Literary Birthday – 16 August
Happy Birthday, Charles Bukowski, born 16 August 1920, died 9 March 1994.
10 Bukowski Quotes
- Without literature, life is hell.
- You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.
- The public takes from a writer, or a writing, what it needs and lets the remainder go. But what they take is usually what they need least and what they let go is what they need most.
- An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
- If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.
- The difference between Art and Life is that Art is more bearable.
- I found out that Hollywood is more crooked, dumber, crueler, stupider than all the books I’ve read about it. They didn’t go deeply enough into how it lacks art, and soul, and heart— how it’s really a piece of crap. There are too many hands directing, there’re too many fingers in the pot, and they’re all kind of ignorant about what they’re doing. They’re greedy, and they’re vicious. So you don’t get much of a movie.
- Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.
- It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
- I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.
Bukowski was a poet, novelist and short story writer. Adam Kirsch of The New Yorker wrote, ‘the secret of Bukowski’s appeal… [is that] he combines the confessional poet’s promise of intimacy with the larger-than-life aplomb of a pulp-fiction hero.’
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