Arts Express: In Search Of Charles Bukowski

In Search Of Charles Bukowski

Arts Express contributor Cynthia Parsons McDaniel was in search of Charles Bukowski, the elusive and eccentric inebriated late poet. She tracked him down while working on the cinematic self-portrait of Bukowski, directed by Barbet Schroeder, Barfly.

We hear Charles Bukowski reading a poem about tulips, blue shoes, beards, and surprisingly, paper canoes.

In search of Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski gravestone.

The inebriated poet we are in search of, Charles Bukowski was born in Germany after World War I. His mother was German his father an American soldier. They moved to Los Angeles, California before he turned three. After the US joined World War II, Bukowski left LA, traveling across the country, mainly to Philadelphia and New Orleans. He returned to Los Angeles in 1947 and remained there until his death.

Bukowski was a short story writer, published for the first time in 1944, in Story magazine, while on his travels to the east. In 1954, he suffered an internal hemorrhage and almost died in LA County Hospital. That experience lead him to writing more poetry.

Charles Bukowski became one of the most unique influential voices in 20th-century American poetry.


Arts Express Book Corner

Today in the Arts Express Book Corner, we explore the link between creativity and alcoholism. Olivia Laing, a writer, takes a literary journey to explore this, in The Trip To Echo Spring: On Writers And Drinking.

Olivia ventures into the inebriated mind in fiction. This is actually the second part of a two-part series. In the series, we? feature these noted writers, with original readings from their work.

Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams are two of the most celebrated.

Art History Unstuffed

Carrying on down the inebriated pathway, we hear from Professor Jean Willett, who phones in to Arts Express from LA to talk art, alcoholism and alienation.

Of note are the referenced to Karl Marx, feudalism, frolicking peasants and class contradictions. We also challenge the theories in an accompanying segment, looking at why eminent writers drink, while pondering podcasts and pause buttons.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.