David Meltzer was raised in Brooklyn during the war years. He performed on radio and early TV on the Horn & Hardart Children’s Hour. He was exiled to L.A. at 16, and at 17 enrolled in an ongoing academy with artists Wallace Berman, George Herms, Robert Alexander, and Cameron. David migrated to San Francisco in 1957 for higher education with peers & maestros like Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, Joanne Kyger, Diane DiPrima, Michael McClure, Lew Welch, Philip Whalen, Jack Hirschman, and a cast of thousands all living extraordinary ordinary lives.
His Beat Thing, La Alameda Press, 2004, won the Josephine Miles PEN Award, 2005. He was editor and interviewer for San Francisco Beat: Talking With The Poets, City Lights, 2001. With Steve Dickison, David co-edits Shuffle Boil, a magazine devoted to music in all its appearances & disappearances. 2005 saw the publication of David’s Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer by Viking/Penguin, a collection spanning over forty years of work. It paints a vivid portrait of Meltzer’s life as a poet, through poems taken from thirty of his previous books of poetry. With a versatile style and playful tone, Meltzer offers his unique vision of civilization with a range of juxtapositions from Jewish mysticism and everyday life to jazz and pop culture. His website is at Meltzerville.com.
Here is David reading at Rockpile.