The Pleasures of the Damned

Selected Poems 1951-1993

Charles Bukowski

having been born into this strange life we must accept the wasted gamble of our days and take some satisfaction in the pleasure of leaving it all behind
The Pleasures of the Damned by Charles Bukowski (eBook ISBN 9781847678874) book cover

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A selection of the best poetry from America’s most iconic and imitated poet, Charles Bukowski


The Pleasures of the Damned is a selection of the best poetry from America’s most iconic and imitated poet, Charles Bukowski. Celebrating the full range of the poet’s extraordinary sensibility and his uncompromising linguistic brilliance, these poems cover a lifetime of experience, from his renegade early work to never-before-collected poems penned during the final days before his death.

Selected by John Martin, Bukowski’s long-time editor and the publisher of the legendary Black Sparrow Press, this stands as what Martin calls ‘the best of the best of Bukowski’.

The Pleasures of the Damned is an astonishing poetic treasure trove, essential reading for both long-time fans and those just discovering this unique and important American voice.

“Likely to stand as the definitive volume of Bukowski’s poems. It is well edited by John Martin, the publisher of the estimable Black Sparrow Press, who was Bukowski’s editor for most of his working life.”
new York Times Book Review

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“He brought everybody down to earth, even the angels.”
Leonard Cohen

“The best poet in America.”
Jean Genet

“A laureate of American low life.”

“Bukowski wrote poetry as minimal as a bullet. He could be funny and heartbreaking in the same sentence.”
Colin Waters
sunday Herald

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski is one of America’s best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry when he was thirty-five.

Bukowski acknowledged influences including Anton Chekhov, James Thurber, Knut Hamsun, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Ernest Hemingway, John Fante, D. H. Lawrence and e.e. cummings, though he achieved a distinctive sensibility and voice in his work that set him apart as one of the most iconic writers of the twentieth century.

He died in San Pedro, California, on 9 March 1994, at age seventy-three, having published over forty-five books of poetry and prose.