By Meltzer, David
A milestone in City Lights history, David Meltzer's When I Was a Poet is number sixty of the famous Pocket Poets Series. The title work is an ambitious late masterpiece from a legendary poet at the height of his powers, a spiritual assessment of the meaning of a lifetime of writi...ng poetry. Also included are reminiscences of California bohemian life, a series of mystical amulets, and profound meditations on love, loss, aging, and death. Associated with the Beat Generation and late '60s psychedelia, musician, novelist, and editor David Meltzer is one of America's foremost living poets.Read more
Born in 1937, David Meltzer is a poet associated with both the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance. He was also included in Don Allen's seminal anthology, The New American Poetry 1945-1960 A child prodigy, Meltzer performed on radio and TV in New York beginning in the late '40s. In 1957, after a few years in Los Angeles, where he was part of the circle around Wallace Berman's Semina magazine, Meltzer moved to San Francisco, where he associated with such poets as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan, and Jack Spicer. One of the pioneers of jazz poetry readings, Meltzer also formed a psychedelic folk-rock group called Serpent Power with his wife Tina Meltzer and poet Clark Coolidge, recording for Vanguard Records in the late '60s. He continues to perform with the music and poetry review, Rockpile. In addition to his many books of poetry, Meltzer also published 10 erotic novels in the late '60s and early '70s, including the critically-acclaimed Agency Trilogy, revisiting the genre in 1995 with Under. He has edited many anthologies, including the book of interviews, San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets (City Lights, 2001). He also taught for many years in the poetics program at New College of California. In 2005, Penguin Books published David's Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer. Lawrence Ferlinghetti has called him one of the greats of post-World-War-Two San Francisco poets and musicians.
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