Synopses & Reviews
One of the most respected poets of the Beat and San Francisco Renaissance periods, David Meltzer has kept alive interest in the interface between jazz and poetry that exploded in the 1950s. This new edition of selected poems includes previously unpublished material and serves as a map to this very prolific and interesting poet.
"A founding Beat, who worked side-by-side with Ginsberg on jazz-fueled verbal improvisation and Jewish mysticism and exegesis in verse, the California-based Meltzer has enjoyed a cult reputation since the late '50s. This selection from 30 books of poems reveals a writer of contagious, sprawling enthusiasm. Describing his early years, Meltzer recalls Ginsberg: 'a bar-mitzvah of hopelessness in the Waldorf Cafeteria, hungering for the chance to detonate New York.' Verse sketches of his household, wife and daughters suggest a talkier Gary Snyder. And in later, incantatory works to and about a mother goddess, the Hebrew alphabet, the Biblical Asaph ('David's chief musician'), or the composer Maurice Ravel, Meltzer simply sounds like a man possessed. 'O sister let me plant you,' one poem asks; 'Let me love/ like green light shining through plants.' Another finds the poet 'Bruised before Yahweh singing blues via crank-up gramophone sand-blasted disc racket of decoded time.' Toward the end of the volume, longer poems speed through jazz history and current events. 'Beat Thing' describes the year 1945; 'No Eyes' covers the career of the saxophonist Lester 'Prez' Young, his 'chance & changes/ too marvelous for words.' Meltzer has also edited books about jazz, San Francisco and the Beats; his undeniable passion makes him a poet Beat compleatists should treasure." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
David Meltzer has published numerous works of poetry, fiction, and collections of essays. He has also released four albums of recordings on the Vanguard and Capitol labels.