Born as Heinrich Karl Bukowski on August 16, 1920 in Andernach, Germany. He Americanized his name to Henry Charles Bukowski and became a novelist, short story author and poet. His writing was swayed by everything in the city of Los Angeles. He addressed the lives of the American poor, alcohol and his relationships with women. Bukowski wrote hundreds of poems, short stores and six novels. He published over sixty books. He was on the FBI watch list due to his column Notes of a Dirty Old Man in the underground newspaper Open City. In 1986 Time Magazine titled Bukowski a laureate of American lowlife.
When Bukowski was introduced to alcohol by his best friend William Bullinax. This introduction lead Bukowski down a long road of alcoholism and he credits alcohol with getting him through life. In 1944 Bukowski was detained by the FBI in Philadelphia on the notion of draft evasion. While in jail he failed a psychological exam and was given a selective services designation of unfit for military service.
Bukowski wrote Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip and 20 Tanks from Kasseldown. Neither short story gave him a break into the literary world and Bukowski stopped writing for ten years. In 1955 after being treated for a bleeding ulcer Bukowski began to write poetry, drinking and marrying and divorcing. In 1960 Bukowski worked in a post office in Los Angeles and continued writing poems and stories. He and his live in girlfriend had a daughter.
In 1969 Bukowski began publishing with Black Sparrow Press and he finished his first novel Post Office. Bukowski's many affairs were fodder for his books of poetry. He published Scarlet in 1976 and in 1985 he published Women and Hollywood. In 1957 he married Barbara Frye and they divorced in 1959. He then married Linda Lee Bukowski in 1985 and they remained married until his death of leukemia on March 9, 1994 in Los Angeles.