Poetry News

Jack Mueller, Poet Among Poets, Dies at 74

By Harriet Staff

Jack Mueller group photo

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that poet Jack Mueller, "a fixture in San Francisco’s North Beach scene of the 1970s and ’80s," passed away this week in his home in Colorado, after suffering for months from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. John McMurtrie writes more about this "poet among poets":

“Jack Mueller is the biggest-hearted poet I have ever known,” said the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder of City Lights Bookstore.

The San Francisco poet Neeli Cherkovski, a close friend of Mr. Mueller’s, said, “Jack Mueller remains a literary hero in North Beach, though he has lived for years in the Colorado Rockies. He has left many influential poems to be read and treasured. He illuminated the San Francisco streets in the ’70s and ’80s.”

Jack Hirschman, the former San Francisco poet laureate, said, “Jack Mueller started the Union of Street Poets in San Francisco long ago, together with myself and Kristen Wetterhahn. He was responsible for thousands of poems reaching people in their daily goings. Jack was a true comrade and is much beloved.”

Cristina Mueller called her father “a deeply original man who made art and poetry wherever he went,” drawing and composing poems on bar napkins, index cards and the like.

“He was constantly sketching, writing, creating, challenging people around him,” she said.

Mr. Mueller published six collections of poems and two books of sketches. He also served, for 15 years, as executive director and chairman of the National Poetry Association in San Francisco, showcasing poets and other artists in weekly events and annual festivals. In addition, he taught literary history at UC Berkeley.

Please find the full tribute to Mueller here. Photo at top, from left to right: Top Row: George Scrivani, Neeli Cherkovski, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gerard Nicosia, Jack Mueller. Bottom Row: Unknown man, Matthias Pfaff, Mark Green. Courtesy of PennSound.

Originally Published: May 2nd, 2017