University of Arizona

Special Collections is closed due to COVID-19, public safety, and social distancing. Read our update.

Papers of Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was born in Andernach, Germany and came to the U.S. when he was three. He grew up in Los Angeles and began writing as a child. He published his first story at age 24 and first poem at age 35. He spent much of his life drifting. Although Bukowski did not associate with "beat writers," his style attracts readers and followers of the beat generation. A prolific writer, much of his work is based on his own experience using the language and subjects of the street. He wrote long-hand, much of it sent to publishers and never seen again. Bukowski became widely known after the movie "Barfly" which was based on his life around the time Factotum was written and featured Mickey Rourke. Bukowski wrote the screenplay and was involved with the movie production. Prior to "Barfly", he was best known by the public for his novel Post Office. In literary circles, Bukowski was praised for his poetry. Yet, he had a strong disregard for formal structure and did not consider himself a poet. He died in his adopted hometown of San Pedro, California.

The bulk of the collection consists of magazines and anthologies that contain Bukowski's contributions; also includes books translated into other languages. Correspondence varies from that of friends and fans, to business correspondence with presses and magazines. Most of the manuscripts are typescript; some have edits, and some are signed and dated. These manuscripts of poems and prose often contain edge of society themes. Original appearances of Notes of a Dirty Old Man date from 1967- 1976. Ephemera consists of posters, announcements of readings, undated photographs of Bukowski, and two acrylic drawings signed by him.

Some items in German, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.