Thursday, June 23, 2011, 7:00 P.M.
City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA

David Meltzer

reading from new poetry along with Julie Rogers

A dual milestone in City Lights history, When I Was a Poet is volume 60 of the Pocket Poets Series as well as our first book of poems by renowned Beat author David Meltzer. The title piece is an ambitious work by a master at the height of his powers, a spiritual assessment of the meaning of a lifetime spent writing poetry. Also included are portraits of key figures in the poet's life, including Semina artist Wallace Berman, as well as "California Dreamin'," a reminiscence of Beat-era bohemian life. Among its other highlights are the vintage, previously uncollected series, "French Broom," a nutty homage to "Mr. Peanut," a section of mystical "amulets," and complete versions of "Night Reals" and "Dogma," which appear here for the first time. With its profound meditations on love, loss, aging, and death, When I Was a Poet is a substantial contribution to American poetry by one of its foremost living practitioners.

David Meltzer is a poet associated with both the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance. A pioneer of jazz poetry readings, Meltzer also formed a psychedelic folk-rock group. He continues to perform with the music and poetry review, "Rockpile." He has edited many anthologies, including San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets (City Lights, 2001), and has published 11 erotic novels. 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.

Julie Rogers has published five chapbooks, and in 2007 Vimala published her Buddhist hospice manual, Instructions for the Transitional State. She is currently compiling several manuscripts of poetry and her book House of the Unexpected is forthcoming from Wild Ocean Press. She has read on public radio and television and at many venues in Oregon and northern California. Her poems have been published in various anthologies such as Poets Against the War and most recently, Beatitude – Golden Anniversary 1959 – 2009. She's now in a creative partnership with poet David Meltzer with whom she's been performing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit the website at

Books related to this event:

Product image
When I Was a Poet
Pocket Poets Number 60
David Meltzer
2011 Edition
An autobiographical masterpiece by a prominent Beat poet, who Ferlinghetti has deemed "one of the greats."