I went to look for Bukowski poems and found a film of him kicking a woman and calling her a whore, complete with canned laughter.
Underneath the clip, the comments are brutal. Bukowski's face is brutal, and broken.
Someone says they'll throw out his books now they've seen that clip.
Can one seperate the writer from their work? I suppose this argument resurfaces every so often - Ezra Pound, Gunther Grass - writers with dubious political affiliations or loathsome personal lives. Picasso burned one of his wives with cigarettes. Hemingway was a misogynist shit, wasn't he?
Even so, I don't think I can lose Bukowski's work no matter how foul he was. There's a good discussion of his work here.
I can't quite tell - is Bukowski a skewed creep, or is he just so honest it's both awful and sublime? Maybe the key is in being unable to tell, when someone is so openly broken and unsettling, when they are cruel but also sometimes tender, when at last all you can really probably say is that they are human.