Michael Rothenberg


Foreword for David's Copy

David's Copy
David's Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer
by David Meltzer
Penguin Books, 2005

Editing David's Copy was more than arranging a body of work in an attempt to give a sense of an entire career; it was a collaboration, a transcontinental improvisation, sending boxes of poems back and forth between California and Miami, deciding which poems stay and which poems go, with some revision, and questions. As it unfolded, Meltzer's vision was a revelation, an opportunity to witness the poet seeking god in a letter.

When I read David's poetry, read his words, I think of alchemical conjuring, zen, beat, jazz rhythms, prayer, the everyday in a moment-flash, historical overviews, urban and domestic reflections. Meltzer's work is sly and sardonic, twisted and awkward, non-doctrinaire, agit-smut in the face of love and desire, a commentary of "the real" that goes through a surreal/abstract filter, or is surreal. The lyric, the "spoken word," the rant, the list, the journal, and the narrative, he does it all, takes on various personae -- alter-egos, female, male, and a dog.

David's Copy is a re-visioning of a poetic ouvre, a selected moment in time, a songster's ecstatic epic-journey, the journey of a "savage word slinger," rummaging relentlessly through iconic shards and celluloid of culture, pop and hermetic images and language, tempered with humor and love.

Michael Rothenberg
Miami -- September 7,2004


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