I think Bukowski is over rated. Though I cannot deny that I enjoy reading both his short stories and his poetry. His style is pleasant, simple and easy to take. Reading Bukowski is freeing, even therapeutic. To read him you must enter his world. He is someone who says, "I will live my way regardless of the consequences. If I feel like staying drunk for three weeks I will. If that means that I end up spending thirty days in jail for disorderly conduct, so be it." There is a part of me that wants to say and do what Bukowski did all his life. Reading his writing allows me to let off some of that negativity vicariously without suffering many of the consequences that Bukowski could not escape.
Bukowski is a sort of American cousin of François Villon, Arthur Rimbaud and Jean Genet.