Also Rans #3: Charles Bukowski



Charles Bukowski has inspired more bad writing than anyone on the planet, ever.

He could be called the most ANTI-charismatic American writer of all time. His appeal is the sheer ugliness of his person, poems, and prose. Call it gutter realism.

Bukowski appeals to many of us at times in our lives when we feel the sudden attraction of life’s underside. (Or when we accidentally end up on that underside.) Especially if that attraction is strengthened by whiskey or wine. Then the prose magically shines. We “get” it. To our numbed minds, Bukowski’s writing becomes the most glamorous art we’ve ever experienced.


Back on our feet, however, alcoholic filters removed, the poetry and prose become once again crude and ordinary. We perceive that Charles Bukowski is hardly a fit model for anybody. Particularly an ambitious writer.

GIVEN that, enough of a mythos has developed around this quintessentially American literary character that he almost made the M.C.A.W. list– despite his writing.

NEXT: Most Charismatic American Writer #8.