Charles Bukowski quotes

35 Charles Bukowski Quotes On Life, Work And Love

Bukowski is seen as one of the best-known American authors of all time and takes a central place in the contemporary literary canon. He was such an avid writer, that his works outlived him; multiple copies of his poetry were discovered and published after his death.

Living most of his life in Los Angeles, he worked many jobs to support his writing of short stories. There was an unsettled period of time in which he abandoned writing to drift across America but returned after ten years to begin publishing poetry. In reaction to these experiences that inspired his poetry, Bukowski gained a loyal fanbase particularly with normal people who resonated with his depiction of folks who were downtrodden and struggling.

His most famous work “It Catches My Heart in Its Hands’ was a collection of poems about prostitutes, gamblers, criminals and drug users. Charles Bukowski writing is often comic and realistic, with violent imagery depicting perseverance in a negative society that tries to break you down.


35 Charles Bukowski Quotes:

1. “Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.”

2. “I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.”

3. “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”

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4. “We don’t even ask happiness, just a little less pain.”

5. “I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.”

6. “Regret is mostly caused by not having done anything.”

7. “My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.”

8. “I have one problem, I don’t hate people. They disgust me and I want to get away from them. I do not have hatred. I have an escape mechanism.”

9. “We are like roses that have never bothered to bloom when we should have bloomed and it is as if the sun has become disgusted with waiting”

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10. “I often stood in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get.”

11. “Find what you love and let it kill you.”

12. “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside – remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”

13. “Somebody once asked me what my theory of life was, and I said, ‘Don’t try.’ That fits the writing, too. I don’t try; I just type.”

14. “If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.”

15. “If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.”

16. “People are strange: they are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.”

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17. “I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”

18. “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”

19. “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”

20. “If you get married they think you’re finished and if you are without a woman they think you’re incomplete.”

21. “We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

22. “People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love.”

23. “Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.”

24. “It’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.”

Charles Bukowski Quotes on people

25. “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

26. “You have to die a few times before you can really live.”

27. “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

28. “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

29. “There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.”

30. “There is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock”

31. “Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are”

32. “Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire…. Pain arrives, BANG, and there it is, it sits on you. It’s real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you’ve suddenly become an idiot. There’s no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help”

33. “Some people like what you do, some people hate what you do, but most people simply don’t give a damn.”

34. “You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”

35. “I don’t like the clean-shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions.”



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