Henry Charles Bukowski (Heinrich Karl Bukowski) is an American novelist and poet born in 1920 in Germany and died in 1994 in Los Angeles. A drunk claimed, he put himself all his life on the margins of society, that of men, work and even publishing when his success came.

He began writing at the age of 50 convinced that a writer could produce nothing really serious before.

An absolute unconditional of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, he is often regarded as his American and English equivalent, focusing his fiction on drinking and sex, all sprinkled with considerations of the same ilk on the human condition as those of his master. His most notable works include Tales of Ordinary Madness, Diary of a Disgusting Old Man, South of Nowhere, and Women.

In 1987, Barbet Schroeder’s film Barfly, for which he wrote the screenplay, recounts part of his life. He is masterfully played by Mickey Rourke, who camped his pathetic drunk character as inflating as he is endearing to a bar.

A few quotes to sum up the character who will never leave indifferent:

“How on earth can a man rejoice at being woken at 6:30 in the morning by an alarm, leaping out of bed, swallowing without pleasure a spread, shit, pissing, brushing his teeth and hair, struggling in traffic to find a place, where essentially he produces money for someone else, who also asks him to be grateful for this opportunity?”

“The problem with this world is that intelligent people are full of doubts while stupid people are full of confidence.”

“The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote before obeying orders, in a dictatorship, you do not waste your time voting.”

“Women love impostors because they know how to embellish reality.”

“In my opinion, that’s what makes people feel bad about not changing their lives often enough.”

“Poetry speaks volumes and it’s done quickly. The prose doesn’t go very far and takes time.”

“Some people never go crazy… Their lives must be boring.”

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