Cherished through the years by artists, writers, musicians, and beatniks of all walks, Venice Beach has poetry in its veins. It also has it literally etched into the walls along the boardwalk.
The Venice Beach Poet’s Monument consists of four concrete walls engraved with 18 verses written by some of the neighborhood’s best-known poets. Jim Morrison and Charles Bukowski are among the more famous scribes represented, along with beat poet Philomene Long (known both as the “Poet Laureate of Venice” and “Queen of Bohemia”); poet and Andy Warhol film star Taylor Mead; poet and community activist Manazar Gamboa; punk rocker Exene Cervenka; and actor Viggo Mortensen.
The main monument is located in the heart of Venice Beach along Ocean Front Walk just steps from the sand. Stanzas of poetry decorate the walls of a rounded structure that is actually a city parks and police substation. There are three other installations along the beach on the exterior walls of public restrooms. One of the walls is also adorned with more than 60 colorful ceramic tiles created by local elementary school students. The poetry walls, curated in 2000, and the art tiles that came later, were created as part of a plan to renovate the Venice boardwalk while paying homage to the neighborhood’s creative bohemian spirit—one that’s not quite like anywhere else on the planet.