Thursday, May 13, 2004

Something I would really like to be able to get to!

Michael Rothenberg and David Meltzer
read from their new books from La Alameda / University New Mexico Press

Word Play Theater June 01 tue 7:30 pm

$ 6. cover, Season passes $ 40. For more information call

Medicine Show Theatre, 549 West 52nd St. (10th/11th), 3rd Floor, NYC 1001


Beat Thing is David Meltzer’s truly epic poem — an engagement with history & his own participatory & witnessing presence. If the title at first suggests a nostalgic romp through a 1950s-style beat scene, it doesn’t take long before mid-twentieth-century America’s urban pastoralism comes apart in all its phases & merges with the final solutions of death camps & death bombs from the preceding decade. This is collage raised to a higher power — a tough-grained & meticulously detailed poetry — "without check with original energy," as Whitman wrote — & very much what’s needed now.
— Jerome Rothenberg

The Beat Thing sizzles as close as yesterday—with landmarks, names, occasions—as Poet Meltzer writes us back into the beat. Everyone's still There. As fresh as ever.
— Joanne Kyger

David Meltzer has gifted us with his beautifully written kabalistic and unique look at the Beat Generation. He also turns his eye to the American infrastructure of Bebop. This book comes out of his mature consciousness like energy spray bursting from the brow of a dolphin.
— Michael McClure

David Meltzer’s most important lyri-political work. A profound juxtaposition in which the Beat Movement’s meaning is resonated with the haunting of the Holocaust and the American years of McCarthyism and Jim Crowism. Like all great works, this entire book is single simultaneous moment in progress, written by a poet who — in terms of the rhythms, verbal inventiveness and the naming of figures of popular culture — is without equal anywhere.
— Jack Hirschman

David Meltzer is one of the secret treasures on our planet. Great poet, musician, comic; mystic unsurpassed, performer with few peers. His "ear" like we used to say and his erudition are fine-tuned and precise. A kind of bop-perfection pervades this work.
—Diane di Prima

"how easily narrative falls into place, realizes itself through a story-telling historian who sets out to frame a tangled constantly permutating chaos into a familiar & repeatable story w/out shadows or dead-ends; how impulsively memory organizes into a choir to tell a story of what it remembers symphonically, i.e., formally; even experimentalists practice w/in or against forms that have formed their relationship to writing & telling stories; history is the story of writing"

—Epilogue from Beat Thing


Unhurried Vision by Michael Rothenberg--Underneath the art of poetry exists the tradition of the journal—the attempt to capture and reveal the world as it passes by. Observations, reflections, and ideas accumulate to form connections and reveal process, content and story. Unhurried Vision is a record of the year 1999, and continues Michael Rothenberg’s experiment with the journal. This is the year Philip Whalen became terminally ill and Rothenberg began taking care of him, pulled together Whalen’s archives and library and edited his book of selected poems, Overtime. Political, personal, and romantic, Unhurried Vision works to savor the impermanent, looking at the moments in a poet’s life, contemplating the body of experience. It is the mind on a quiet stroll through longing, loss and beauty.

Unhurried Vision, a year in the life of Michael, is really a deeply loving celebration & farewell to mentor Philip Whalen, poet, roshi, & all around confounder of boundaries. A day-book; a non-epic odyssey through routes & roots of living & dying; a gastronome’s pleasure dome, but above all a deeply stirred & stirring affirmation of poetry’s centrality in realizing mundane & profound instances in the everyday extraordinary. Rothenberg’s raw footage is disarming; sly, self-effacing, proclaiming, doubting, affirming. You can read it in one sitting, say blurboligists, but it takes at least a lifetime. & then what?

—David Meltzer

No comments: