Edited by Patrick James Dunagan. ROCK TAO is a rambling cohesive rock-n-roll poetics diary originally written in 1965 as Meltzer listened to KEWB in San Francisco transcribing lyrics of top hit songs. Along the way, he samples scientists, philosophers, psychologists, musicians, starlets... figures who defined what the sixties would come to be and how they would be remembered. ROCK TAO is penetrating in its critical view of the consumer culture taking shape in America. Meltzer said, "...I began examining what is famous in America as a way to sight those archetypal inventions peculiar to the land." He presciently anticipated the homogenizing walmartification of how the country would develop over the next 50 years.
"David Meltzer's ROCK TAO may very well be the best book I've ever read on rock-n-roll music, and it was written in 1965 when David was 28 years young. Super deep and swingin poetics."
"Priceless accounts, observations, passion, bricolage/montage from musical genius poet, archivist of existence, adept of essentials, spiritual practitioner of mystical consciousness. You always wanted to “pick his brain” but rarely an op. Here’s a way to bask in Meltzer’s youthful bedrock enthusiasm, in the lineage of “istorin”, to find out for oneself. ROCK TAO is an exemplary lift, original, and generative for what matters in this crazy life. “Art as fire." —Anne Waldman
"I can hear David's voice." —George Herms
"Lovingly edited by Patrick James Dunagan and exquisitely realized by Lithic Press, ROCK TAO by David Meltzer is as relevant, and as visionary today as it was when David wrote it almost 60 years ago. But don’t fool yourself into thinking this tour de force is some sort of nostalgia trip, this magnificent hero’s journey is a timeless poetic collage with David as both the medium and the message." —S.A. Griffin, co-editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, author of Dreams Gone Mad with Hope
"How can I suggest the delightful flavor and range of his words in this brimming collection? I open its pages and see, at random, here some lines from a Clark Coolidge poem, there Elvis Presley and Del Shannon lyrics. And his own comments like these, unifying it all into a dizzying lucid whole: "Song starts in the body's lair & works its way of the body in a way not unlike Kundalini Shakti, or serpent power."... a must-read for any lovers of poetry, music and life. I'm grateful to have it in my hands!" — Sarah Menefee
Poetry. Literary Nonfiction.
Musician, scholar, teacher, editor, critic but known most as a poet, David Meltzer's work encompassed everything from pop culture to jazz to Kabbalah. He arrived in North Beach during the Beat heyday in San Francisco, achieving early acclaim as the youngest poet in Donald Allen's influential anthology, The New American Poetry, 1945- 1960. His more than fifteen books of poetry include TWO WAY MIRROR: A POETRY NOTEBOOK (City Lights, 2015), WHEN I WAS A POET (City Lights, 2011) and David's Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer (Penguin, 2005).Author City: USA