Sunday, January 23, 2011

FA Nettelbeck (1950-2011); poet of L.A., the west coast; poet

from The Ohio State University
FA Nettelbeck collection
Mushy gets my heart when Los Angeles is praised. More to the point, when Los Angeles is known for the hip art center it is. FA Nettelbeck knew L.A.

First let me link to the Jim Hayes' interview with Nettelbeck. It's on Hayes' blog, assemblypoetryplantmarietta, an interview with FA Nettelbeck. And was brought to my attention because of Nettelbeck's death on January 20.

FA's parents moved from the midwest when he was a kid.  "That move to LA blessed me to the tits."

Yes! Asked about the feel of the city in the sixties, Nettelbeck throws down an uber-hip L.A. More druggie than I ever lived, but beyond the drugs, he gets the magnificent oddness of the city, how impossible it can be to describe the feel. "But it's hard to explain LA back then."

I need to explore this more--for myself--but L.A. in the sixties and early seventies evades capture. San Francisco, the Haight, that scene, has been nicely written of over and over, well-presented in movies (I was in San Francisco enough to know), but L.A. has proven more evasive.

"I'm still proud of LA and I ain't been there in 30 years!" Nettelbeck settled in Oregon, the current final frontier of the country (more so than Alaska) (really).

There's no point in my summarizing Jim Hayes multi-dimensioned interview with Nettlebeck. Click on the link above and read for yourself. Here's Nettelbeck's site: Note, you have to authenticate yourself as being of age. He was Bukowski like (Bukowski like--not a copy) on sex drugs rock and roll.

*The Ohio State University FA Nettelbeck Collection.


  1. You had me until the Oregon hyperbole... I'm afraid Oregon is *hardly* the final frontier compared to Alaska. Having lived, loved, and schooled in both places, there's almost nothing final-- and even less frontier-- about Oregon. Though I do love it!

  2. Yeah yeah yeah. I hear you. In terms of wilderness, of course Alaska trumps. But the Oregon odd party feel, mythologized a bit, true, is something unique. Not like Missoula, certainly not like fancy crunchy Seattle. It is a final frontier (I maintain perhaps foolishly) in terms of legitimate spirit. A place to go and be included and still outside. Frontier being virtual and state-of-mind-like rather than bear shooting country.

  3. The soles of my feet were rendered Biblical by reeds at the mouth of the Columbia. Friends lived in teepees for crissakes. An Oregonian proclaimed me officially "soft."

  4. F.A is my dad, trust me it really was a no mans land where we lived, where i grew up.