Doug Knott — Poet, Actor, Producer — R.I.P.

December 24, 2022

The recent passing of Linda Albertano was a dispiriting moment in the Los Angeles art and poetry world; and the end of the year has brought news of yet another grievous loss. Doug Knott, one of the best poet-actors I have ever encountered, died last night. My understanding is that his wife, Janet, and S.A. Griffin, a long-time collaborator with Doug in the poetry performance group, CARMA BUMS, were at the hospital in his final hours.

I’ve been to many plays over the years and one of the most memorable was a one-man show by Doug Knott, “The Last of the Knott.” It was done in a small theater in Santa Monica and deserved a much larger venue. I am very happy in retrospect that I wrote about it in my blog so that Doug how much I enjoyed it.

As befits a poet who became an important contributor to the development of performance poetry in Los Angeles, Doug had an odd personal trajectory. He started out as a lawyer inn the so-called counter-culture after getting his law degree from Harvard in 1970. In the early 1980s, however, he moved to Los Angeles and started producing poetry readings and other alternative diversions at outlets such as the Lhasa Club. He joined up with Scott Wannberg and S.A. Griffin to become a founding member of the Lost Tribe and Carma Bums and went on a national tour with them.

Many of the comments about Doug have mentioned his book SMALL DOGS BARK CARTOONS and that he had several chapbooks. One of those chapbooks was published by Pat Cohee as part of the Laguna Poets Series. HOLDING PATTERN, which was number 122 in that series, features a photograph of Doug’s mother in a Piper Cub airplane. I would like to quote what Pat Cohee wrote on the back cover: “Each and every poem in this book is pure magic. Doug finds the perfect, uncanny metaphor to evoke the feelings and intuitions which inhabit his “holding pattern.” I challenge any poet to write as well.”

For those who are unfamiliar with Doug’s poems, you can find them in two anthologies: THE OUTLASW BIBLE OF AMERICAN POETRY and GRAND PASSION: THE POETS OF LOS ANGELES AND BEYOND. For an example of his work in video poetry, simply type WINGS THAT WHICH TAKES FLIGHT into your browser.

Thanks to a message from Phil Taggart, I can also share with you two links:

An interview with David Starkey
Creative Community 2.0 – Doug Knott

Doug Knott at the EP Foster Library on March 1, 2018

On a personal note, my wife Linda just came in and showed me a photograph of our wedding in which a large number of poets gathered at the end of the day to pose with us as an ensemble. Holly Prado, Harry Northup, Brooks and Lea Ann Roddan, Phoebe MacAdams, John Thomas and Philomene Long, and Laurel Ann Bogen and her dear friend, Doug Knott.

The last time that many of us

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