David Meltzer was born on February 17, 1937, in Rochester, New York. In 1957, he moved to the Bay Area and became associated with the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat Generation. He was the author of several collections of poetry and fiction, and was also known for being a jazz musician. Meltzer’s more than fifteen books of poetry include Two Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook (City Lights Books, 2015); When I Was a Poet (City Lights, 2011); and Arrows: Selected Poetry, 1957–1992 (Black Sparrow Press, 1994). In 2001, Meltzer edited and released San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets (City Lights Books), a series of conversations with members of the Beat Generation, including Diane di Prima, Joanne Kyger, Jack Hirschman, Michael McClure, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Meltzer died on December 31, 2016, in Oakland, California.