It’s not uncommon for tourists, some from other countries, to wind up in San Pedro “searching for Bukowski,” as it were.

That would be Charles Bukowski, the hard-drinking, underground poet who became a well-known figure in San Pedro in his later years and is buried at nearby Green Hills Memorial Park.

But there are no monuments to the writer who died in 1994. No plaques, no statues. And that leaves some tourists surprised and disappointed. Bukowski moved to San Pedro in 1978 and was a familiar face at area businesses, including the Vinegar Hill Bookstore, Williams Bookstore, the City Fish Market and Sacred Grounds coffee house.

In 2015, the community celebrated what would have been his 95th birthday with poetry readings, a screening of “Factotum” — a 2005 adaptation of Bukowski’s 1975 novel of the same name — and a Q&A panel.

Now, plans are quickly being developed for renowned San Pedro sculptor Eugene Daub to create a larger-than-life bronze statue honoring the writer, with a goal of having it ready to unveil on Aug. 16, 2020, which would have been Bukowski’s 100th birthday.

The location is yet to be determined, but would be somewhere on Sixth Street where Bukowski spent so much time.

The idea was spearheaded by Angela Romero of the fledgling San Pedro Heritage Museum project, heard about some recent tourists from Germany who came looking for Bukowski memorabilia in San Pedro. She’d like to see the statue at the plaza area on Sixth and Mesa streets, but no specific location is under discussion officially.

“There’s a kinship between Bukowski and San Pedro,” Romero, a local historian, said. 

San Pedro seemed to resonate with Bukowski when he moved from East Hollywood, she said.

“I think it was the distance it gave him from his old life,” Romero said of town’s working waterfront and working-class vibe. “The one thing no one’s been able to bottle is the authenticity that’s here (in San Pedro).”

From the Daily Breeze’s South Bay History column on Oct. 6, 2010:

(Bukowski) populated his writings with loners and drunks carousing in seedy bars, and hardscrabble characters eking out a living on the city’s less-glamorous streets.

In 1978, he moved from East Hollywood to a quiet neighborhood in San Pedro, where he became an increasingly well-known resident until his death on March 9, 1994. He came to love San Pedro’s blue-collar, unassuming atmosphere, even as his celebrity and stature continued to grow.

A launch party to raise the needed $150,000 for the “Bukowski in Bronze” project will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Sacred Grounds coffee house where Bukowski’s poetry will be read and a birthday cake will be shared on what would have been his 99th birthday.

Go FundMe page also has been set up and the office of Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, which is throwing its full support behind the idea, believes the numerous social media pages dedicated to Bukowski — most with a global reach — will bring funding in quickly.

For a project that’s just been announced, there’s already a growing enthusiasm.

What about the rather misogynist bent found in many of his works?

“Bukowski’s not for everyone,” Romero said. “This statue is for his fans and for San Pedro to finally recognize him. He was a great writer.”

Daub already has met with Bukowski’s widow, Linda, who still lives in the house the couple shared, to gather up photographs and ideas.

One thought is to create an interactive piece where fans could sit next to the author and have pictures taken. One early sketch shows Bukowski at his old manual typewriter, a cat — he loved cats — at his feet. But there are other designs being weighed as well.

Daub said after spending time with Bukowski’s wife and going through hundreds of photographs and other memorabilia, he discovered a “warm, personal, kind man.”

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