Details

ISBN-10: 0872866505
ISBN-13: 9780872866508
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/21/2015
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.30" W, 0.90" H

Published by City Lights

Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook (Enlarged)

Hardcover

Price: $18.95 $13.27

Overview

The poem is perhaps the highest verbal form of communication. It illuminates and it conceals. It is as precise and as vague as a mirror.”–David Meltzer

Two-Way Mirror is a classic book of poetics. Written in short remarks, autobiographical anecdotes, and inspirational quotations drawn from philosophical, ethnographic, and literary sources, Two-Way Mirror is both a nondidactic guide to the art Meltzer has devoted his life to, and a literary pleasure in itself. With its various writing prompts, Two-Way Mirror has proven to be both inspirational and practical, a teaching tool and a guide to creativity that makes the perfect gift for poets at any stage of development.

Attractively bound and printed in a deluxe gift edition, and featuring Meltzer’s collection of found artwork collaged from thrift-store grammar books, this new and expanded edition retains the charm of the original while updating it for the present day.Building upon the version he self-published in 1977, Meltzer has written additional material that considers the effect of technological developments since the book’s publication, as well as an afterword in which he reflects on the history of the volume, its inception, and its usefulness.

Praise for Two-Way Mirror

Reading Two-Way Mirror, I feel continually surprised, excited, alive. This book makes me want to make poems, and readers, beware: if you are not already a poet, this book could very well turn you into one.”–Matthew Zapruder

“I know of no better amalgam of poetry & poetics & no better introduction to the ways in which poetry can emerge for us & lead us beyond ourselves & toward our own fulfillments. Meltzer’s grace of mind & the life of poetry that surrounds it make the case complete.”–Jerome Rothenberg

“A great book of learning from a lifetime’s thoughts of the poem. Ramble, scribble, tickle, lightbulb! Timely and highly worthwhile.”–Clark Coolidge

“Invaluable for anyone who reads or writes poetry, or has a restless desire of any kind, this wondrous, zany compendium gives us ‘a biography of poetry’ that directly enters our veins, bypassing all the crud and restoring our sense of the art, and David Meltzer is a champion of the impossible to have compiled it … a gift of delight and wisdom–keep it in your bag by day and by your bed at night.”–Mary Ruefle

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Reviews

This heterogenous master volume is filled with advice, speculation, enthusiasm, new and ancient esoterica, play, collage, resistance, creative and useful definitions of major poetic terms, practical counsel about how to read and write poetry and so much more. All this makes it not only an idiosyncratic and welcome guide to reading and writing poetry, but also a kind of poem itself. Reading Two-Way Mirror, I feel continually surprised, excited, alive. This book makes me want to make poems, and readers, beware: if you are not already a poet, this book could very well turn you into one.–Matthew Zapruder, author of Sun Bear (Copper Canyon, 2015) and Why Poetry (Ecco Press, 2016)

David Meltzer had set out, when he was very young, to write a long poem called The History of Everything, an ambition that his later poetry brought ever closer to fulfillment. Here, in Two-Way Mirror, he shows us the underpinnings for such an enterprise: a brilliant & wise work as rich in insights & discoveries today as when it was first published in 1977. I know of no better amalgam of poetry & poetics & no better introduction to the ways in which poetry can emerge for us & lead us beyond ourselves & toward our own fulfillments. Meltzer's grace of mind & the life of poetry that surrounds it make the case complete.–Jerome Rothenberg

A great book of learning from a lifetime's thoughts of the poem. Ramble, scribble, tickle, lightbulb! Timely and highly worthwhile.–Clark Coolidge

Invaluable for anyone who reads or writes poetry, or has a restless desire of any kind, this wondrous, zany compendium gives us 'a biography of poetry' that directly enters our veins, bypassing all the crud and restoring our sense of the art, and David Meltzer is a champion of the impossible to have compiled it. Out of print since 1977, this new expanded edition is a gift of delight and wisdom–keep it in your bag by day and by your bed at night.–Mary Ruefle

This is a marvelously ingenious re-edition of a small classic with a fresh introduction, clever retro pictures, and a highly personal conclusion. Meltzer, one of the very last Beat poets still standing (and writing!) offers to young people in particular a provocative guide on how to think about becoming a poet and how to be a poet, drawing upon the transhistorical, shamanic wisdom and memory that are the poet's basic tools. Two-Way Mirror will be widely read and highly valued.–Paul Buhle, editor of The Beats: A Graphic History

City Lights Books and editor Garrett Caples have without doubt done the poetry world a full on solid by bringing Meltzer's book back in print ... While today's twitter-fed MFA communities may at first be puzzled by how righteously Meltzer celebrates the printed text as object this book is destined to become a regularly utilized classroom text. At the very least every creative writing program office would benefit from having a copy on hand. Poets & Writers should be all over it. The book's value as an educational tool was after all in part the original impetus behind its initial publication ... Whether or not you're interested in poetry Meltzer's joy full of admiration and respect for the mysterious play of letters provides testament to that wondrous voyage through reading writing into becoming: this life business which begins with the lifting of a pen."–Patrick James Dunagan, The Rumpus

[N]ot merely refreshing but momentous. Updated with recent additions, Meltzer's tome presents a set of poetic reflections, quotes from writers and thinkers from across the ages, disguised writing prompts, and ramblings that, instead of hoisting up organized directives, opens doors, and creates possibilities of profound reflection and good soul-searing fun.–Jake Marmer, Tablet Magazine

'Poetry's a magic act, ' writes Oakland's David Meltzer, who began his career during the heyday of the Beat Generation. In this collection of poetry and prose, he muses on the definitions of poetry, quotes some of his favorite works by other poets and advises the reader about how to capture a poem ('Pay attention'). The charming black-and-white illustrations are from Meltzer's collections of thrift store grammar books."–San Jose Mercury News

City Lights has long supported the ideas of writers, and David Meltzer's Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook, is another welcome reissue, with passionate proclamations about creating compositions that sing. 'Make every inch of your beloved a poem, ' he says ... This is not as easy as it sounds, and Meltzer know his mysticism is less easy than it seems. 'The poem' he reminds us, 'illuminates and conceals. It is as precise and as vague as a mirror.' Two-Way Mirror is a beauty, a manifesto, an inspiration and a challenge."–Barbara Berman, The Rumpus

In his visionary collection of anecdotes, advice and edifying quotes, Meltzer traces his evolution as an artist. Now Meltzer's luminous, emotionally engaging language impresses on readers his insights from a decades-long oeuvre. His book of poetics delivers a complex and compelling how-to guide on the art of writing poetry. City Lights' reissue of the 1977 edition packs a breadth of intellect, philosophical insight and artistic practice into a slim primer resonant with the spirit of the San Francisco Renaissance. In homage to his origins in the 1960s Beat generation, Meltzer takes readers on an evocative study of poetry as an interconnected and cross-cultural process ... As a whole, the body of work remains an inspirational compendium of elegant sketches about the craft of poetry. Two-Way Mirror offers an intriguing glimpse into the art of personalizing language from a poet who has honed his skill for more than six decades."–The Daily Californian

Time and again when students are faced with complex poems the temptation is to shrug and walk away; Meltzer's advice is central. After all a stanza is a room. Enter it, look around, move onto the next room and then walk back to experience being in the first one again. Reading is looking, thinking and responding. This book is a boost to self-confidence and, in turn, self-esteem and I wish that every secondary school in the country would buy this book! After that, I wish that every Head of Department in the country would make it essential reading for his colleagues and use its resources as topics for departmental discussion."–Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence

"A handsome hardcover from City Lights seems a fitting way to showcase a work that seems to have been decades in the making."–Colin Cooper, Beat Scene

At its heart, Two-Way Mirror is a text of conversation, conversation with the poets Meltzer admires, those he knows or knew personally, the works of these poets, and the poems themselves. It's a conversation between the parts of Meltzer that will always be a student of the word, ever hungry for expansion in understanding. As a text that invites you to respond, approaching it conversationally will allow for the best read. This is your formal invitation to participate in the work."–Alex Rieser, Heavy Feather Review

[D]elightful. Especially for those who've read widely or are willing to pick up and pursue the tempting crumbs [David] Meltzer drops in the course of his meandering, associative discussion of the poetic impulse ... Coming from a man who's not only a poet but also a scholar of Jewish mysticism, this wide-ranging book feels like the natural outcome of Meltzer's childhood goal to write a "History of Everything." It's that ambitious ... [I]f you'd enjoy a flipbook-fast romp through the history of man's inclination to name and sing, then this funhouse mirror is for you."–New York Journal of Books


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Details

ISBN-10: 0872866505
ISBN-13: 9780872866508
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/21/2015
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.30" W, 0.90" H
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