SAN DIEGO — David Antin, the poet and performance artist known for his “talk poems” who taught for decades at the University of California, San Diego, has died. He was 84.

Antin, who had Parkinson’s disease, died last week after a fall at his San Diego home, family members told the Los Angeles Times (

Antin won acclaim more than four decades ago for his talk poems — a hybrid of criticism, poetry and storytelling.

The Poetry Foundation identified him as part of a “group of artists and poets who brought new definitions and ambitions to poetry in the early 1970s.”

His best-known works are “Talking at the Boundaries” from 1976 and “What It Means to Be Avant-Garde” from 1993.

Michael Govan, director of the LA County Museum of Art, said Antin’s arrangement of words was “like a sculpture of language.”

Antin was born in New York in 1932 and studied linguistics as a graduate student at New York University. He specialized in the “language structure” of Gertrude Stein, according to UC San Diego, where Antin was professor emeritus.

Antin joined the faculty in San Diego in 1968 and began teaching full-time in 1972. He also directed the university’s Mandeville Art Gallery for four years. He wrote several books including “I Never Knew What Time It Was” and “Radical Coherency.”

Antin is survived by his wife of 55 years, the artist Eleanor Antin; son Blaise and daughter-in-law Cindy; and grandchildren Zachary and Natalie.

Information from: Los Angeles Times,