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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere: Bukowski exhibit on the way

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Fans of poet Charles Bukowski should begin planning trips to Southern California for an upcoming exhibit of his papers at the Huntington Library. Located on the former estate of railroad mogul Henry Huntington in San Marino (near Los Angeles but with a much tonier ZIP Code), the Huntington Library is known for its significant rare books collection, which includes a Gutenberg Bible. It also now holds the collection of the notoriously hard-drinking, hard-living Bukowski, who died in 1994.

“He wrote about blue-collar workers and about pimps, prostitutes, drunks, gamblers and layabouts,” Sue Hodson, the Huntington’s curator of literary manuscripts, told our blog Culture Monster. “He talked about sex and bodily functions and used all those words our mothers don’t want us to use because he said this was part of life and he was just being honest.”

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Organized in cooperation with widow Linda Lee Bukowski, the exhibit “Charles Bukowski: Poet on the Edge,” will run from Oct. 9 to Feb. 14, 2011. Linda Lee Bukowski has loaned the library personal items to display, to complement the literary collection she donated to the library. The Huntington owns more than 2,700 Bukowski items, including more than 500 books, drafts of poems, a draft of the 1982 novel “Ham on Rye” and a script from the mostly autobiographical film “Barfly.” Fewer than 100 of those items will be on display in the exhibit, but they have all been available to scholars since last summer.

True Bukowski devotees will be able to find his annotated racing forms at the exhibit and then head to the nearby Santa Anita racing track to try his betting system firsthand. And if it fails? Never fear: Santa Anita doesn’t just have horses -- it also has a bar.

-- Carolyn Kellogg


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