January 2008 – The Venice Beat Poets – The Great River Outside The Mainstream – Frank T. Rios

By Hillary Kaye

Frank T. Rios is a man who lives consciously in a world not only inhabited by form but by spirit. He makes it clear that his life is not his own, it is given over to the muse who speaks through him.
The path to his muse was not his choosing. He was first “guided” when he was studying acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. American poetry rather than the usual classic soliloquies attracted his attention. It was his reading of  Edwin Markham’s “The Man with the Hoe” that inspired him to be a poet. 

In 1954 to escape the street drug scene he was  involved with in New York, he hitchhiked “On the Road” style across the country to Venice and immediately fell in love with it. When he returned in ‘59 everything seemed to fall into place at Venice West Cafe. 

Frank Rios, Stuart Perkoff and Tony Scibella became “The Holy Three,” a trio of poet seekers on the boardwalk. They were “broken wide open” and totally dedicated to poetry. A mystical realization of this came in Topanga Canyon when the muse appeared to Frank, touched him on the tongue and ordained him a poet. A ritual offering of a poem which was written for the muse was then burnt, finishing the ordination. 

Frank  has written 11 books of poetry including the following poem from “The Kid in the Woods” which is available at Beyond Baroque.

An Interview with Frank T. Rios appears on page 5.


The sun is all things
lighting its way
burning flesh
separating the bark
from the tree

the Kid must
on wood
put his naked hand
to its naked face
             they threaten
to put it all on the Internet
sun & moon
man & woman
the giant oak
the poem is spattered against

              O Lady
of the woods
give me power
to keep the poem
& the hands naked
against the giant oak

– Frank T. Rios