Charles Bukowski was a poet born in Germany who moved to South Los Angeles with his parents in 1930. Bukowski's father was abusive and would often hit the young Bukowski, a trauma that stuck with him through his writing days. Bukowski discovered alcohol as a teenager and saw it as a means of escape from his crushing life. In the 1940s, he moved to New York City to become a blue collar worker but in secret, he harbored a dream to become a writer.
When Bukowski was 23, his short story "Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip" was published in Story magazine. Two years later, another short story, "20 Tanks from Kasseldown", was published by the Black Sun Press in Issue III of Portfolio: An Intercontinental Quarterly, a limited-run, loose-leaf broadside collection printed in 1946 and edited by Caresse Crosby. Failing to break into the literary world, Bukowski grew disillusioned with the publication process and quit writing for almost a decade, a time that he referred to as a "ten-year drunk". These "lost years" formed the basis for his later semi-autobiographical chronicles, and there are fictionalized versions of Bukowski's life through his highly stylized alter-ego, Henry ChinaskiThe Laughing Heart