Johnny Bender, Aka Brutus Bombastus, Nee’ Chieftain, is one of the co-founders of Poets in Distress, a Southern California poetry performance troupe that was started in 1982. He follows the beat tradition of poetry and met Allen Ginsberg several times, but never won his approval. Ginsberg suggested changing the group’s name to “Poets in Celebration” or “Poets in Joyland.” Bender is a Cal Poly graduate, former city editor of the Pasadena Star-News and former board president of Inlandia Institute.

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