Charles Bukowski is one of America’s best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry when he was thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three. During his lifetime he published over forty-five books of poetry and prose—many translated into more than a dozen languages. His worldwide popularity remains undiminished, and Ecco is proud to publish the five posthumous collections of his work (this volume is the fifth and final) in addition to a new selection of his later works, The Pleasures of the Damned.