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David Meltzer (Oakland) collaborating with Big Bridge Press (Guerneville) and  fiscal sponsor: Committee on Poetry)

Award: $40,000 Literary Arts Grant awarded in 2008

Presented: 21 Rockpile on the road events–most of them in 2009

Poet, musician, scholar, and editor David Meltzer and Big Bridge Press, founded by poet and songwriter Michael Rothenberg, collaborated to create Rockpile. The writers took a road trip to what was going to be eight cities in the United States (and expanded to 21 cities) that were central to the cultural upheaval and identity politics that reawakened poets, artists, musicians, and songwriters in the mid 1960s through the 1970s.

On the way, Meltzer created a poetic journal and blog. In each of the selected cities, Meltzer and Rothenberg encountered and performed with poets, musicians, and songwriters—developing portraits of these musicians and their hometowns and the history of an important period in artistic collaboration, while making a new history created in the moment. David Meltzer reported, “Despite gloomy prognostications about decline, art, poetry, music, curiosity, & inquiry were alive & well & thriving cross country.” Documents–including video–from the road trip were collected into a large volume for future editing.

David Meltzer is the author of more than 30 books of poetry and fiction. In 2005, Penguin published David’s Copy-Selected Poems. Big Bridge, the online magazine, started in 1997, serving as an extension of the vision first articulated by Big Bridge Press, an important publisher of fine print poetry and art books founded in 1990.