House of the Unexpected — poet Julie Rogers, together with David Meltzer

Sunday, October 14 – 2 p.m.
A dual reading to celebrate the release of Rogers’ book, House of the Unexpected: Selected Poems, 1981-2012, from Wild Ocean Press.

Julie Rogers began writing at age 12 and began reading her poetry in San Francisco cafes in the late 1970’s.  She’s self-published five chapbooks and has read on public radio and television and at many venues in Oregon and California.  In 2007, Vimala published her Buddhist hospice manual, Instructions for the Transitional State.

This year, House of the Unexpected, a selection from Julie’s poetry spanning thirty years of work, has been published by Wild Ocean Press.  Her poems have been featured in various journals and anthologies, including Beatitude: Golden Anniversary, 1959–2009, Big Scream, The Cafe Review, Abalone Moon and the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. Julie tutors children in writing and, since their beautiful liaison first began a few years ago, has been performing her work in tandem with her husband, the poet David Meltzer, all over the region, the state and further afield.  For more on Julie and her work, visit her website at www.julrogers.com.

David and his dad in a NYC jazz club

Born in Rochester, NY, raised in Brooklyn, a poet at age 11, David Meltzer began his literary career during the Beat heyday when he arrived in San Francisco in 1957 at age 20, after a three-year Los Angeles sojourn with his father, Louis.  He’d been a quiz show kid, a precocious performer on radio and television…  that first poem was about the New York subway system–an entry in a contest staged by that august institution, we believe.  But that we could read it now!

Visit meltzerville.com for a little glimpse of David’s universe in a tea cup.

In San Francisco, Meltzer fell in with the likes of Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan, central figures in the literary era dubbed the “San Francisco Renaissance” and soon made waves at venues like The Cellar on Grant Street in North Beach — performing his poetry on stage with jazz cats like Pony Poindexter and Leo Wright; pioneering, along with ruth weiss and others, the alchemical fusing of jazz and poetry in real time & space.  Listen to the recordings in Melzerville and you’ll get a taste of how it all went down.  Meanwhile, he worked at Discovery Books, a door or two down from Vesuvio and City Lights, scouted for books in the company of Larry McMurtry, began a well-nigh maniacal accumulation of arcane knowledge and source materials that has never ceased…  Even with huge successive attempts to whittle down the volumes, his library remains vast and magnificent in its scope and detail, hinting at the manifold paths he’s tripped along, obviously oblivious to good sense… Perhaps it was the psychedelia of his days fronting the poets’ rock band known as The Serpent Power (with an album released on Vanguard in 1967) that guaranteed there’d be no turning back…

David at home… photo by Larry Keenan.

Melzer is the author of innumerable volumes of poetry  — including Blue Rags (hear a vintage recording of David reading the poem here) The Process; Arrow;,No Eyes: Lester Young; Beat Thing and David’s Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer, which was published in the prestigious Penguin Poets series.  Most recently, City Lights Publishers has brought out When I Was A Poet, # 60 in its fabled Pocket Poet’s Series.  Along the way, David has also published agit-smut fiction and volumes of essays, and has edited numerous anthologies and collections of interviews, including The Secret Garden: An Anthology in the Kabbalah; Reading Jazz; Writing Jazz, and San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets.  He taught in the Humanities and Poetics programs at the New College of California in San Francisco for 30 years; was given the Bay Area Guardian’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011; and this year was nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Poetry.  He now performs far and wide, sharing the stage with his wife — the poet Julie Rogers.  David and Julie are always welcome to take the stage at Bird & Beckett!