Scott Wannberg, Fixture of Los Angeles Poetry Scene, Passes Away

By Harriet Staff

Jacket Copy reports that Los Angeles poet Scott Wannberg, called by a friend the "the John Lennon of small press poetry," has passed away at the age of 58 at his home in Oregon. An anchor of the poetry scene in Los Angeles in the eighties and nineties, Wannberg endured health problems for some time; and moved to Oregon in 2008, unable to keep up with the expense and pace of LA.

Writer Rip Rense profiled Wannberg for The Times in 1995. "Oh, his words might not be widely published, might not even be noticed much when he recites them aloud, but it doesn't matter. He is cursed. He sees the rose and the three-legged cat all the time. He must write." Rense attended Venice High School with Wannberg, who back then was "speaking poetry." "You couldn't shut him up. It was a stream-of-consciousness kind of Chick Hearn-meets-Charles Bukowski narrative about friends and current events heavily laced with references to Sam Peckinpah movies and neighborhood dogs. He couldn't help himself. Somewhere along the line, he damned the stream and started capturing the words on paper, found he couldn't stop, then enrolled at San Francisco State University and majored in creative writing (translation: poetry). This, I think, was essentially a device to facilitate writing as many poems as possible while earning a diploma."

Wannberg's book "Nomads of Oblivion" made the L.A. Times bestseller list in October 2000. His next book will be published by Viggo Mortensen's Perceval Press, which has posted two of his recent poems on its website.

The full article can be found here. Our condolences to friends (all 4,389 of them!) and family.

Originally Published: August 22nd, 2011