David Meltzer (February 17, 1937 – December 31, 2016) was an American poet and musician of the Beat Generation and San Francisco Renaissance. Lawrence Ferlinghetti described him as “one of the greats of post-World-War-Two San Francisco poets and musicians”. Meltzer came to prominence with inclusion of his work in the anthology, The New American Poetry 1945–1960.
Meltzer was born in Rochester, New York, the son of a cellist and a harpist. In 1940, the family moved to Brooklyn. At the age of 11, he wrote his first poem, on the topic of the New York City subway system. He performed on radio and TV in The Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour. The family moved once again to Rockville Centre. His parents separated, and he accompanied his father to Los Angeles in 1954. In 1957, he moved to San Francisco and became part of a circle of writers based around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan.