In this article I consider the impact of New York school poetry and New York punk rock on the Los Angeles literary scene of the 1970s and 1980s. I explore a distinct group of poets that emerged around a Venice Beach, California, literary arts center but was profoundly East Coast in orientation: the so-called punk poets of LA, who are the subject of this article, revered the New York school poetry of John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, and Joe Brainard but also idolized downtown punks like Patti Smith. Focusing in particular on Dennis Cooper, his punk poetry periodical, Little Caesar, and his reading series at Beyond Baroque, I examine and contextualize his attempts to draw together a poetic community whose style and ambition were radically different from previous generations of LA poets.

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