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John Thomas and Philomene Long

Poems and Prose by Philomene and John

Last Days of John Thomas

The Beats: An Existential Comedy

Laureate at Ceremony

My Philomene

Illuminating the Wasteland

Majid Naficy

Van Gogh's Ear

Kate Braverman

Lynne Bronstein

Lynne Bronstein's Venice Poems

Ballad of Reading Jail

Wanda Coleman

John Kertisz

Stuart Z. Perkoff

John O'Kane

Clair Horner

Eavesdropping on the Boardwalk

Venice Poems

Alan Catlin's poems
on Harry Partch

Novelists, Journalists, Screenwriters, Directors, Actors who live or lived in Venice

Zendik poem:
Buck-or-Two Blues Rap

Gas House beat HQ

GV6: THE ODYSSEY

In Venice CA

 

 

Pillar - last remnant of the Gas House

Pillar next to the former site of the Gas House. In the background: The Fall of Icarus mural by John Wehrle

 

Venice Poets

This is by no means a comprehensive study of Venice poets or poets associated with Venice - there are thousands. No poet should feel insulted because he or she is not noted here, or not covered with completeness. This section is a work in progress, and it had to start somewhere!

Choosing a poet's underlined name from the alphabetical list below will either take you to a different area of the page for more infomation, or in some cases to another page on this website.


Millicent Borges Accardi
Larry Abrams
Linda Albertano
Dolan Andrews
Aya
Anne Alexander
Robert Alexander
Agha Shahid Ali
Shanna Baldwin (later Moore)
Richard Beban
Vince Beck
Molly Bendall
Terry Blackhawk
Millicent Borges
Marcielle Brandler
Kate Braverman
Susie Bright
Lynne Bronstein
Paul Brooks
Derrick Brown
Charles Bukowski
Luis Campos
Exene Cervenka
Neeli Cherkovski
Jeanette Clough
Wanda Coleman
Dennis Cooper
Michael Dahlberg
Catherine Daly
Rick Davidson
Fred Dewey
Robert Duncan
Barbara Einzig
Jenny Factor
Isaac 'Zack' Fields
Bob Flanagan
Bill Fleeman
Carol Fondiller
Charlie Foster
francEye
Amy Gerstler
Steve Goldman
S.A. Griffin
Joe Hansen
John Harris
Jack Hirschman
Clair Horner
Bob Kaufman
John Kenevan
John Kertisz
Karen Kitchell
Jim Krusoe
Maurice Lacy
Gordon Leckenby
Fritz Leiber
Lawrence Lipton
Philomene Long
Gluefish Lou
John Macker
Bill Margolis
Ellyn Maybe
Marty McConnell
Rod McKuen
Taylor Mead
Paul Mena
John Menaghan
William Margolis
Shanna Moore
James Ryan Morris
Gerald George Morrison
Viggo Mortensen
Majid Naficy
Jim Natal
Naomi Nightingale
John O'Kane
Kevin Opstedal
Stuart Z. Perkoff
Holly Prado
Henry Rasof
Steve Richmond
Frank Rios
Linda Schramm-Williams
Tony Scibella
Joanna Silva
Jack Skelley
Frances Dean Smith
George Drury Smith
Patti Smith
Arnold Springer
David St. John
Amber Tamblyn
Telepoem
Manuella Theiss
John Thomas
Philomene Long Thomas
Elizabeth Treadwell
David Trinidad
Alexander Trocchi
Derrik Van Nimwegen
Tom Waits
Benjamin Weissman
Jan Wesley
Philip Whalen
Saul White
Richard Wirick
Josh Woolen


Poets Respond to the War
This event took place on November 24, 2002 at Beyond Baroque, in reaction to the imminent war on Iraq. Participating poets included Wanda Coleman, Austin Straus, James Ragan, Henry Morro, John Harris, Linda Albertano, Jerry Quickley, Lewis McAdams, Michael Datcher, Jenoyne Adams, Dimi Hilal and Sami Shalom Chetrit.

Venice West Cafe
Founded by Stuart Perkoff, later taken over by John and Anna Haag, was on Dudley Avenue.

Sign in the window in a 1964 photo:

NO MORE POETRY! No poetry readings here until further notice due to action by the art-hating anti-intellectual yahoos of the L. A. Police Dept. This case will go to the Supreme Court if necessary. POETS, ARISE! Defend the Oral Tradition

Poetry is what Venice is all about. It ain’t the only thing, but it’s the fundamental thing.
........................old Venice saying

 

 

Linda Albertano
day job: manager of building where Jim Morrison used to live

Robert Alexander
also artist and printer, and heroin addict for a time. Later established the Temple of Man in 1966

Agha Shahid Ali
Kashmiri poet, not local but the subject of a Venice incident reported by Christopher Merrill: He signed books—his own and others—with lavish inscriptions. At lunch in Venice, California, for example, he presented me with a book ….. On the title page, inspired by the sight of all the sleek women in bikinis rollerblading by, he wrote: "we again learn, on the boardwalk, that some hieroglyphs of desire move on wheels."

Dolan Andrews
two books, Scratch Cherpeski, Loving is Becoming. Venice poem is here

Aya
Lived in Venice early 1960s

Richard Beban
Rose Café reading series, "Living Mythically" workshop

Terry Blackhawk
Her poem "On the Mockingbird Singing in the Morning in the Barrio a Few Blocks from the Boardwalk on the Beach in Venice, California" was a runner-up in the 1997 Marlboro Prize poetry competition. Blackhawk went on to found and direct a writers-in-schools program called InsideOut, in Detroit.

Millicent Borges
many years in Venice, relocated to Topanga

Marcielle Brandler
Also a singer and songwriter. Her poems have been translated into Czech, French, Arabic, and Spanish, and have been published in several countries. Has taught English, Literature, Creative Writing, and Critical Thinking at the college level for two decades. Hosted a monthly poetry reading series called "Ambassadors of Delight" for three years; hosts Time Warner Public Access TV show called Marcielle Presents!

Susie Bright
I don't know if Susie Bright writes poetry, but in reviewing a record album she remarked that when she was 14 her father used to take her on Wednesday evenings to a poetry group that met in a shabby room in Venice. People passed around quarts of malt liquor and read their latest work, including a woman with the messiest hair I had ever seen, named Exene Cervenka.

Luis Campos
joined the original Venice Poetry Workshop in 1969.

Neeli Cherkovski
hung out with Venice Beats & Bukowski.

Jeanette Clough
co-facilitator of Hyperpoets reading series at Rose Cafe

Dennis Cooper
director of Beyond Baroque

Fred Dewey
director of Beyond Baroque, "Spirit of Venice" award, Sept. 2005

Robert Duncan
wrote "The Venice Poem" and gave at least one reading at On The Beach Bookstore. Don't know if he ever lived in Venice

Jenny Factor
teacher of poetry at Beyond Baroque

Charlie Foster
Beat scene, early 60s. Foster came from money, went to grad school, served in the Army air corps, was an alcoholic, wrote ad copy, and according to the detailed employment log given by John Arthur Maynard, Foster may have held more different kinds of jobs than any living person. A junkie who hung out with Alexander Trocchi, Foster wrote "The Troubled Makers" which was published in Evergreen Review. Maynard says, "Of all the Venice Beats, only Charlie Foster started out with any substantial advantages in life, and he spent his whole life making sure they would do him no good."

francEye
also known as the bearded witch of Ocean Park and the female Charles Bukowski

Steve Goldman
founder/MC of The Venice Poetry Readings in The New Library, successor/continuation of The Venice Poetry Readings in the Old Jail, after a short 20-year hiatus.

Joe Hansen
co-founder of the Venice Poetry Workshop in 1969

John Harris
co-founder of the Venice Poetry Workshop in 1969

Jack Hirschman
lived in Venice from 1967-71. His first major book of poetry was A Correspondence of Americans. He taught at UCLA and, along with other anti-Vietnam war activities, gave A marks to students eligible for the draft. This got him fired. He studied Kaballah, and as a homelessness activist, was arrested several times. In January of 2006, named Poet Laureate of San Francisco.

Bob Kaufman
The only black Beat poet with a Jewish name, Kaufman was born in New Orleans to a black mother and white father. He was also known as "The Black American Rimbaud" and "The Original Be-Bop Man."

David Meltzer said of him, Bob Kaufman was overtly political, invariably confronting the two policemen on the beat and antagonizing them to the point where they’d beat the shit out of him and take him to jail. Then he’d come back and do it again.

I first heard of Kaufman through being in a screenwriting seminar, at Beyond Baroque, with his wife Eileen. She was writing a screenplay about Kaufman's life and their son was going to play the lead. I'm pretty sure she told me he was dead, and that was in early 1978. In October of '81, I read a review by Kate Braverman of The Ancient Rain, a collection of Kaufman's poems, and she spoke of him in the past tense.

So imagine my surprise on reading in January of 1986 that Bob Kaufman had just died from emphysema at age 60. The explanation of the mystery: apparently he was in the habit of withdrawing from life to such an extent that he might as well have been dead. It is said that Kaufman gave up talking in 1963 and didn't speak again until 1975 when the Vietnam war ended. Andrei Codrescu says, Kaufman did, eventually, talk again and astonished everyone with long poems composed in his mind during the long years of silence.

Then in 1978 Bob Kaufman said, I want to be anonymous - my ambition is to be completely forgotten, and stopped talking again. It may be that he convinced his wife and everyone else to refer to him as no longer living.

John Kenevan
Korean war veteran, painter, poet, who ran the Venice West Café after Perkoff gave it up

Karen Kitchell
Rose Café reading series, also a novelist, teacher of "Living Mythically" workshop

Fritz Leiber
Mainly known as a science fiction writer and as an actor, upon his death Leiber left to the University of Houston more than 60 boxes of his literary effects. Box #38 (one of the 15 boxes of Leiber's own writings) contains an item called "Poetry 1959 - The Beach at Santa Monica from Venice to Malibu."

Lawrence Lipton
Bruno in Venice West and Other Poems was published in 1976 by Venice West Publishers, which happened to be in Van Nuys. The works were selected and arranged by Lipton before his death in 1974. The title poem is dedicated to Giordano Bruno, who was burned by the Inquisition in 1600. This Venice of the West was born a bastard...when business and the arts are mated, money takes the Muse to bed.

Lipton was accused by the Beats of aggrandizing himself and attracting tourists, who rubbernecked their way through Venice just as they would years later through the Haight-Ashbury hippie district of San Francisco. But if nothing else, Lipton was in the right time and right place to save the notebooks of Stuart Perkoff, who was in police custody, when family members cleaned out his house. That alone is sufficient to assure immortality.

I've seen an autographed first edition of Lipton's book The Holy Barbarians offered for sale at around $300. He signed it in 1959 with the inscription, Come to Venice West and make the scene.

John Arthur Maynard wrote of him, "Like most who speak for movements, Lipton had a habit of exaggerating the size of his army….he tended to give the impression that Venice West was full of beatniks, even though he was only talking about two or three dozen people……" (On the other hand, you-know-Who started out with only one dozen.) According to Maynard, Perkoff maintained that Lipton’s book should have been called Holy Horseshit.

He lived at 20 Park, on a walk street fifty yards from Speedway.

Rod McKuen

His poem "Julie" contains the lines, ....so she went away to live in Venice wearing no makeup......but someone should have told poor Julie the Beats have all gone home......

Edwin Markham
Not local, but famous, in 1914 or perhaps 1916 he was scheduled to recite at the auditorium of the Venice Grammar School (Westminster) with rave advance publicity. Markham was known for his short poem, "Outwitted."

He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
But love and I had the with to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.

Taylor Mead
Has been called notorious, infamous and degenerate by peers. In The Beats: An Existential Comedy he wanders around the boardwalk. In another film he descends the circular staircase of an oil storage tank to the tune of "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody." Read at On the Beach Bookstore and other places in mid-60s. Became Warhol Superstar.

Paul Mena
On a website devote to the haiku form, this poem was found:
Venice Beach
body builders
can't stop the rain

Shanna Moore
art director of the Gas House, lived in the cellar of what is now the Morrison with Jimmy Morris and Tony Scibella, left Venice in 1961. Some of her Venice poems are here.

James Ryan Morris
Korean war veteran. Later in Colorado, one of those responsible for newspaper Mile High Underground

Jim Natal
co-host of the HyperPoets weekly reading series at the Rose Cafe'

Kevin Opstedal
born and raised in Venice

Frank Rios
One of the major Beat Era poets. He and his wife bought a 2 bedroom house in 1977 for $65,000, according to a relative.

George Drury Smith
Writer for Argonaut since 1972. Founded Beyond Baroque, directed it for about 12 years. Venice resident till early ‘80s

Patti Smith
poetry reading at the Fox Venice in 1976

David St. John
A 1994 issue of American Poetry Review published an interview conducted by Karen Fish with St. John at his home in Venice, where he had resided for seven years. Indeed the matter of where he lived was uppermost on the poet's mind. When asked how he would prefer to begin, he cited the precedents of the Paris Review and Esquire, which had both recently featured writers talking about the places they inhabited. St. John wanted the article about him to note that he lives with his wife, poet Molly Bendall, and their daughter Vivienne in a 1910 Craftsman bungalow on a historic, palm-lined street in Venice, California.

He added that the fireplace mantel was made from a piece of the original Venice Pier, recovered after the fire. Before that, St. John had lived in an apartment near Muscle Beach in which some members of Suicidal Tendencies and the Eagles had previously lived. It was also near the boardwalk building that was once home to Jim Morrison, now decorated with a large mural depicting the musician.

St. John said that to him the most amazing thing about Venice was the mix of people.

Amber Tamblyn
Young Poets Society, author of Free Stallion, has read locally many times. As creative Influences she names: Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Dennis Hopper, David Lynch, Ed Ruscha, Neil Young, Jack Hirschman, Nathaneal West, Pable Neruda, Dylan Thomas.
I'm coming at poetry from a very old-fashioned era that's more diverse politically.....a lot of older poets talk about what's happened over the ages that might have created the mess we're in now.

Telepoem
In the early 80s or thereabouts, this was a dial-a-poem service that accepted works from which accepted works from local poets. It had a Venice exchange and the Dust Directory listed its address as 230 San Juan Avenue.

Elizabeth Treadwell
Originated a zine called Stilts

Alexander Trocchi
hung out in Venice with Wallace Berman

David Trinidad
Beyond Baroque group in the early 80s, editor and publisher of Sherwood Press

Jan Wesley
ran the Rose Café reading series

 

© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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