap.” In “The Lady in Red,” he explores the compensatory function served by heroes such as Dillinger during the Depression; in “Fight On” and “Blue Collar Solitude,” the needed respite offered by a good street brawl and/or several drinks; and in “Nothing,” seeing a supervisor besotted somehow eases the pain and agony of the job.

The Last Generation

As one of the most prolific and well-known underground poets, Bukowski pinned his success on the authenticity of his voice. Even a casual encounter with his work reveals the lack of pretense and the refusal to kowtow to the critics. He refused to be beaten; as he suggested in The Last Generation, a single-poem broadside, it may be harder to be a genius with the proliferation of publishers and writers, but it is worth the attempt. There are too many unsung characters of the “unholy parade” and too many poems which demand to be written.

Bukowski’s bawdiness no less than his free-form style constituted a manifesto of sorts. American poetry has long been cautious and unduly arcane, thereby excluding a large part of the potential poetry audience and a wide range of subjects and sentiments. Booze, hard loving, and horse racing, while not generally seen as poetic subjects, dominate Bukowski’s oeuvre. His crassness, which weakened some of his pieces, was in his best work complemented by a sensitive understanding of the fringes of society. Beneath the veneer, one senses a man who was unaccustomed to and rather afraid of love; a man who simultaneously disdained and applauded the masses because of his own ambivalent self-concept.

Collections of the 1990’s

In the 1990’s Bukowski softened a bit and reflectively examined his feelings about aging and death. His last book of poems published in his lifetime was Last Night of the Earth Poems, his longest poetry collection. Like all his poetry, the poems here are rich in sarcasm and filled with antiauthoritarian diatribes, madness, satire, and death. However, while death has always been a facet of Bukowski’s poetry, here it is not the death that stalked Bukowski through forty years of poetry, resulting from alcohol abuse or depravity. Rather, it is the end of a long-lived life. Bukowski reveals that he is and has been involved in the great seasonal cycles of life: birth, death, and rebirth; pain, sorrow, and love. The subtle sensitivity of the volume is also present in its obvious love poems, many seemingly addressed to Linda Lee Beighle.

Bone Pallace Ballet is divided into five sections that outline his life, fromrecollections that romanticize his drunken youth as a timewhen there was a “feeling of/ joy and gamble in/ the air” (“Beeting on theMuse”) to the final section presenting poems that take stock of his life and square-off with death. Open All Night, like the collection of his poems titled What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, is an expansive volume full of the grizzled mutterings that readers have come to expect from Bukowski: Former lovers, binge drinking, disillusioned souls, and the racetrack are well represented. Like other works of the 1990’s, however, Open All Night reveals a more wistful Bukowski, an aging writer who was fearlessly confronting his mortality. Writing was never about praise or fame, he says, but “for myself/ to savewhat is left of/ myself.” Bukowski is finally able to admit: “I’ve had a good run./ I can toss it in without regret.”

Major Works
Long fiction: PostOffice, 1971; Factotum, 1975; Women, 1978; Ham on Rye, 1982; You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense, 1986; Hollywood, 1989; Pulp, 1994.
Short fiction: Notes of a Dirty Old Man, 1969; Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness, 1972; Life and Death in the Charity Ward, 1973; South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life, 1973; Bring Me Your Love, 1983; Hot Water Music, 1983; The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, and Other Stories, 1983; There’s No Business, 1984; The Day It Snowed in L.A., 1986.
Screenplay: Barfly, 1987.
Nonfiction: Shakespeare Never Did This, 1979 (photographs by Michael Montfort); The Bukowski/Purdy Letters: A Decade of Dialogue, 1964-1974, 1983; Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters, 1960-1970, 1993; Reach for the Sun: Selected Letters, 1978-1994, 1999 (Seamus Cooney, editor); Beerspit Night and Cursing: The Correspondence of Charles Bukowski and Sheri Martinelli, 1960-1967, 2001 (Steven Moore, editor).
Miscellaneous: You Kissed Lilly, 1978; Septuagenarian Stew: Stories and Poems, 1990; Run with the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader, 1993; Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories, 1996; Charles Bukowski: Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook— Uncollected Stories and Essays, 1944-1990, 2008 (David Stephen Calonne, editor).

Cain, Jimmie. “Bukowski’s Imagist Roots.” West Georgia College Review 19 (May, 1987): 10-17.
Cherkovski, Neeli. Bukowski: A Life. South Royalton, Vt.: Steerforth, 1997.
Harrison, Russell. Against the American Dream: Essays on Charles Bukowski. Santa Rosa, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1994.
McDonough, Tom. “Down and (Far) Out.” American Film 13 (November, 1987): 26-30.
Wakoski, Diane. “Charles Bukowski.” In Contemporary Poets, edited by James Vinson and D. L. Kirkpatrick. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985.
Weizmann, Daniel, ed. Drinking with Bukowski: Recollections of the Poet Laureate of Skid Row. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2000.

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