The Argotist Online
David Meltzer: Alter kaker. Born in 1937. Raised in Brooklyn during the war years w/ commies, anarchists, socialists, & eccentrics from all over Europa. Responsible for too many trees dying to become paper for too many books of poetry, agit-smut, anthologies, & blurbs. Last book: David's Copy: Selected Poems, edited by Michael Rothenberg (Penguin Poets). Forthcoming: When I Was a Poet (City Lights).
is a poet, songwriter, and editor and publisher of Big
Bridge magazine. His poems have been published widely in small press
publications, including Berkeley Poetry Review, Exquisite Corpse, Milk,
Golden Handcuffs Review, Jacket, Prague Literary Review, Tricycle,
and Zen Monster. His poetry books include Man/Woman, a
collaboration with Joanne Kyger, The Paris Journals (Fish Drum Press), Monk
Daddy (Blue Press), Unhurried Vision (La Alameda/University of New
Mexico Press), and most recently CHOOSE, Selected Poems (Big
Bridge Press). He is also author of the novel Punk Rockwell (Tropical
Press). Michael Rothenberg has edited the selected works of Philip Whalen,
Joanne Kyger, David Meltzer and Ed Dorn (Penguin Books) and the Collected Poems
of Philip Whalen (Wesleyan University Press). His newest book of poems, My
Youth As A Train, will be published in Fall 2010 by Foothills Publishing.
a poet, musician and visual artist. The author of Brambu Drezi,
Species of Abandoned Light, Drafts of the Sorcery, and numerous other
books. He has been an active member of the global arts and literary community
for more than 25 years. His poems, fiction, essays, reviews and other writings
have been published widely in both print and electronic mediums. In 2010,
Lavender Ink released a collaborative book, Cyclones In High Northern
Latitudes, with poet Jeffrey Side and drawings by Rich Curtis; and Outside
Voices: An Email Correspondence (with Jeffrey Side) was released by
Otoliths also in that year.
Yes, musicians were totally into it but sometimes a little anxious about how
it would all work together. Most of them had never worked with poets before so
how the poetry and music would weave together was an unknown. Also many of the
musicians were working together for the first time so they didn’t know what to
expect of each other. You know sometimes music is a backdrop to poetry and other
times the poetry/poet is another instrument. And some people think blues and
jazz and rock are incompatible. But we know that’s not true. But everyone was
excited to try it out.
I don’t know if the collaboration is a more “organic” medium, it depends
on the poetry I suppose. These performances are very much in the moment and out
of a tradition. Is that organic?
MR: My personal experience has been that audiences at these collaboration performance tend to feel they don’t have to “understand” everything, that they can just enjoy the experience of the performance. You can get as intellectual as you want or not. I’ve never seen people dance to poetry before but in New Orleans they danced to the Dirty Dozen and David’s “Red Shoes”
I see it the way David sees it. I don’t know if this enthusiasm is renewed so
much that all the street corners and cafes of the world have a chance to gather
in new communal spaces online.
I don’t feel we are on a missionary course, though yes, as David says, we’re
returning to the roots. If I have any message here it is to enjoy yourself,
don’t take the whole thing so seriously. Out of your head and into your body
David and I have been having that discussion from the day we met. I was a
returning student at New College of California where David was teaching. He gave
me my MA in poetry and popular song. I was headed to Nashville to work with
songwriters there and David’s experience with Serpent Power was a great
perspective. Continuum sounds good but I a not so sure. Somewhere along the line
some poetry seems to have jumped the track and I can’t tell what it is or
related to. . .