Tune in to Elisa Parker’s Thursday Music Magazine on KVMR 89.5FM at 5:10 p.m. today for a different kind of interview: You’ll get a sneak peek at a couple of poets who will make a pair of appearances in western Nevada County this weekend.
Twenty-four hours later, a unique poetry reading will hit Broad Street Bistro, 426 Broad St. in Nevada City, at 7 p.m. Friday. Tom Wilson and Friends will present the husband and wife duo of San Francisco Renaissance/ Beat Poet David Meltzer and Northwest poet Julie Rogers, who will perform together, something they’ve been doing since 2010. Both poets will read individually as well as in the manner of an improvisational back and forth duet, referred to as “fours” by Meltzer, a jazz term.
On Saturday, Meltzer will offer an afternoon poetics seminar entitled “Basic Mysteries” from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Summit Space at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters & Tomes Books, 671 Maltman Drive, Grass Valley. The seminar fee is $35 at the door and $30 for students and seniors. For info, go to: http://tomesgv.com.
This is an unusual couple. Meltzer began writing poetry at age 11 in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Rogers began writing at the same age in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Meltzer performed in New York as a teen on radio and early TV and, by his 20s, was recording his poetry to jazz in Los Angeles. From there, he moved onto North Beach, San Francisco, during the flowering of the 1950s/1960s literary scene. He was the youngest poet in Donald Allen’s seminal “New American Poetry.” A friend of Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsburg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Diane diPrima, Michael McClure and a community of poets, artists and musicians, he read his work and was published with the “Beats.” He is a scholar of the Kabbalah, and also taught at San Francisco State College, The Urban School in San Francisco and Vacaville Correctional Facility and was a poetics and humanities professor at New College in San Francisco. Now in his mid-70s, he’s the author of more than 40 books, including poetry, essays, fiction, anthologies and interviews, including San Francisco Beat-Talking with the Poets.
In 2011, City Lights in San Francisco published Meltzer’s most recent book of poetry, “When I Was A Poet,” No. 60 in the Pocket Poet’s Series that also published Allen Ginsburg’s “Howl.” Meltzer’s book was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in poetry last year. Next year, City Lights will reissue “Two-Way Mirror – A Poetry Notebook,” the text Meltzer now uses as part of his seminar curriculum. See his website at http:// meltzerville.com
Rogers began reading her poetry in San Francisco cafes and bookstores during the ’70s. After several years in and around the city, she moved north to live in Mount Shasta. In 1985, she settled near Tashi Choling Temple outside Ashland, Ore., where she studied and practiced Buddhism for two and a half decades. In Ashland, Rogers published several chapbooks, co-edited an anthology of Buddhist poetry, and co-facilitated a writing workshop for four years.
She read frequently at many west coast venues, and published poetry in various anthologies and magazines. After training and working as a hospice volunteer, in 2007, Vimala published “Instructions for the Transitional State,” her Buddhist hospice manual.
In 2010, she and Meltzer met in San Francisco, and they married in 2011. Last year, Wild Ocean Press in San Francisco published a collection of her poetry spanning 30 years of work, “House of the Unexpected.” She now privately teaches creative writing for children and teens and leads a Buddhist practice and study group in the Bay Area.
Earlier this year, Meltzer and Rogers recorded a CD of their poetry with improv jazz saxophonist Zan Stewart, yet to be released. Now, the couple brings their combined decades of writing poetry to share with Grass Valley. See Julie Rogers’ website at http://julrogers.com