David Meltzer Memorial Tribute

Sunday, November 12, 2017, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Photo of David Meltzer wearing a sweater and a scarf
Poets Clark Coolidge, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, George Herms, Jack Hirschman, Marina Lazarra, Michael McClure, Julie Rogers, Jerome Rothenberg and Sunnylyn Thibodeaux give a memorial tribute to poet David Meltzer. Emcee: Garrett Caples. Opening remarks: Steve Dickison. Refreshments will be served. Free.
Humanities Building, Humanities Auditorium (Room 133)
The Poetry Center, City Lights Books
The Poetry Center
Event extras: 

Vintage audio and video recordings of Meltzer will also screen. di Prima’s and Ferlinghetti’s presentations will be pre-recorded.

David Meltzer

David Meltzer (1937 – 2016) was a poet associated with both the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance. He was among the youngest poets included in Donald M. Allen’s anthology, The New American Poetry 1945 – 1960. A child prodigy, Meltzer performed on radio and television in New York beginning in the late 1940s. In 1957, after moving cross country in his youth to Los Angeles, where he became involved in the circle around Wallace Berman, Meltzer moved to San Francisco, where he associated with poets such as Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners, Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer.

A pioneer of jazz poetry readings, Meltzer formed a psychedelic folk-rock group called Serpent Power, recording for Vanguard Records in the late ’60s. In addition to his many books of poetry, he also published 10 erotic novels in the late ’60s and early ’70s, including the critically acclaimed “anti-porn” Agency Trilogy, revisiting the genre in 1995 with Under. He was an editor of anthologies including: The San Francisco Poets, The Secret Garden, Birth, Death, Reading Jazz, Writing Jazz and San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets. He was also an editor of magazines including the Journal for the Protection of All Beings, Tree and Shuffle Boil.

Meltzer taught for many years at New College of California, from the early poetics program in the ’80s up to the school’s closing in 2008. In 2005, Penguin Books published his selected poems, David’s Copy, and in 2011, City Lights published When I Was a Poet, No. 60 in the Pocket Poets Series.