Bukowski Reads Bukowski: Watch a 1975 Documentary Featuring Charles Bukowski at the Height of His Powers

In 1973, Richard Davies direct­ed Bukows­ki, a doc­u­men­tary that TV Guide described as a “cin­e­ma-verite por­trait of Los Ange­les poet Charles Bukows­ki.” The film finds Bukows­ki, then 53 years old, “enjoy­ing his first major suc­cess,” and “the cam­era cap­tures his rem­i­nis­cences … as he walks around his Los Ange­les neigh­bor­hood. Blunt lan­guage and a sly appre­ci­a­tion of his life form the core of the pro­gram, which includes obser­va­tions by and about the women in his life.”

The orig­i­nal film clocked in at 46 min­utes. Then, two years lat­er, PBS released a “heav­i­ly-edit­ed 28-minute ver­sion of the film,” using alter­nate scenes and a rearranged struc­ture. Renamed Bukows­ki Reads Bukows­ki, the film aired on Thurs­day, Octo­ber 16, 1975. And, true to its name, the film fea­tures footage of Bukows­ki read­ing his poems, start­ing with “The Rat,” from the 1972 col­lec­tion Mock­ing­bird Wish Me Luck. You can watch Bukows­ki Reads Bukows­ki above, and find more Bukows­ki read­ings in the Relat­eds below.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Hear 130 Min­utes of Charles Bukowski’s First-Ever Record­ed Read­ings (1968)

Charles Bukows­ki Reads His Poem “The Secret of My Endurance

Tom Waits Reads Charles Bukows­ki

Four Charles Bukows­ki Poems Ani­mat­ed


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