David J. Melnick

David J. Melnick was born in Illinois in 1938 and was raised in Los Angeles. By the age of 7 he had invented a private language, and at 13 he constructed a semi-private one with a friend. He was educated at the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley, and now lives in San Francisco. His first book, Eclogs, containing poems written in the 1960s, was published in 1972 (Ithaca House). Pcoet, written in 1972, was published in 1975 (g.a.w.k.). Men in Aida, Book One (Tuumba, 1983) is the first book of a projected poem based on Homer’s Iliad. This poet’s politics are left, his sexual orientation gay, his family Jewish. He has wandered much, e.g., to France, Greece and Spain (whence his mother’s ancestors emigrated in 1492). As of this writing, he has never held a job longer than a year-and-a-half at a stretch. He is short, fat, and resembles Modeste Moussorgsky in face and Gertrude Stein in body type and posture. Melnick later published A Pin’s Fee (1988), which, according to Ron Silliman, “could be read as a journal of the plague years, San Francisco during the first full brunt of the AIDS pandemic.”