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David Meltzer

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Name  David Meltzer

David Meltzer

Born  February 17, 1937 (age 78) Rochester, New York (1937-02-17)
Notable awards  Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, 2008

Tina david meltzer poet song 1969

David Meltzer (February 17, 1937 – December 31, 2016) was an American poet and musician of the Beat Generation and San Francisco Renaissance. Lawrence Ferlinghetti described him as "one of the greats of post-World-War-Two San Francisco poets and musicians." Meltzer came to prominence with inclusion of his work in the anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-1960.


David Meltzer staticpoetryfoundationorgoharriet201105DAVI

When i was a poet by david meltzer

Early life

David Meltzer Vincent Katz David Meltzer 19372016 Journal of Poetics Research

Meltzer was born in Rochester, New York, the son of a cellist and a harpist. In 1940, the family moved to Brooklyn. At the age of 11, he wrote his first poem, on the topic of the New York City subway system. He performed on radio and TV in The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour. The family moved once again to Rockville Centre. His parents separated, and he accompanied his father to Los Angeles in 1954. In 1957, he moved to San Francisco and became part of a circle of writers based around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan.

David Meltzer Welcome to Meltzerville David Meltzers Website

In 1958, he recorded an album of his poems with a jazz combo for Jim Dickson on Dickson's Vaja label. The album was not released but finally saw the light of day in 2006 on Sierra Records titled "David Meltzer: Poet with Jazz 1958." Jim Dickson had earlier recorded Lord Buckley, Lenny Bruce and the Page Cavanaugh Trio. Later Jim would be A&R producer for World Pacific and Elektra Records as well as discovering and producing the rock group, The Byrds.

David Meltzer Legendary Beat Poet David Meltzer up for an award Berkeleyside

In 1968, Meltzer signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.


David Meltzer David Meltzer Poetry Foundation

One of the key poets of the Beat generation, Meltzer was also a jazz guitarist, Kabbalist scholar, and the author of more than 50 books of poetry and prose. 2005 saw the publication of David's Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer (edited by Michael Rothenberg and with an introduction by Jerome Rothenberg), which provides a current overview of Meltzer's work.

David Meltzer Tribute to David Meltzer The Beat Museum

Meltzer's Beat Thing (La Alameda Press) is his epic poem on the Beat generation. Jack Hirschman said of it:

Meltzer's other books include, No Eyes, poems on Lester Young, and a book of interviews, San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets (City Lights Books).

Meltzer taught at the New College of California in the Poetics Program, which was founded by Robert Duncan.

With his singer-musician wife Tina, David recorded as a duo and with their group Serpent Power. With his second wife, poet Julie Rogers, Meltzer frequently performed at poetry venues. The two produced a CD, "Two-Tone," in collaboration with tenor saxophonist, Zan Stewart.


He spent most of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area. Meltzer died on December 31, 2016, after suffering a stroke at his home in Oakland.


  • Ragas (Discovery, 1959)
  • The Clown (Semina, 1960)
  • The Process (Oyez, 1965)
  • The Dark Continent (1967)
  • Round the Poem Box (1969)
  • From Eden Book (1969)
  • Yesod (Trigram, 1969)
  • Greenspeech (1970)
  • Luna (Black Sparrow, 1970)
  • Hero/Lil (Black Sparrow, 1973)
  • Blue Rags (Oyez, 1974)
  • Harps (Oyez, 1975)
  • Six (Black Sparrow, 1976)
  • Arrows: Selected Poetry, 1957-1992 (Black Sparrow Press, 1994)
  • No Eyes: Lester Young, (Black Sparrow, 2000)
  • David's Copy, (Penguin Group Press, 2005)
  • When I Was a Poet," (City Lights, June 2011) ISBN 978-0-87286-516-7
  • Two-Way Mirror City Lights ISBN 0872866505
  • Fiction

  • The Agency Trilogy (Brandon House, 1968; reprinted by Richard Kasak, 1994)
  • Orf (Brandon House, 1968; reprinted by Masquerade Books, 1995),
  • Lovely (Essex House, 1969)
  • The Martyr (Essex House, 1969)
  • Under (Rhinoceros Books, 1997)
  • Essays

  • Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook (Oyez, 1977).
  • Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook (City Lights, 2015)
  • Edited

  • The Secret Garden: An Anthology in the Kabbalah (Continuum Press, 1976; reprinted, Station Hill Press, 1998)
  • Birth: Anthology of Ancients Texts, Songs, Prayers, and Stories (North Point Press, 1981)
  • Death: Anthology of Texts, Songs, Charms, Prayers, and Tales (North Point Press, 1984)
  • Reading Jazz (Mercury House, 1996)
  • Writing Jazz (Mercury House, 1999)
  • San Francisco Beat: Talking With the Poets (City Lights, 2001)
  • Discography

    The Serpent Power

  • Serpent Power (Vanguard Records, 1968)
  • Ouroboros (Locust Music, 2008) Archival release. Originally recorded live on the air in 1969 at KPFA radio
  • Tina & David Meltzer

  • Poet Song (Vanguard Records, 1969).
  • Green Morning (RD Records, 1998. Originally recorded 1969; produced and arranged by Vic Briggs.)
  • The Serpent Power/Tina & David Meltzer

  • Serpent Power/Poet Song (reissue, Comet/Akarma Records, 1996).
  • Melzer, Rogers & Stewart (David Meltzer, Julie Rogers and Zan Stewart)

  • Two Tone (Poetry and Jazz) (self pressing, 2016).
  • References

    David Meltzer Wikipedia