Two-Way Mirror

Two-Way Mirror
A Poetry Notebook





Tablet Magazine

"[N]ot merely refreshing but momentous. Updated with recent additions, Meltzer's tome presents a set of poetic reflections, quotes from writers and thinkers from across the ages, disguised writing prompts, and ramblings that, instead of hoisting up organized directives, opens doors, and creates possibilities of profound reflection and good soul-searing fun."—Jake Marmer


Heavy Feather Review

"At its heart, Two-Way Mirror is a text of conversation, conversation with the poets Meltzer admires, those he knows or knew personally, the works of these poets, and the poems themselves. It's a conversation between the parts of Meltzer that will always be a student of the word, ever hungry for expansion in understanding. As a text that invites you to respond, approaching it conversationally will allow for the best read. This is your formal invitation to participate in the work."––Alex Rieser


"David Meltzer: September 24, 2015"
Sep 24, 2015

VIDEO: The Poetry Center presents David Meltzer reading from and discussing the newly revised and reissued edition of his book Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook, published by City Lights Books, and poems from Harps, and David's Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer.

- The Poetry Center

Tears in the Fence

"Time and again when students are faced with complex poems the temptation is to shrug and walk away; Meltzer's advice is central. After all a stanza is a room. Enter it, look around, move onto the next room and then walk back to experience being in the first one again. Reading is looking, thinking and responding. This book is a boost to self-confidence and, in turn, self-esteem and I wish that every secondary school in the country would buy this book! After that, I wish that every Head of Department in the country would make it essential reading for his colleagues and use its resources as topics for departmental discussion."––Ian Brinton


"A Poem Is a Two-Way Mirror Concealing the Page"
May 4, 2015

Jake Marmer visits with Beat icon David Meltzer, 'still performing and confounding, still showing the way' with a full profile of Meltzer, his new book Two-Way Mirror, City Lights, and Meltzer’s fascinating relationship with Jewish mysticism.

- Tablet Magazine

"Wandering Jew, Eternal Beat: The David Meltzer Story"
Jun 27, 2015

Profile of David Meltzer who reflects on the reissue of his book, Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook, his life as a young poet, and his life as a poet now.

"Poetry means more than any single living person, save for Julie Rogers, his wife, partner and muse who aided and abetted the creation of his latest work, Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Handbook, published at City Lights by his friend and fellow ex-New Yorker, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, now 96 and still ticking and kicking."

"'I was hoping my new book would be out on April 1, 2015 in time for April's Fool’s Day,' Meltzer explained from his home in Oakland. 'But May 1 is also good since the phrase 'May Day’ is a signal of distress.’"

- Jonah Raskin, Counter Culture Magazine

The Rumpus

"City Lights Books and editor Garrett Caples have without doubt done the poetry world a full on solid by bringing Meltzer's book back in print. While today’s twitter-fed MFA communities may at first be puzzled by how righteously Meltzer celebrates the printed text as object, this book is destined to become a regularly utilized classroom text. At the very least every creative writing program office would benefit from having a copy on hand. Poets & Writers should be all over it. The book’s value as an educational tool was after all in part the original impetus behind its initial publication … Whether or not you’re interested in poetry Meltzer’s joy full of admiration and respect for the mysterious play of letters provides testament to that wondrous voyage through reading writing into becoming: this life business which begins with the lifting of a pen."––Patrick James Dunagan


The Daily Californian

"In his visionary collection of anecdotes, advice and edifying quotes, Meltzer traces his evolution as an artist. Now Meltzer's luminous, emotionally engaging language impresses on readers his insights from a decades-long oeuvre. His book of poetics delivers a complex and compelling how-to guide on the art of writing poetry. City Lights’ reissue of the 1977 edition packs a breadth of intellect, philosophical insight and artistic practice into a slim primer resonant with the spirit of the San Francisco Renaissance. In homage to his origins in the 1960s Beat generation, Meltzer takes readers on an evocative study of poetry as an interconnected and cross-cultural process … As a whole, the body of work remains an inspirational compendium of elegant sketches about the craft of poetry. "Two-Way Mirror" offers an intriguing glimpse into the art of personalizing language from a poet who has honed his skill for more than six decades.”––Danielle Shi


New York Journal of Books

"[D]elightful. Especially for those who've read widely or are willing to pick up and pursue the tempting crumbs [David] Meltzer drops in the course of his meandering, associative discussion of the poetic impulse … Coming form a man who’s not only a poet but also a scholar of Jewish mysticism, this wide-ranging book feels like the natural outcome of Meltzer’s childhood goal to write a "History of Everything." It’s that ambitious … [I]f you’d enjoy a flipbook-fast romp through the history of man’s inclination to name and sing, then this funhouse mirror is for you.”––Louise Hawes


San Jose Mercury News

"'Poetry's a magic act,' writes Oakland's David Meltzer, who began his career during the heyday of the Beat Generation. In this collection of poetry and prose, he muses on the definitions of poetry, quotes some of his favorite works by other poets and advises the reader about how to capture a poem ('Pay attention'). The charming black-and-white illustrations are from Meltzer's collections of thrift store grammar books."––Georgia Rowe


The Rumpus

"City Lights has long supported the ideas of writers, and David Meltzer's Two–Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook, is another welcome reissue, with passionate proclamations about creating compositions that sing. 'Make every inch of your beloved a poem,' he says … This is not as easy as it sounds, and Meltzer know his mysticism is less easy than it seems. 'The poem' he reminds us, 'illuminates and conceals. It is as precise and as vague as a mirror.' Two-Way Mirror is a beauty, a manifesto, an inspiration and a challenge."––Barbara Berman


Beat Scene

"A handsome hardcover from City Lights seems a fitting way to showcase a work that seems to have been decades in the making."––Colin Cooper


"SERPENT POWER: City Lights Looks Forward to David Meltzer's Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook"
Feb 23, 2015

Poetry Foundation's Harriet Blog profiles the work of David Meltzer, recently highlighted on the City Lights blog, where his newest work, Two-Way Mirror was previewed.

- Poetry Foundation's Harriet Blog