My poetry journey began in the early ‘60s when I was a teenager in the Bay Area. I was exposed to the Beats as well as to Chinese nature poets. My mother wrote poems and my father had written his thesis at Reed College on W.H. Auden. He worked on a novel while I was in grade school and I grew up with many volumes of poetry, fiction and non-fiction on the bookshelves. As a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, I was exposed to the local west coast poets and went to a lot of the frequent benefit readings in the City. In 1970 I lived for a while on San Juan Ridge near Nevada City, California and became part of the poetic community around Gary Snyder.
In 1974 I went to the first summer program at Naropa Institute in Boulder where I encountered many actively writing poets, most of whom were from the New York School. I took classes, went to a lot of readings and brushed off and polished my own poems and began writing in earnest. I started getting published in local magazines and giving readings.
In the late 1980s, Thich Nhat Hanh was scheduled to read at Naropa and he asked me to go on before him. I had just finished directing a meditation retreat with him and he knew I wrote poetry. After the reading, his publisher at Parallax Press, Arnie Kotler, an old acquaintance from San Francisco Zen Center, asked me if he could publish a book of mine. In 1988, he brought out my collection, The Life You Ordered Has Arrived, A couple of years later a chapbook called Maya Drala about traveling to Palenque was translated into Spanish and published in a bi-lingual edition in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
In 1988, I enrolled in Naropa’s first MFA program in Writing and Poetics at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where I met and worked with many exemplary poets. I have continued to write both poetry and prose as well as non-fiction but I haven’t sought to publish in a long time. I enjoy many styles of poetics but my first love, the west coast sensibility, continues to magnetize me. The highest compliment I’ve yet received came from Philip Whalen’s biographer, David Schneider when he said in a review of my book, “Ms. Meier is a legitimate heiress to the Reed College school of poetry.” (referring to Snyder, Whalen and Lou Welch who all went to Reed.) My father would have been delighted had he been alive to read that.
In the late summer of 2017, Crescent Press will be reprinting The Life You Ordered Has Arrived. The new expanded edition will include Maya Drala and poems I wrote while living and traveling in Latin America as well as selected work done in the past thirty years.*
* If you would like to be notified when it has been released, please leave a message on the Contact Page.
All work protected by copyright © 2017 by Brigid Meier