It’s the birthday of the man Time magazine called “the laureate of American lowlife”: Charles Bukowski.
He was born Heinrich Karl Bukowski in Andernach, Germany in 1920. His father was an American soldier, and his mother was German. They moved back to the States when the boy was two years old, and he grew up in Los Angeles.
He published his first book of poetry, called Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail, in 1959. He once said that his work was 93 percent autobiographical. It featured his alter ego, Henry Chinaski, a writer who works at a variety of unskilled jobs, drinks heavily, and takes up with loose women.