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Meet Hammerhead Hirsch, a charismatic middle-aged boho known in the 60s as "The Pugilist Poet" for his Golden Gloves boxing crown and Beat poetry chops. Thirty years later Head has become a first-time father, and his joy is immense—until the mom bolts. Can Head last fifteen rounds as a single dad with a paltry income, scanty prospects, biting personal demons, and a "ball-and-chain" kid? The tale is told by a worshipful youth who accompanies Head and his son every step of the way on a ten-year-long, three-way journey of struggles, missteps, love, and growth. 

The Pugilist Poets of Venice by Jon Sindell

  • The Pugilist Poets of Venice is author Jon Sindell’s big fat juicy love letter to literature, Los Angeles and, most of all, love. Disguised as a novel about free-spirited parenting, boys becoming men and men becoming, well, grown-ups, The Pugilist pulls no punches. With prose that zings, swings and frequently sings, Sindell tells a tough yet tender tale of brazen heartbreak amid ’90s bohemian hipsters. The perfect beatnik-opera read for days on the beach, afternoons at a bar or nights in your bed.” 

    ~ Tracy DeBrincat, author of Hollywood Buckaroo and Troglodyte 

     

    “This is a rollicking, big-hearted tale, full of laughter, bravery and unflinching humanity. The touch is light, but the questions are big: family, loyalty, art, and love are the rightful subjects of Sindell’s troupe of misfits and raconteurs, each of them a poet and each of them a pugilist too in this deeply funny and deeply felt novel.” 

    ~ Emily Kiernan, author of The Great Divide 

     

    “An unforgettable story of an aging member of the beat generation who struggles to care for his young son and adapt to a society that has passed him by. With unflinching honesty, humor and a keen eye for detail, Sindell brings his characters to life in all their flaws and virtues. They constantly surprised me; I couldn’t stop reading.” 

    ~ Martin McCaw, author of The Low Road 

     

    “Take a walk on the sun-dappled boardwalk of Venice Beach in LA with Hammerhead Hirsch and Robbie Steiner, the narrator of Jon Sindell’s splendid novel The Pugilist Poets of Venice. Hammerhead, an ex-Golden Gloves contender and current Beat-influenced word man, keeps you on your toes. Robbie provides a perceptive angle and tender outrage, an aching son of an absent father. Together, they try to make sense of the world, and it is funny, sad, relatable and engrossing, their journey. You got a whole lot going on, all of it full of brio: pot, religion, Venice itself, rent worries, music and literature and lusting and failing. Finally, there is the moving spectacle of human growth. Read it. The Pugilist Poets of Venice is wonderful.” 

    ~ Stephen D. Gutierrez, author of Live from Fresno y Los, winner of the 2010 American Book Award