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Arts and Entertainment

A Guide To Charles Bukowski's Los Angeles

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Charles Bukowski may fall outside of the pantheon of Great American Writers, but his appeal has endured, in large part thanks to the darkly confessional nature of his words. It's that same tone that labels him as a kind of pulp poet, one that could have doubled as a script doctor for Billy Wilder. Take, for instance, this excerpt from "Let It Enfold You":

I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious
upbringing.
Of course, the hardboiled nature of his works is inseparable from the Los Angeles that Bukowski inhabited. His existence had little to do with the majestic sunsets of a late afternoon, or the fragrant bloom of jacarandas. Rather, he was about the decay of Bunker Hill, the air of apathy in a ramshackle bar, the pact of self-destruction that's signed between certain couples. It's a life that's unknown not just to out-of-towners, but to many native Angelenos as well. His poems remind us that, skimming beneath the sheen of Los Angeles, there lies another city that's largely nocturnal.

Here, we visit some of the places in L.A. that came to define Bukowski. They're not big on glamour. But if it's character you're in search of, you'll find it in spades.