At the end of my trial, I was rather hoping the judge would send me to Australia for the rest of my life ~
Researching drinking and writing (tragically, I am allergic to alcohol and thus hugely envious) I came across this list of the top ten drunk American authors. No real surprises here. Authors have always enjoyed a cold drink on a hot day as much as the next person.
The debate among their ardent and loyal fans that followed is a pretty entertaining bar room brawl …..
Top 10 Drunk American Writers
#10 – RAYMOND CHANDLER [1888-1959]
“Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.”
#09 – FREDERICK EXLEY [1929-92]
“After a month’s sobriety my faculties became unbearably acute and I found myself unhealthily clairvoyant, having insights into places I’d as soon not journey to. Unlike some men, I had never drunk for boldness or charm or wit; I had used alcohol for precisely what it was, a depressant to check the mental exhilaration produced by extended sobriety.”
#08 – HARRY CREWS [1935-2012]
“Alcohol whipped me. Alcohol and I had many, many marvelous times together. We laughed, we talked, we danced at the party together; then one day I woke up and the band had gone home and I was lying in the broken glass with a shirt full of puke and I said, ‘Hey, man, the ball game’s up’.”
#07 – JACK KEROUAC [1922-69]
“As I grew older I became a drunk. Why? Because I like ecstasy of the mind.”
#06 – JACK LONDON [1876-1916]
“I was carrying a beautiful alcoholic conflagration around with me. The thing fed on its own heat and flamed the fiercer. There was no time, in all my waking time, that I didn’t want a drink. I began to anticipate the completion of my daily thousand words by taking a drink when only five hundred words were written. It was not long until I prefaced the beginning of the thousand words with a drink.”
#05 – F. SCOTT FITZGERALD [1896-1940]
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
#04 – EDGAR ALLAN POE [1809-49]
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
#03 – Tie: WILLIAM FAULKNER [1897-1962] & DOROTHY PARKER [1897-1967]
““There is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others. But a man shouldn’t fool with booze until he’s fifty; then he’s a damn fool if he doesn’t.” —Faulkner
“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.” -Parker
#02 – Tie: ERNEST HEMINGWAY [1899-1961] & HUNTER S. THOMPSON [1937-2005]
“An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.” – Hemingway
“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” – Thompson
#01 – CHARLES BUKOWSKI [1920-94] — READERS’ CHOICE!
“Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you’re allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It’s like killing yourself, and then you’re reborn. I guess I’ve lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.”
User Comments – Add a Comment
JOhn – 2008-01-07 23:44:56
I’m sorry. Buk should be #1 or #2. git drunk!!!
Dean Z – 2008-01-07 23:46:06
What– only 10?
Doctorbaronking – 2008-01-08 02:14:58
Are you fucking kidding me? Where the hell is Hunter Thompson???
Tapiwa – 2008-01-08 02:29:10
I drink to make other people seem more interesting. — George Jean Nathan
Degriz – 2008-01-08 05:06:11
So wheres Thompson? “A man makes a beast of himself to free himself from the pain of being a man”
Zac – 2008-01-08 05:20:20
What about Hemmingway?
Jimbob – 2008-01-08 06:45:34
Hemmingway is at number 1. You drunk.
AJ – 2008-01-08 06:49:51
i am sorry but this list is definately incomplete without hunter s thompson in the no. 1 place
Gonzo for ever. – 2008-01-08 07:07:51
Come on, you have left out one of the most alcohol ridden writers of our generation. The Great Shark Hunt, Hells Angels, so many columns for Rolling Stone. Poetry, prose, madness, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. We are talking Hunter S Thompson.
Sparky – 2008-01-08 08:03:48
C’mon. Eugene O’Neill
god’s own drunk – 2008-01-08 08:16:35
This is a decent start but I would also add Raymond Carver, Sinclair Lewis, Truman Capote, Stephen Crane, Herman Melville and John Steinbeck. Hunter S. Thompson was a good drunk but so much more – the guy dabbled a little bit into everything! He’s definitely in his own category!
beat beat beat – 2008-01-08 08:16:42
well considering edgar allan poe was the only one who died of alcohol poisoning in a gutter, he should be number one. kerouac and faulkner close behind.
Anonymous – 2008-01-08 08:23:21
WHERE THE HELL IS HUNTER THOMPSON???? WHO WROTE THIS LIST??????????? Honestly, hunter thompson goes under the first 3, for sure!!
Read Closer – 2008-01-08 08:24:31
“A man makes a beast of himself to free himself from the pain of being a man” That was Dr Samuel Johnson, not Hunter S.Thompson.
Gonzo – 2008-01-08 09:07:36
DougM – 2008-01-08 09:12:08
Second the motion for Hunter Thompson. Don’t forget Stephen King. He had it BAD (along with cocaine.) He doesn’t remember writing Cujo. The Tommyknockers was about his drug habit, and The Shining was about his alcoholism.
Justsomeguy – 2008-01-08 09:42:19
Hunter S. Thompson is number 1 you idiots. Try reading.
Jim? – 2008-01-08 09:56:46
Where is Jim Morrison? He deserves the place on this list.
Bob – 2008-01-08 10:31:15
You got find room for John Cheever.
stampeedo – 2008-01-08 10:48:18
Jim Morrison shouldn’t be anywhere on this list.
Anonymous – 2008-01-08 12:41:58
“Where is Jim Morrison? He deserves the place on this list.” He’s not on there because he can’t write for shit.
The Dark Corridor – 2008-01-08 14:32:09
Actually, Beat, Poe died in a hospital in Baltimore. Kerouac however died on his couch of a stomach hemorrhage while having his first drink of the day and watching The Galloping Gourmet, one of this favorite TV programs.
Anonymous – 2008-01-08 15:29:22
what about Tennessee Williams?? Choked on a whiskey cap I do believe….?
Mike – 2008-01-08 15:35:02
Stop bitching about Hunter S. Thompson not being on the list, you people are obnoxious, just like Thompson, he wasn’t a drunk he was a drug addict.
drunk drunk catholic – 2008-01-08 16:08:50
“A man makes a beast of himself to free himself from the pain of being a man” was Dr Jonhson…. Hunter S used it in Fear & Loathing in LV
Uhmmm – 2008-01-08 16:55:58
Where the heck is Dylan Thomas? Didn’t the man die of alcohol poisoning in a Greenwich Village street?!
Johnny Scorpio – 2008-01-08 17:21:53
Jim Morrison should NOT be anywhere near this list, this is about writers, not wanky pretentious ‘poetry’ that could be tossed off by angsty adolescents. Your idolatory blinds you to his merit.
david – 2008-01-08 18:23:25
Tennessee Williams choked on a cap to a medicine bottle. And he was sober, blame child-proof packaging. He drank a lot, but was more of a pill-popper before his near-decade-long stint in a sanatorium.
ilovebonnie.net – 2008-01-08 19:18:09
Hunter S. wasn’t so much of a drunk as he was a drug user. Not saying that’s a bad thing, just trying to provide accurate information
salmon h peele – 2008-01-08 19:58:05
football in the groin! football in the groin! it works on so many levels!
boracho of limerick – 2008-01-08 20:49:07
You drunk! HST is tied at No. 1 with Hemingway. i don’t see any reason why some here are whining on the choices. go make ur own list.
zevgoldman – 2008-01-08 21:43:34
Drinking didn’t make one of these guys a better writer any more than drinking makes one a better driver. If anything the booze kept them from achieving their finest work. Imagine what that would have been like. Booze kills the creative creature before it kills the human creature.
jay – 2008-01-08 22:55:07
“Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.” — Mark Twain
Ali – 2008-01-08 23:42:08
To all of you who were outraged by the exclusion of Hunter Thompson, the first writer I thought of was the Good Doctor. I clicked the link specifically to make sure he was on the list. To whomever wrote this list…You’re lucky that we Gonzo savages don’t make an example of you!
Ben – 2008-01-09 01:33:31
Actually, I believe Jim Morrison should be on this list. He may seem arrogant in all of poems but he is a great lyricist. His poems are crap, but they work as songs. His egotism if perfect for a Top Drunk. In his later life, I don’t think he ever experienced a sober moment.
Crystal – 2008-01-09 01:45:21
No Richard Brautigan?
blitzi – 2008-01-09 10:21:50
The Triguy – 2008-01-10 05:45:40
What, no women? There must be one or two who would feel right at home next to any one of these guys. Best line I heard which was turned into a bumber sticker: Get drunk and be somebody!
conor – 2008-01-10 07:26:27
Joyce was Irish. If you were to do an Irish list it would need to be a top 100.
Tom – 2008-01-10 08:18:53
Well… that was easy. Now, name ten writers who weren’t drunks.
B-chill – 2008-01-10 12:27:21
Hunter – 2008-01-10 14:39:07
Where is Truman Capote?
earnest hemingway’s typist – 2008-01-10 22:06:12
Crystal, thank you. Brautigan is my homey. He should be on every list.
Baboso – 2008-01-11 12:24:56
Why isn’t Ron Paul on the list?! Cheated AGAIN! Goddamn Diebold conspirators.
Alley – 2008-01-11 13:05:16
I do believe Tennessee Williams should have made it – in addition to being epicly tormented, the man died swallowing a bottle he mistook for a pill, come on. What does a man have to do to be remembered
Tara – 2008-01-11 13:25:45
To all of you who didn’t have the wherewithal to realize that Thompson is actually tied for first, I can almost guarantee that you haven’t read any of his works. Even if you have, clearly you don’t have the capacity to understand any of them. Without “Where the Buffalo Roam” and “Fear and Loathing …” I’m sure you would have never even heard of him. Don’t base your heroes on the fact that they glorify drugs. Pick up a book, losers.
Willy – 2008-01-11 18:50:25
Forget Thompson. What about Malcolm Lowry. Read “Under The Volcano”.
Anonymous – 2008-01-12 10:55:00
um, so yeah . . . look closely, really closely . . . tap your left foot three times, flick your right ear lobe and read the full title of #2 to make HST MAGICALLY APPEAR!
Jacob Russell – 2008-01-14 15:12:17
Hey, gotta have at least ONE woman: Dorthy Parker!
Anonymous – 2008-01-14 16:42:48
I hate to be an awful pedant but a tied number 2 makes the next placing 4th.
Jack Tyler – 2008-01-14 17:53:40
Jesus! Hunter S. Thompson is on the list, for Chrissake. He tied for second with Ernest Fucking Hemingway. What are you, drunk?
lovejahlive – 2008-01-14 18:07:54
Jim Morrison: Why do I drink? so that I can write poetry. Sometimes when it’s all spun out everything recedes into a deep sleep there is an awakening. All that remains is true. Forgive me Father for I know what I do. I want to hear the last poem of the last poet.
Susan – 2008-01-14 19:25:08
Definitely Hunter S. Thompson should be here.
Sam T – 2008-01-15 09:13:09
Many posters needed to look up the definition of American. A clue: Irish and Welsh and not subsets.
Freddy Lorca and the Crickets – 2008-01-16 13:01:17
I second Raymond Carver.
blc – 2008-01-18 13:31:59
Where’s hunter thompson? I’m kidding, I’m kidding.
j.s.vink – 2008-01-19 09:41:49
ever heard of john cheever ? the sorows of gin pulitzer prize in 79
Harry. from Australia. – 2008-01-19 14:33:52
Face the truth, Hunter Thompson was a dirty little creep, a no-talent drug addicted con merchant who actually shot himself with young relatives in the next room. What a bloody hero!
Mike – 2008-01-19 23:57:06
“Face the truth, Hunter Thompson was a dirty little creep, a no-talent drug addicted con merchant who actually shot himself with young relatives in the next room. What a bloody hero!” Wow. Read a book. HST created a new kind of journalism.
jasmine – 2008-01-20 01:57:23
this is really nice article n great collection of writers’ pictures thanx for sharing it jasmine
hodgey1972 – 2008-01-20 13:06:32
both the fante’s loved a drink father and son amention for them too please
Ed – 2008-01-22 08:15:43
Dylan Thomas?? The an died after a reputed 18 glasses of whisky…
Chris – 2008-01-22 13:09:20
Great list!! As accompaniment, how ’bout the Top Ten Drinking and Driving Songs of All Time?
Its Me GLW – 2008-01-22 19:35:40
I was drinking my 3rd jim beam and diet coke when I read these quotes. Insight, yes.
Animus – 2008-01-23 09:39:36
I thought it was a pretty good list. Did the HST fans only look at the pics? Malcom Lowry would be a good addition except that he was Canadian. When you look at how young many of these writers were at death and consider that many had done their best work well before dying, it gives the impression that alcohol did little if anything positive for the writing. Crews is still alive and functioning because he quit drinking in ’87
J- – 2008-01-23 13:05:42
The best English professor I ever had once said, ‘American literature floats on whiskey.’ I agree with him. What do all of our greatest writers have in common? They were all drunks. So to Zev, who said that the drinking inhibited them, I completely disagree. Go write something, then get drunk and start writing. That’s when shit gets real. I mean, the editing process afterward should be done sober, but the I’m telling you, alcohol induces words.
MeOMy – 2008-01-25 00:25:55
Don’t fret babies. If ya look a little closer, you all will see that Hunter S. Thompson is in the numer 2 spot.
Anonymous – 2008-01-25 11:45:34
Thompson is in the list you fuckin morons.
Fritz – 2008-01-26 16:31:32
I disagree with those who think these writers were great despite and not because of their drinking. Writing was the only option to save themselves from being complete and utter failures in life.
Olivia – 2008-01-28 09:39:55
“What, no women? There must be one or two who would feel right at home next to any one of these guys. Best line I heard which was turned into a bumber sticker: Get drunk and be somebody!” Um, hello? Dorothy Parker?
slinkybender – 2008-01-29 14:37:33
Hunter Thompson couldn’t write for shit.
martinis2nite – 2008-01-30 09:34:35
Finally, someone realized Dotothy Parker belongs on the list, “O ne more drink and I’ll be under the host”
kri – 2008-01-30 09:37:32
hell yeah Bukowski! Well deserving of No. 1 indeed.
RevDrDark – 2008-01-31 15:47:01
Dorothy Parker and Anne Sexton would have made nice additions. Poppa and Bukowski should have shared no. 1. HST didn’t drink as much as them; he was more into the substances, although he loved Wild Turkey and Heineken. The list is too America-centric, and all white men. Expand your focus!
compabutch – 2008-02-01 02:56:50
Do quitters count? I think James Lee Burke did brilliant work in the early years, too bad he had to sober up and ruin a promising career. Yeah, and where the hell is Hunter Thompson on this list??? Not drunk enough for yah? Arrrrgh!
Vince Johnson – 2008-02-01 05:41:16
Drinking is how I get through the night. Time moves too slow when I’m sober. Time magically passes quickly when I’m drinking, and I can sleep, and wake up to a new existence and a new day and a new crossword puzzle. And a new pot of coffee.
scruffyboo – 2008-02-01 07:17:02
ok i agree with bukowski, but what about dan fante?
rummy – 2008-02-02 14:47:05
a ‘toast’ to all those who could not get an eyeshot of Hunter S. Thompson’s name in the list.. way to go guys!!!!!
Jane – 2008-02-03 07:58:13
Of course there must be more than ten …. more like hundreds … When is a person actually categorized as a, “Drunk ?”
mikeey “O” – 2008-02-05 11:48:45
the drink was my friend when my friends past out. passing out with a bottle is like a security blanket that just keeps your lips warm.
drink the line – 2008-02-06 13:25:20
dumb ass, Hunter tied for 2nd with Hemingway
Bukowski4President! – 2008-02-06 14:56:19
Bukowski, not only the biggest drunk on the list but the best writer too.
David Lawton – 2008-02-06 15:15:54
Chandler but not Hammett?
Xray Calibur – 2008-02-06 16:16:42
You will not find a lot of carefully crafted witticisms about the drinking life in the Norman Mailer internet archives. That is because he lived it everyday for nearly seven decades. NORMAN MAILER!
henryhunter – 2008-02-09 06:06:31
I didn’t even have to get to the bottom to know Buk would be No1. Nobody comes close.
Anonymous – 2008-02-10 02:36:35
The number one man is a spot on the lung of writers. He writes like he knows what the fuck he’s talking about when really he’s shitting out everything to please those eager to read anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Anonymous – 2008-02-12 17:40:38
Hunter IS there, and so are half the writers you people were too eager to bitch about that you didn’t even notice they were in front of your face. Nice job. Also, if this is a list of who was the best drunk and also an excellent writer, then this is in great order.
jim – 2008-02-13 16:44:54
Before any more dumbasses have a chance to say it, LOOK AT #2, TIED WITH HEMINGWAY! HUNTER EFFING THOMPSON! Either everyone else who posted is drunk off their own asses, or this is just a forum for idiots. #2. Hunter Thompson. Yes, he was a drunk. Yes, he was a writer. Yes, he made the list. IDIOTS!
George – 2008-02-29 23:19:34
You forgot Eugene O’Neill. But so does everybody else.
Karen – 2008-03-08 00:53:46
You cannot add Dylan Thomas because he’s not American . . . . he’s Irish. Now you should make a list of the Top 10 Drunk English/Irish Writers. If you do, please make sure you include Jean Rhys!
Pilgrim – 2008-03-12 20:59:38
Scareist part of this is reading the comments, even scarier if you think they read through the list before commenting. Agree that T Williams and D Thomas are missing. Carson McCullers could make an appearence. Maybe make each number a tie and get twenty into the top ten….
Tyler – 2008-03-18 04:40:32
You’re all fucking idiots who say jim morrison shouldn’t be on this list. Two things, Jim was a writer, who wrote poems, he wrote lyrics. He had a passion for what he did. What he wrote meant a lot to him. So anybody who doesn’t appreciate his writing can fuck off, he probably didn’t care about any of you either. Secondly, a quote from himself in his writings “Why do I drink? So I can write poetry.” Whats the name of this group? Oh yeah its “Top 10 drunk american writers”. You fucking fools. Any ‘award’ with the title “drunk” in it isn’t even that good anyways. So don’t say “jim morrison should be anywhere near this list”. He was famous,a lot of people loved his work. He was american. And a lot of people appreciated what he did more then some people on this list. Your all assholes. goodbye
Alf – 2008-03-19 01:34:42
No, you pissant, “YOU”RE all assholes” I enjoyed the list, but the comments are gold.
Anonymous – 2008-03-20 15:07:30
Dylan Thomas was Welsh, moron.
Amasea – 2008-03-20 18:38:48
To the commenters below, and all those who follow, it appears that this list is changed in response to comments and requests. So stop (ironically, but repetitively) complaining that commenters must be drunk if they didn’t notice their favorite was already on the list or is in an inappropriate spot on the list.
John – 2008-03-29 01:48:03
These comments are awesome. HAHA I love Jim morrison, he should be on list. I am drunk. which fitsts the list PEACE
Comichael – 2008-04-08 07:55:37
MeMe – 2008-04-10 00:23:54
Hunter Thompson for SURE. I mean. . . come on.
superdude – 2008-04-17 23:07:52
Jim Morrison may have been a talented lyricist, but he also might have been a sociopath, so it’s doubtful that anything aside from himself really meant a lot to him.
RodMunday – 2008-04-22 13:42:59
Wasn’t Kerouac Canadian?
Dr. Robert – 2008-05-02 02:42:47
I am definitely in the Top 10 Drunk Canadian Writers http://visionsofcalgary.blogspot.com
Karen L. – 2008-05-15 10:06:23
If you really want the truth, trying reading the Big Book “Alcoholics Anonymous.” by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith among others
pannonica – 2008-06-22 09:30:17
Tyler one day you will get past your dad’s old records and realize that drunk washed up twats like Morrison don’t give a fuck about people who like are dislike them. Go listen to the sprinklers outside or spin one of those Doors records. Who cares I’m a cunt? tout va bien lemon squeezers
Temperance – 2008-06-26 20:15:03
For those of you who can’t read, you have no business commenting on who a top writer is. Hunter Thompson is at number 2 in a tie with Hemingway. Perhaps picture books are more your style.
James – 2008-06-27 10:26:53
This sucks, you left off Hunter. What are you smoking, idiots, you are not worth anything, and Hunter is downing a fifth and pissing of you. fools!!
w/n/h – 2008-07-14 14:30:15
William Styron, anybody? Truman Capote? Tennessee Williams? Be serious people, if a writer doesn’t drink I’m not sure I’m all that interested in reading them. But kudos to Exley. I miss him most.
mike – 2008-08-13 17:19:27
Funny that so many comment writers here don’t see the quote from Hunter Thompson. Was his quote added later — like, after the comments? Or do they, like me, like to surf the net after they’ve been drinking for several hours.
Andii – 2008-09-23 00:42:18
Was it Oscar Wilde? “I like drinking. I find drinking alcohol produces all the effects fo drunkeness.” or something a lot like that.
Doctor Modesto – 2008-10-31 23:27:12
The thing that most people may be unaware of when in comes the question of Jim Morrison’s inclusion is that he didn’t write any of the Door’s hits. Many people would be surprised to note how many of their favorite Door’s songs were written by Robbie Krieger. In fact, Krieger wrote their only #1 song, Light My Fire. Hardly anyone would have heard of the Doors or Jim Morrison if their reputation was based on Morrison’s poetry and song writing ability.
kmaas – 2008-11-10 07:29:24
Hunter S Thompson is there among Hemingway
syd – 2008-11-16 09:17:20
jack kerouac should be, without doubt, closer to number 1.
dan – 2008-12-04 11:13:46
in a pool of my own vomit – 2008-12-06 05:11:35
hey jack asses… hunter s thompson is # 2 with hemingway… i guess they got #1 right though
MBR 200 – 2008-12-11 10:00:58
Raymond Carver…… this list reads like a freshman year bookstore purchase
Ashley – 2009-01-29 15:27:15
shit im not on there….jk………….i drnk but im not an author….☺☺
Udo Bukowski – 2009-02-12 10:01:05
Where the hell are Charles Bukowski’s main influences – John “Fellowship of the Grape” Fante and Henry Miller?
Harlan Quinn – 2009-02-18 02:29:50
I am baffled by all the people bitching about HST. He’s clearly on the list. He’s tied with someone else but on there nonetheless. Read the captions in addition to looking at the pictures! You’ll find it very helpful in not looking like an idiot! Also…this is a list of drunk AMERICAN writers. No Dylan Thomas therefore, sorry. He was a great poet and a great drunk but, alas, not American. Having said all that: Hart Crane,John Berryman. Two that are also deserving of being on the list I’d say.
Robert digital – 2009-02-27 23:22:29
Wheres Norman Mailer at he’s a drunk…
jane – 2009-03-16 15:14:21
okay, so Dylan Thomas was a poet, but he happens to be my favorite drunk death. it was at the White Horse Tavern in the village of new york city. his last words were, “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record . . .”
Ditolar – 2009-03-20 00:28:02
You fucking yanks! As dumb as calling yourself like the owner of 2 continents “America”, (by the the way your fucking has no name), you worship drunk fucking bastard u ignorant fucks. Luv U
wilkes east – 2009-03-26 10:38:52
Hunter s. Thompson is # 2 with ERNEST HEMINGWAY, losers
Puddin’ – 2009-04-05 11:25:12
As is Dorothy Parker. Like Hunter S. Thompson, her picture is not present, although her words are. It seems clear that many of the “readers” look at the pictures first, and sometimes last.
Lioness – 2009-04-05 11:34:30
To be perfectly fair, the people who put the “Top Ten” list together rounded up to an even dozen, so perhaps illiteracy, or at least innumeracy, is inherent in the premise.
Angie – 2009-06-04 15:08:04
Ha Buk should be 1-10!
Ix – 2009-06-19 23:06:42
I just wanted to throw another couple of names out there for your consideration. Thorne Smith is probably best known for the Topper series, but I think his best work is probably The Stray Lamb. He is said to have never written a word whilst sober. Li Bai or Li Po is considered to be one of the greatest Chinese poets in history. He was also said to have been an incredible drinker, and it is told that he died by drowning in a river while trying to embrace the reflection of the moon.
Carol – 2009-06-28 18:51:25
Add Chinese poet Li Po – not American, but a drunken poet.
Aaron – 2009-07-06 20:10:57
Fhck you guys! Where’s Hunter S. Thompson!!!!!!!?
Houston-I-Have-A-Problem – 2009-07-24 20:57:25
Hunter S. Thompson (the good doctor) definately should have his own category at number 1 or at least top 5 on this list. And Jim Morrison was an amazing writer as well, unfortunately without not much printed work ignorant folk will always discredit him… “I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos-especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom… Rather than starting inside, I start outside and reach the mental through the physical.” ~ Jim Morrison “I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.” ~ Jim Morrison
Justin – 2009-08-23 17:18:23
Jack London is #1. Because he was the first (except Poe. Where the hell is he? And Faulkner? And Steinbeck?) (…I’m writing my MA Thesis on American Alcoholic writers….)
[Editor’s Note: Poe is listed at No. 4, Faulkner at No. 3 and Jack London, No. 6. We did not have room to include Steinbeck.]
tony – 2009-08-24 01:25:37
Jim Morrison should be number 1 on this list!
Lord Stradmor – 2009-09-30 10:33:17
Whither P J O’Rourke? “If you are young and you drink a great deal it will spoil your health, slow your mind, make you fat – in other words, turn you into an adult.” “The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to.” “Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.”
juan estota – 2009-10-01 16:34:26
Dylan Thomas? Anne Sexton? Robert Lowell? James Baldwin?
JoshKarl – 2009-10-07 08:33:54
I’d have to push for Raymond Carver. Hospitalized something like five times in one year for his alcoholism. And is there a “top ten of the world” rather than “american” because Malcolm Lowry probably deserves top spot
Eggtooth – 2009-10-17 15:13:21
definitely Malcom Lowrey…(tho he’s English)…he made a career of drunkenness….and “Under the Volcano” has some of the best “lost time” sequences in all of writing. Morrison wasn’t a great poet…and “Gonzo” was a serious drunk…the pills were just garnish.
Carl Jacobsen – 2009-11-02 16:08:20
Sometimes I Do not understand you Americans? Jack London, one of your best world renown writers, You do not even seerm to know him –
Carl Jacobsen Norway – 2009-11-02 16:43:21
Nobody has mentioned Joseph Conrad – what is this?
noontide – 2009-11-14 03:18:00
Great list and comments. I am not sure where I would put Morrison on this list, but to all the people doubting him…suck it and learn to appreciate art. To Dr. Modesto who claims he did not write any of the hits…you are a fool. He wrote most of the songs. look no further to the first song on their first album “Break on Through” to the last song on the last “Riders on the Storm” I could name countless more. Now for two beautiful quotes from the man who seems to split people’s opinions on his qualities as a poet: “Do you know we are being led to slaughters by placid admirals and that fat slow generals are getting obscene on young blood?” “Do you know how pale & wanton thrillful comes death on a stranger hour unannounced, unplanned for like a scaring over-friendly guest you’ve brought to bed Death makes angels of us all & gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws No more money, no more fancy dress This other kingdom seems by far the best until its other jaw reveals incest & loose obedience to a vegetable law I will not go Prefer a feast of friends To the Giant family” Both of these are from his poem “An American Prayer” which can be found in the book American Night. It is different than the album An American Prayer. All right, that’s enough. It’s just frustrating when people doubt his talents. All right one more “Now is blessed the rest remembered”
Jamezboat – 2009-11-24 07:04:55
Hunter is here for goodness sake. Truman Capote is a notable loss.
C Dub – 2010-03-28 22:08:23
To those who think Hunter S. Thompson wasn’t a drunk and only did drugs…you need to read your authors biographies again. He probably drank more than most of these other authors combined AND did drugs. And he didn’t drink sissy drinks like some, mostly 101 proof Wild Turkey.
Derek – 2010-04-22 21:26:57
For those who say Morrison shouldn’t be on the list. Fine. He didn’t write literature and didn’t aspire to write literature. He was interested in poetry and music. With that being said i bet he would out-drink any of these people, since we are talking about drinking, and had more of an influence on culture outside of people who do read (no one reads anymore haha. its a shame). If you dismiss Morrison as nothing but a talentless “rock star” YOU are the fool. I gauruntee all you motherfuckers would trade heart and soul to have half of the writing ability he has. Enough said. If you don’t believe me buy a copy of American Night. That is some deep shit.
Shitfaced – 2010-05-25 01:15:36
For all you retarded fucks who keep asking “where is HUNTER S. THOMPSON.” He is fucking tied for fucking second. Read the whole fucking name title not just the first word, doesn’t it seem a little suspicious that some name titles are longer than the others. The people know a days are not to lazy to read a page but to lazy to realize there is an extra name in the title. It’s a sad sight
dlsmith – 2010-06-12 17:27:42
Cornell Woolrich deserves an honorable mention.
gotsta go with carver as well – 2010-06-25 23:56:42
and who ever complained about no women, Dorothy Parker was a woman, I am fairly certain
Sean Adams – 2010-06-29 09:28:03
it must run in the blood because most writers I know love a good drink helps the creative vibes flow …
Aimee Maher – 2010-07-21 20:01:16
Kudos to those who were paying attention, but the rest of you? This easily makes my top 10 list of “The Most Idiotic Comment Threads Ever Recorded.” Half of you you can barely type. You’re like monkeys banging two rocks together. For those who had the audacity to pretend they know anything about what goes into crafting a novel, or to suggest any of the writers in this list were not talented–you are complete and utter morons who should light your keyboards on fire and duct tape your hands. *Cheers*
deez nutts – 2010-08-16 18:26:46
Buck is for sure #1 i was stoked to see him at the right spot when i look at this page
William Nycum – 2010-09-21 14:50:16
Alcohol rehab centers? Is this page merely a ploy to get people to check into a rehab? HA!
monster – 2010-10-06 00:47:24
writers that are drunk?
Rhian – 2010-10-20 08:22:49
Please can we just get this straight – Dylan may have been visiting America at the time of his death but he was not an American. He was Welsh, born in Swansea and, when not staying in digs in London for work, lived in a fair few properties across South and West Wales. The Boathouse at a Laughnarne being one of his most notable residences and is today a museum to his life and work. I find it pretty astonishing that someone could consider themselves a fan and be affronted that he hasn’t been included in this list, and yet not know something as significant as his nationality. Have you never heard recordings of him reading his work? It’s not an American accent is it?! We’re very proud of him in Wales (despite some of his less honorable activities) so please stop claiming him as an American (or as Irish for that matter!) Diolch, Rhian.
Anonymous – 2010-10-23 01:04:36
Well, I see the logic in not including Thompson, he was certainly a drunk, but I’m not so sure I would call him a “writer.”
RTChiru – 2010-11-01 21:19:10
Jim Morrison deserves a spot…if songwriting is taken into account..” The time to hesitate is through” Take him.
Cfrench – 2010-11-16 09:57:37
Are you all drunk? Hunter is tied with Ernie!
Sam – 2010-11-25 23:16:50
Pissed about the guy who’s attributing the Samuel Johnson quote to Hunter S. Thompson.
jake – 2010-11-28 01:18:53
wow this is great but im not sure why
jake – 2010-11-28 23:57:11
this is awesome and im not sure why
EM – 2010-12-01 22:45:24
Hunter S. Thompson really is overrated, his life is interesting but his writing isn’t that great. I’ve read him, as most of the people haven’t that are posting. His style was cool and unique (no one can deny that) but his writing isn’t as iconic as people make him out to be. Kerouac is the same way. He is adequate but surfed on the wave of the times.
yaddaboom – 2010-12-15 17:13:08
CJ Plourde – 2010-12-17 00:15:41
I think you forgot Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton! Lowell, was THE lush of his century.In fact, many who loved him emulated his style by becoming drunks themselves!
Joseph – 2010-12-21 22:12:54
There is some kind of irony in all the idiots saying Where’s Hunter Thompson, when he is on the list. I agree with the choice for Bukowski @ No. 1 spot- he didn’t just drink and write, and he drank and wrote about drinking. The rest were trying to be “literary,” and Thompson? I love him, but he was full of shit.
Mike – 2011-01-04 13:47:44
Hunter S Thompson is Tied for Second Place people Relax!!! Take a second Look!!
Jesus Potato – 2011-01-10 21:44:15
Obviously internet comments are a place to share lunacy, wrongfully gotten ideals, and dip-shit ignorance. However, I believe Hunter S. Thompson spilled more drink than all the others on this list combined.
Nancy – 2011-01-12 18:11:56
So sad! To live in a lucid nightmare that ends in impairment and death…for what?
craismith – 2011-01-22 09:42:45
enough of you people were drunk enough when you read this list and commented that you didnt notice the numerological arrangement. BUKOWSKI is NO.1 as he should be and all the rest that follow are just wanna be’s trying to fill his shoes! as his grave marker says “DON’T TRY”! just my opinion. KISSES!!
hotpocket – 2011-01-23 05:42:05
Nancy dear, sounds like you need a drink. I’m buying. *hiccup*
J.D. Roa – 2011-01-24 01:27:06
LOL poe would be that one guy at the party in the corner, near the stereo.
Liam – 2011-02-11 10:10:13
He may not be American, but Joyce was drinking buddies with Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and he nearly fucking invented Thompson’s and Kerouac’s style.
Anonymous – 2011-02-18 22:41:23
Claiming that one being, thought or essence is greater or lesser than another is the true epitome of ignorance. Words are used to express the inner consciousness which we struggle to communicate in other forms of communication. No, do not “read a book”…understand.
besotten – 2011-02-19 07:35:48
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody, if he can help it.” “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs, one step at a time.” ~ Mark Twain
bunker – 2011-02-22 16:13:47
Where is Hunter S. Thompson, he’s at least top 3 material!!!
sam – 2011-03-02 18:39:48
to all those dumb asses out there, thompson is no 2 on the list, tided with hemmingway, where he should be. just because you’ve heard only of thompson, doesnt mean he has to be top of the list. i thought it was a fairly good list. i would like to see a hellrazors list, harris, burton, reed, otoole, nickelson, hooper, etc…
Rob Delmonico – 2011-04-13 10:07:09
As a side note to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s comment, Hemingway’s response to Fitzgerald’s sobriety is great too. He says something like you should toss you balls in the sea if you have any balls left.
John – 2011-06-07 15:14:57
Aside from the obvious (Hunter S. Thompson), what about Fredric Brown? Actually, most writers, as we all have some serious issues.
Enervantes – 2011-08-09 14:42:22
Where’s Hunther S. Thompson?
Mel – 2011-10-12 18:13:59
Has anyone else noticed that Raymond Carver’s DOB and DOD are incorrect?
Mike Cornelison – 2011-10-12 18:21:47
Unpublished Guy – 2011-10-12 20:43:26
Drunk writers are sturdier than drunkards in the other arts. http://www.unpublishedguy.com/WritingandPublishingFiction/651/amy-and-dying-young-writers-and-poets
Iain Robb – 2011-11-02 05:42:40
Where’s Hart Crane? Considering he committed suicide while drunk, by jumping off a boat, or at least suffering violent alcohol withdrawal at the time, he should be in the top 5, especially considering he was leagues above Bukowski as a poet.
al – 2011-11-10 01:22:41
bukowski definitely numero uno. when asked, “what’s your favorite glass of wine?” he replied, “the first one.”
Brian – 2011-12-01 03:22:45
Great list but where is Truman Capote?
I can read. – 2011-12-03 17:17:42
You are all drunk. Hunter Thompson is #2
readcloser – 2011-12-14 11:57:36
FYI Hunter Thomas is there tied with Ernest Hemingway. You would have noticed if you guys weren’t all drunk!
james – 2011-12-16 02:15:56
I’ve like to see Jim Morrison here, lots of these writers would like it too
joeburt – 2012-01-08 19:46:03
Degriz- he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man- Samuel Johnson
Bmore bartender – 2012-01-10 11:01:18
Dylan Thomas should be on that list. Definitely toward the top. His last words were “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies……I think that’s the record.”
Allen Hamm – 2012-01-11 10:25:44
I use drink beer and wine and meet lovely lady take her moon night swim but when she git nude in water she pass out in warm water. I like have sexy lady fool around me in swimming pool when there drunk. mmm fun
Sophiana – 2012-02-28 12:14:15
oh my god they are sooooooooooooooo drunk em Victoria author
Bannie – 2012-03-31 21:27:09
I laughed and laughed at the sots who whined and wailed about no Hunter S. Thompson. My ex-husband should be on this list: He’s become his own worst nightmare.
Noelle – 2012-04-12 06:57:10
You forgot Stephen King. He said he doesn’t really remember writing his early books. He only became sober after he was in an accident where he was walking and was hit by a car.
wclay – 2012-10-29 19:44:00
Bravo Willy (2008-01-11 18:50:25) for your suggestion of Malcolm Lowry “Under the Volcano”. At least someone’s a reader here. I believe Lowry lost an entire novel, likely as a result of drinking, his cabin on Dollarton Hwy. North Vancouver burned with the manuscript.
IM NOT GIVEN MY REAL NNAME – 2012-11-12 22:05:15
LISTNEN FIRSUT I THINK THAT UALL ARE ALL ASS HOLE WHERDS IS RAYMOND CARVER ON HERE HW WAS A BIGGER ALCOHASIL FUKC ALCOHOLIC THAN ANYTOF THESE GUYS WHOOO PARTYYTYTYT GET FDRUKN!!!!!!!
Jesse Kaellis – 2012-11-29 00:35:14
Rebuttal Yes, Hunter was a disappointment. He painted himself into a corner. He created a monster and he didn’t have the fortitude to step back, or let go. He was surrounded by enablers, who put on a shameful display at his funeral service. I’m thinking particularly of Johnny Depp here. But guess what? In regard to his killing himself with his son and his daughter-in-law in the house, and with his wife on the phone; there is nobody more self centered and selfish than a drug addict. Mailer was seduced by celebrity and Hemingway as well. All successful writers are vulnerable. They become parodies of themselves. Hunter wrote the same book for the last twenty years of his life. He became a clown and those Hollywood vampires fed off him. When I lived in Vegas me and my drug addict/alcoholic cronies idolized Thompson. He had the money to get away with that shit for a lot longer than I did. Somewhere I grew up and got out and his destroyed talent doesn’t mitigate what he became. And all those lame, phony siphons that egged him on are left to spout off effusively about what a great man and writer he was while they lived vicariously through his self destruction. And call it art instead of degradation.
Sleepless in San Francisco – 2012-12-15 12:11:57
You have missed 2 of the Greatest Drunk American Writers: Rico Austin in “My Bad Tequila” with the quote “You’ll see the true reflection of me when the Tequila bottle is empty,” I shouted out to the wind as I tossed the sad, angry bottle shaped mirror to the sea.” Hunter S. Thompson should be added to this list as well.
Anonymous – 2013-01-25 00:13:45
You damn drunks, H.S.Thompson is tied for #2.
Ottis B. Whackenbush – 2013-01-25 00:14:38
I don’t know when this list might have been updated but …. hey you mindless and narrow sighted shells of humanity, Hunter is right up there on the list at number 2 tied with Hemingway. We sit here glorifying there drunken lives when most of them were enabled by the publishers that paid them to write in the first place. Think how much more beautiful work we might have gotten from them if they had only been helped to control the demon which gave them their inspiration.
gozion – 2013-01-25 01:52:18
carson mcCullers really oughta be on that list somewhere, tied with someone…
Lizard King – 2013-03-27 01:41:04
I love these Intellectual prudes who bash Jim Morrison’s writing with ease. I don’t know what writing means to you, but in terms of observation and honesty, Morrison deserves any readers respect- and perhaps a second glance.
CLAY – 2013-06-21 01:05:04
I drink to make my GF beautiful!
G – 2013-07-12 20:48:56
If you all actually read this, you’d see that hunter was tied for number 2.
Ciccio – 2013-08-15 11:18:47
John Steinbeck. John Cheever. Raymond Carver.
MGailey_Author – 2013-10-01 05:02:02
I wonder just how much of great writing has been penned under the influence. Does that speak to the writer or to the reader? For all that matter, I wonder how much reading has been done in a similar state? Personally, I do not drink when I read. It is irresponsible.
Dry – 2013-10-01 09:23:27
Is this was a Contemporary American list, Augusten Burroughs (retired drinker…wrote about it in Dry), and Bret Easton Ellis (though wouldn’t consider him an alcoholic) would definitely be on it. I love some of the quotations that succinctly describe the states one may get into dancing with the drink.
Salinas411 – 2013-12-28 17:24:05
And John Steinbeck is where??? The list cannot be complete without him!
Dr. David – 2014-01-03 22:03:56
William Styron. (Dlan Thomas was Welsh.)
Dr. David – 2014-01-04 23:25:22
BTW, did I miss anyone else’s proposals of Eugene O’Neill or John O’Hara?
Kel – 2014-01-31 04:35:31
Wow! He is my first choice first…CHARLES BUKOWSKI [1920-94] really got it.
Jim – 2014-05-25 17:03:56
John Cheever, John Cheever, John Cheever!
[Editor’s Note: I remember John Cheever for just two things: His short story “The Swimmer,” which was turned into an amazing film starring Burt Lancaster and that Seinfeld episode where they find the letters at the cabin detailing Cheever’s love affair with Susan’s dad. Oh yeah, Kramer accidentally burns down the cabin when he goes swimming in the lake and leaves behind a lit Cuban cigar.]
BDR – 2014-05-30 22:48:23
I agree with Thompson
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