Who was the better at writing about drinking – Bukowski or Hemingway? While we may never be able to sit and drink with these two creatives in a beer pong match, we can still hypothesize about what a match between these two would have been like. Below I have collated some of the best quotes about drinking from these two writing canons.
Bukoswki Quotes about Writing and Drinking
- We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.
- Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.
- My beer drunk soul is sadder than all the dead Christmas trees of the world.
- I’m just an alcoholic who became a writer so that I would be able to stay in bed until noon.
- When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.
- We really had nothing to do but drink wine and make love.
- “That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”
Hemingway Quotes about Writing and Drinking
Drinkers learn cocktail etiquette many ways, and from many sources, but for my money, there is no better drinking guru than Ernest Hemingway.
- “Don’t bother with churches, government buildings or city squares. If you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.”
- “Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey.”
- “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
- When asked about drinking while working, Hemingway once responded, “Jesus Christ! Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes—and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one.”
- In the postscript to a letter to critic Ivan Kaskin in 1935, Hemingway wrote, “When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky? When you are cold and wet what else can warm you? Before an attack who can say anything that gives you the momentary well-being that rum does?… The only time it isn’t good for you is when you write or when you fight. You have to do that cold. But it always helps my shooting. Modern life, too, is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief.”
- I drink to make other people more interesting.
- Any man who eats dessert is not drinking enough.
- All the contact I have had with politics has left me feeling as though I had been drinking out of spitoons.
- Drinking wine was not a snobbism or a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary.
About Hemingway and Bukowski
Charles Bukowski is one of America’s best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. Charles Bukowski was a prolific underground writer who used his poetry and prose to depict the depravity of urban life and the downtrodden in American society. A cult hero, Bukowski relied on experience, emotion, and imagination in his work, using direct language and violent and sexual imagery. Charles Bukowski was born August 16, 1920, and died of Leukemia on March 9, 1994.
Ernest Hemingway was renowned for novels like The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. In 1954, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize. He committed suicide on July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho. Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations.
In no way do I mean to offend anybody about comparing what Hemingway and Bukowski wrote about drinking. I merely wish to provide some speculative entertainment. I hope you enjoyed or got a slight chuckle out of these.