Bukowski: Born into this on DVD
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
-Excerpt from “Bluebird”, Charles Bukowski
A contemporary of the Beat Generation, the poet and novelist Charles Bukowski was born in Germany and raised in Los Angeles, California. After a period of travel in his youth, Bukowski returned to Los Angeles where he spent decades writing poetry, short stories, and novels in relative obscurity while living a rough and tumble personal life. A poet of the streets, Bukowski’s straightforward language details a life of booze, bars and women, but also humanity and love.
Despite Bukowski’s association with hard living, he was never a denizen of skid row. Bukowski supported himself with various jobs throughout his life, including over a decade working for the United States Postal Service (the basis for his novel Post Office.) Success found Bukowski later in life. The first published book of his poetry, It Catches My Heart in its Hands, was produced in 1963 when he was 43 years old (a copy of this handcrafted book is housed in Special Collections and Archives.) From there his fame, and notoriety, grew. Since his death in 1994 at the age of 73, books of Bukowski’s poetry and correspondence continue to be published, and new audiences continue to discover his writing.
A difficult person from a troubled background, Bukowski emerges from Born Into This as a complicated figure. Rough, crude, and often profane, Bukowski is also witty, intelligent and sensitive. Filmmaker John Dullaghan skillfully weaves interviews with Bukowski’s friends, family and well-known admirers along with footage and interviews with Bukowski from the 1970s and 1980s to produce a compelling portrait of a tenacious artist. Derided as a dirty old man, celebrated as the 20th century’s Walt Whitman, Born Into This shows Bukowski to be something of both, but also much more: a human being.
-Trish Nugent, Special Collections Librarian/Archivist