October 11, 1942 ~ April 27, 2017
Jack Mueller, renowned poet of San Francisco and the Western Slope of Colorado, died in Grand Junction, Colorado at the age of 74, on April 27th 2017. He lived large in life--literary icon, educator, organizer, ocean sailor, mountain climber, poet and cultural leader in the arts. In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, Mueller gained a reputation among the post-Beat poets in the Bay Area literary scene with his readings and cultural performances; a resident of Log Hill in Ridgway, Colorado since the early 2000s, Mueller became a major cultural force in the Colorado literary community.
Mueller was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on October 11, 1942, the youngest of four boys, and grew up in Louisville, Ky. His parents, William Arthur Mueller and Mary Martha Fink, had emigrated from Germany in the 1920s. Mueller earned his BA from William Jewell College and received an MA degree from George Washington University before joining the Peace Corps in India, where poetry became his passion and life’s pursuit.
He moved to San Francisco in 1975 where for the next twenty years he would devote himself to his own poetry and to public arts programs as Director of the National Poetry Association. In 1979 he married Judith Faust of New Orleans, LA; they would be married for 21 years and have one child, Cristina.
In 1997, Mueller moved to McAllen, Texas where he served as Director of the International Museum of Art and Science and enjoyed living close to his aging parents.
In 2003, Mueller moved to Log Hill Mesa in Ridgway, Colorado, where his brother, David Mueller, lived part-time; he continued to publish his poems and give and organize readings throughout Colorado. Poet and publisher Danny Rosen said, “In addition to the wide impact Jack Mueller had on poets throughout Colorado, he was also instrumental in the birth of Lithic Press, which arose from the manuscripts and loose papers piled on his dining room table. It seemed obvious I should make books of his chaotic gatherings.”
Mueller published six collections of poems and two books of sketches, most notably Amor Fati (Lithic Press, 2013). A reviewer praised his approach to “almost exclusively cosmic questions — about mortality, love, and our relationship to language.”
Cristina Mueller said that, though her father had a difficult time in the hospital for the past four months, he would teach hospital workers — doctors, nurses and cleaning staff — one of his short poems:
You will never
I will never
Love starts there.
He is survived by his daughter, Cristina Marie Faust Mueller, son-in-law Ethan Nosowsky, and granddaughter, Olive Beatrix Faust Nosowsky, of Oakland, CA; his last surviving brother, Dr. Nick Mueller of New Orleans, LA; niece Mary Beth Mueller of Telluride, CO; nephew Charles Mueller of Ridgway, CO, David Mueller of Huntersville, NC, and John Mueller of New Orleans, LA; and several grand-nephews and nieces.