Guest Post from William Soule: Writers To Read Part 1 — Charles Bukowski
Recently, I was really excited to discover that brilliant young poet and former ONS Featured Poet William Soule is writing a series of short articles entitled ‘Writers to Read,’ aimed at helping new and emerging writers to discover new influences. I asked if I could feature the articles here as guest-posts, and Will agreed! So here’s the first installment. Enjoy!
“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”
German-born Charles Bukowski is popular among younger poets for his straightforward, unequivocal style of writing. Ironically, he didn’t start writing poetry prolifically until he was 35, after ten years of near-silence following the publication of his short story, Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip, in Story, and his time in the hospital treating an ulcer.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Bukowski often alienated himself from his peers due to the terrible acne that pockmarked his face. Add in the physical abuse from his father and working menial jobs as an adult, such as at the post office, his writing often features the challenges facing those inhabiting skid row, drunkenness, women, and times at the horse track. the suicide kid details his time at bars, starting with “I went to the worst of bars / hoping to get / killed. / but all I could do was to / get drunk / again.”
Another poem entitled Dinosauria, we, found in the documentary “Born Into This”, talks about some of the problems in society (”we are / born like this / into this / into hospitals which are so expensive / that it’s cheaper to die”).
Throughout his writing career, Bukowski stuck with smaller presses; many see him as an underdog in the writing community, although he became well known during his career, even writing screenplays for movies, such as Barfly, a semi-autobiographical film featuring his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, the hard-drinking womanizer, who was also often found in his novels, some of his most popular being “Post Office” (which aptly begins with “It began as a mistake.”), and “Ham on Rye”, a novel that details his troubled youth.
Passing away in 1994 from leukemia, he leaves behind a vast array of novels, short stories, and poetry among numerous articles he has written for publications. To conclude, here is a touching poem entitled Bluebird, a favorite of mine, and a challenge for you writers that Bukowski details well with so you want to be a writer? Do give a listen and a read–and meet up to the challenge of writing. For more information about Charles Bukowski, check out Bukowski.net.
William Soule is a young poet currently living in Utah. His works have appeared in Read This Magazine, elimae, Tattoo Highway, and the delinquent, among others — he is also a former ONS Featured Poet. He runs the webzine Clearfield Review, and works as a Literature Gallery Director for artist-networking site deviantART. Besides writing poetry, William also plays the drums and is a health food nut. He raises a two year old pit bull named Bronē, offers everyone online cookies, and comments on people’s faces.
I’d also like to recommend checking out Bukowski’s Nirvana, as read by Tom Waits… and the movie Factotum, which is based on his life.
‘Writers to Read’ will be back soon… Part 3 will be written by yours truly, so watch this space!
Want to write an ONS guest-post? Drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org!