Charles Bukowski

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Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-American poet, novelist and short story writer.

His writing was heavily influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually having over 60 books in print. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a "laureate of American lowlife".[4]

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Early years

He was born Heinrich Karl Bukowski in Andernach, Germany, to Heinrich Bukowski and Katharina Fett. His mother was a native German and his father was a German-American soldier who met her after World War I had ended. Bukowski's parents were Roman Catholic.[5] He often claimed to be an illegitimate child; Andernach marital records, however, indicate that his parents married one month prior to his birth.[6]

Due to the collapse of the German economy following the end of World War I, the family emigrated to the United States in 1923 and initially settled in Baltimore, Maryland. Wanting a more Anglophone kind of name, Bukowski's parents began addressing young Heinrich as "Henry" and altered the pronunciation of the family name from /buːˈkɒfski/ boo-KOF-skee to /buːˈkaʊski/ boo-KOW-ski; the surname is of Slavic origin). The family settled in South Central Los Angeles in 1930, the city from which his father's family originated.[6] During Bukowski's childhood his father was often unemployed, and Bukowski stated in the autobiographical Ham on Rye that, with his mother's acquiescence, his father was frequently abusive, both physically and mentally.[7]

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