The Magnanimous Misanthropy of Poet John Tottenham

On several occasions, I have had the pleasure of performing with a fantastic poet, John Tottenham, who is now learning that he has a growing and sophisticated audience. The artist has arrived, and it is a well-deserved honor. His work is arch, smart and hysterically funny. His performance style offers a beautiful accompaniment to the words. Tottenham is on fire.

Last month, at a Standard Hotel reading on the Sunset Strip for Tulsa Kinney's Artillery magazine, the SRO crowd was spilling outside to the pool. Over 200 fans recently attended the launch of Tottenham's second book, Antiepithalamia: And Other Poems of Regret & Resentment for Penny-Ante Editions.

An Englishman, Tottenham is as dreary as a London fog. His droll inflection bares the resentment at having to answer your silly and stupid question. He does not believe in love, ambition or hope. As our civilization edges toward Armageddon, Tottenham is a weary realist. He believes in regret and pointless revelation.

Take some initiative...
Do something with your life:
I get up from the sofa,
Walk across to the table
And write these words
Down on a scrap of paper.
Then I return to the sofa and
Fall asleep.

Life is a lonely street. Tottenham also paints and draws lonely streets. Last summer, he had a successful showing of his drawings at the Rosamund Felson Gallery in Santa Monica. Quite a coup. The gallery is one of the best and many works sold. (See the slideshow below.)

The entire world will become one room 
in one town. And nothing of interest lies beyond the city limits. 
It's all right, you didn't want to go out anyway. 
Other people and their breeding habits 
no longer hold any fascination. 

Under the wing of dynamite artist Steven Hull and the nod of actor Jack Black, Tottenham exhibited a series of paintings at La Cienega Projects. Well-dressed Victorian-era couples were caught romancing in the English countryside. In each, oddly disturbing, the man's hand was erotically placed in the woman's mouth. His new book, Antiepithalamia: And Other Poems of Regret & Resentment, offers a series of mean-spirited love poems.

My way of giving was to let you give.
But that initial torrent of generosity soon dried up.

Every artist has their moment. This is Tott's. His oeuvre, painting, poetry and performance are in perfect harmony. The work is pure and true. And now, most deservedly, the public is discovering this great talent. Let's hope that this success will not end his misery. click here to visit the artist's website.

Actor and artist Adam Goldberg (Dazed and Confused, Two Days In Paris) has dedicated a suave short documentary to the poet. click here to see a very appropriate and highly recommended insight into the life and times of poet John Tottenham.

GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist. His visual and literary work can be found at

The Magnanimous Misanthropy of Poet John Tottenham