Called “a laureate of American low life” by Time magazine, Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was a prolific poet and writer. His subject matter was often drawn from his own storied existence: work drudgery, drunkenness, sex, gambling, and the craft of writing. Uncompromising and confrontational, Bukowski’s style of writing has been categorized as “transgressive fiction” or “dirty realism.” His work often reflects the very un-Hollywood side of the City of Angels. Popturf user prof_improbable has been good enough to provide us a number of entries associated with this inimitable writer.
Born in Andernach, Germany on August 16, 1920, Bukowski was the son of an American soldier and a German mother. His family moved to America a few years later- sailing across the Atlantic, stopping in Baltimore, and then moving on to Los Angeles where they initially stayed with some relatives in Pasadena, CA.
The family moved to their long-term home at 2122 S. Longwood Ave in Los Angeles. Charles lived here off and on from 1926 onward. While at this residence, Bukowski started at the Mount Vernon Junior High School in 1933. In 1936, he enrolled at Susan Miller Dorsey High School, and transferred to Los Angeles High School in 1937. It was at this location that Bukowski’s father threw his writings and possessions on the front lawn after reading his short stories.
Bukowski often retreated to the library to read classic books. He attended college for a brief time, but then struck out on his own to travel and explore the country. Through his correspondence and writings, a number of his work locations in the Philadelphia area are known. While in Philly, Bukowski spent 17 days in prison on suspicion of draft evasion.
Returning to Los Angeles in 1947, Bukowski found a number of different jobs as he continued to write. After a near-death experience due to an internal hemorrhage caused by a bleeding ulcer, he became rededicated to writing, and his output dramatically increased.
In 1964, Bukowski moved to 5124 DeLongpre Ave, which is now affectionately known as the “Bukowski Bungalow,” and is on the Los Angeles cultural heritage list. He wrote several works here, including Post Office.
Continually rediscovered by new generations of readers, Bukowski’s work continues to inspire and challenge. While this list of locations is by no means comprehensive, it should help to give a glimpse of the world that he described with such unfiltered passion.