David Meltzer

Wallace Berman, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, 1964. Mixed-media collage



David Meltzer was born in Rochester, New York, and raised in Brooklyn. He began his literary career during the San Francisco Beat and Berkeley Renaissance period in California, and his work was included in the anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-1960. At the age of 20 he recorded his poetry with jazz musicians in Los Angeles and also became a singer-songwriter and guitarist for several bands during the 1960s, including The Serpent Power. He is the author of over 40 volumes of poetry, and has also published fiction and essays, and has edited numerous anthologies and collections of interviews.

Meltzer taught in the humanities and poetics programs at the New College of California in San Francisco for 30 years. In 2008, he received the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. He was also given the Bay Area Guardian’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2012 was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry.

Diane di Prima has said, “David Meltzer is a hidden adept, one of the secret treasures on our planet. Great poet, musician, comic; mystic unsurpassed, performer with few peers.”

A. Books and Broadsides

1. Meltzer, David. POEMS
San Francisco: Donald & Alice Shenker, [1957]
First edition, side-stapled sheets in printed wrappers with library tape binding, 25 copies, offprint of David Meltzer / Donald Shenker book comprising only the Meltzer section and with a variant cover omitting Shenker’s name and a revised colophon.

2. Meltzer, David. RAGAS
San Francisco: Discovery Books, 1959
First edition, saddle-stapled printed wrappers, 52 pages, (1500 copies). Cover design by Peter LeBlanc.

3. Meltzer, David. THE CLOWN
Larkspur: Semina, 1960
First edition, printed sheets laid into printed folder, 335 copies.

San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1962
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 6.25″ x 8.5″, 12 pages, 750 copies. Published as Auerhahn Pamphlet No. 2.
(Auerhahn 19)

5. Meltzer, David. BAZASCOPE MOTHER
Los Angeles: Drekfesser Press, [1964]
First edition, single sheet folded once, 250 copies

6. Meltzer, David. STATION
San Francisco: San Francisco Arts Festival Commission / East Wind Printers, 1964
First edition, broadside, 13″ x 20″, 300 copies. Illustrated by Peter Bailey.

7. Meltzer, David. THE BLACKEST ROSE
Berkeley: Oyez, 1964
First edition, broadside, 11″ x 17.5″, 350 copies, printed by Auerhahn Press and published as Oyez 6.

8. Meltzer, David. THE PROCESS
Berkeley: Oyez, 1965
First edition, saddle-stapled printed french-fold wrappers, 44 pages, 500 copies (25 numbered and signed in boards and dust jacket), the first Oyez book designed by Dave Haselwood and printed by Graham Mackintosh. Cover illustration by  Peter LeBlanc.

The Dark Continent (1967)
Round the Poem Box (1969)
Yesod (Trigram, 1969)
Greenspeech (1970)
Luna (Black Sparrow, 1970)
Hero/Lil (Black Sparrow, 1973)
Bark, A Polemic (Capra Press, 1973)
The Eyes, The Blood (Mudra / Cranium Press, 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)
Two-Way Mirror City Lights

B. Contributions to Periodicals

Gainesville: University of Florida, 1956
“4 July”

2. SEMINA, No. 1
Los Angeles: Wallace Berman, 1956
“An Unpublished Letter to Some Lost Relatives”

San Francisco: Playgirl Publishing, 1957
“Kick Me Deadly”

4. SEMINA, No. 2
San Francisco: Wallace Berman, 1957
“Upon a Time”

5. SEMINA, No. 4
San Francisco: Wallace Berman, 1959
“Sampson Agonistes”

6. SPREE, Vol. 1, No. 7
Los Angeles: New Publishing Company, 1959
“Judgement Day”

7. PENNY POEMS, No. 27
New Haven: Penny Poems, 1959
“24th Raga/ For Tina”