A poem from the book as read by its author, Hank Beukema.
Scott Wannberg was born in Santa Monica in February of 1953. A big man with an even bigger presence, he attended Venice High School and then went on to receive his master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. He was a poet’s poet and a human’s human who spent his life working as a sales clerk and book buyer for independent bookstores, most notably Dutton’s Books in Brentwood, where he held court and worked the stacks for almost 25 years. His book Nomads of Oblivion (Lummox Press) made the Los Angeles Times‘ bestseller list in 2000, and in the late 90s, Los Angeles Magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Coolest People” in L.A. In 2008, he relocated to Florence, Oregon, where he died too soon at the age of 58 in August of 2011.
Special thanks to S.A. Griffin for Scott’s bio (above) and other permissions and info.
This book concern’s itself with Scott’s involvement with an obscure outpost located in the far reaches of his sphere of influence…namely the Lummox Press. It chronicles Scott’s involvement with all things Lummox: the Lummox Journal, including his interview; the two Little Red Books of his poetry (Equal Opportunity Sledgehammer and Nomads of Oblivion), and his contributions to Eyes Like Mingus (Little Red Book #9), Last Call (Anthology of poets influenced by Bukowski), and The Colorado River Song sequence (about Scott’s mother’s passing). Scott was named “Lummox of the Year” in 1999 and a drawing was commissioned to artist and long-time Lummox friend Michael Paul. This same drawing appears on the cover of the book. He was actively a part of Lummox for 10 years. Also included are remembrances by several of his friends…Doug Knott, Lynn Bronstein, Steve Goldman, Dona Mary Dirlam, Hank Beukema and Victor Infante.
Scott was the kind of guy who made a good impression on those receptive to that sort of thing. He delighted in playing with language, linking metaphors together that quite often seemed unlikely and impossible but, in the end, worked out as if by magic! For a sampling of Scott’s work, go here. Or listen to Scott read a poem here.
WORDS OF PRAISE
Scott was someone I saw every weekend during my childhood when Dad would take me to look at books there [Dutton’s Books]. Upon getting older and realizing I was “different” I found solace in Scott’s company, as I had learned to communicate better with people by the time I was that age. One day in particular during my high school years I remember talking to Scott about Mystery Science Theater and a strange dream involving “Sesame Street”s Bert and Ernie in a noir film on Turner Classic Movies. He combined these ideas (and then some) into a spontaneously written poem and I still have it in my room at my dad’s house.
Spencer Lane Griffin
We talk the old stuff: SA’s mac & cheese/ Dutton’s deceased bookstore, the endless forever Carma Bums,/ How Dustin Hoffman leaped up when he heard/ Scott was waiting for him with books! “What? Scott’s waiting for me?”/ Yes, Dustin jumped for Scott – and Mr. Dylan, Jackson Browne/ And all those movie people with the flagship names/ Always sought out Scott/ Because he was already an angel,/ and lifted them up/ despite their weight of fame/…
An excerpt from Doug Knott’s poem, Scott Wannberg in Florence, Oregon, July, 2010
Bill Craychee (reader) review:
I just finished reading your book about Scott Wannberg. I was around and not writing poetry during the years 96-06. Now I wish I was. Made me feel more a part of the poetry/art community I’m looking at through the corner of my eye… The book did a good job of introducing one to SW, making one curious enough to read some more, after a rest, of course, because SW was so relentless. “White noise Wannberg”. Nice book RD. Wonderful gift for a friend. Inspired me. Got me all fired up to be a poet.
“I wanted to publish this collection of Scott’s work to bring it to a wider audience and be entered into the American canon of literature. Though his work was peppered with metaphor, the message always comes through. Whether he’s talking about a little girl raped and murdered in a casino bathroom, or a young man bludgeoned to death in Wyoming because he was gay, or the power of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice, his words were true and free from moralizing. I think this was the real power of his work. I hope that the reader enjoys this cross-section of Scott’s work as it appeared in my old Lummox Journal (not to be confused with the Lummox Poetry Anthology that I have been publishing annually since 2012). I wish he were alive today if for no other reason than to hear him read some of my favorite poems. I hope you will agree with me after you have read this book, that he was one helluva writer! Scott was special. I can’t emphasize that enough. He was magic.”
Excerpt from the Introduction to the book by Raindog.
Scott Wannberg – The Lummox Years 1996 – 2006
180 pgs. $20 USA only (includes shipping)
Edited by RD Armstrong
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