Venice Beat Scene – An Interview with Shanna Baldwin

Posted On September 21, 2006

Filed under Beat, poetry

Comments Dropped 3 responses

venice beach beat scene

So what was the Venice Beat scene like back in its day? 

Ah Back in the day was a beautiful sight..poets abound..It was a major gathering and many places on the boardwalk, art gallery’s, and The Venice West cafe (opened by Stuart Z Perkoff…) a place to hang…, write, listen to music play some chess and Friday nights poetry readings………

Do we know whatever happened to “Big Daddy Eric Nord” after he declared beats/beatniks as “nogoodniks”? 

He went off to a place called Hollywood and never heard of again……… He was part of that scene anyhow…The phrase Beatnik came from that place and we resented it, we were Beat no nik about it…The Russian Sputnik was in the news so everything ended in nik at the time. And all the Hollywoodniks came to pay a dime to ride the tram and look at the freaks…we always pointed at THEM…

Do you think the Venice Beach Beat Poets have had an influence on today’s new wave of poets? 

Definitely it was a very profound bunch of poets sayin some pretty profound things straight off the streets and some from the war protesting a lot of things at the time put that to some Jazz and you got some good stuff………

Can you recommend any new poets on the scene? 

Sure…R.D. Armstrong, S.A. Griffen, Scott Wannberg, Don Kingfisher Cambell, Nancy Shiffrin, John Macker…I’ve been outa the loop for a while so I’m sure there are many more…I just recently got wired to this universe of verse….

When did you actually become interested in the Venice Beat scene? 

I was fresh outa college moved to Venice and one day riding my bicycle… Met James Ryan Morris a poet fresh from the cold streets of New York we talked and lived poetry He introduced me to Stuart Z Perkoff and Tony Scibella…we all moved in together a place we called the cellar… 10 dollars a month cause two of the rooms had water seeping in…

What other writers have influenced you or what ones have you liked? 

James Ryan Moriss was my biggest influence and John Thomas was my mentor He was the cook at the Gas House where I worked as Art Director…taught me the fine art of Haiku and the rhythm of the verse…Bill Margolis and Maurice Lacy all had a hand in it as well…Tony Scibella was the one who showed me about a gentleness and sense of humor underlying it all…….My grandmother another influence she was a poet in Greenwich Village in the days of the Bohemians.

Do you write every day? 

Yes I write everyday. I used to paint a wall white in my kitchen so I could write on the wall when something profound came to mind…


What are your methods of writing at present?

I disappear into the wilderness no T.V. no telephone jus me and the elements and pen in hand…Every thought a separate line so I can see the way it flows and that’s the way it goes.

Sometimes I recite “and the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain ” a little prayer as I start to write… the rhythm of Edger Allen Poe’s” The Raven” gets me on a roll………


3 Responses to “Venice Beat Scene – An Interview with Shanna Baldwin”

  1. Los Angeles Inspired | Brand New Buzz

    […] but it’s become more of a local phenomenon lately than a national one. Looking at the Beat Scene in L.A., for example, one finds a subculture that avoided mainstream acceptance at any costs, and […]

  2. Jamie

    Randomly found this blog post. Amazing. How did you find Ms. Baldwin? Sad that this blog hasn’t continued, but I’ll be glad to spend a lazy Sunday reading what’s here.

  3. Danette Dawn

    My mom rocks!

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