Gerhard Meier (writer)

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Gerhard Meier's birthplace in Niederbipp alias Amrain in 1913 (four years before Gerhard Meier was born).  Photo archive © Pedro Meier
Gerhard Meier's birthplace in Niederbipp alias Amrain in 1913 (four years before Gerhard Meier was born).

Gerhard Meier (born June 20, 1917 in Niederbipp ; † June 22, 2008 in Langenthal ) was a Swiss writer and designer.


Gerhard Meier grew up in his hometown Niederbipp in the Bernese Oberaargau , where he spent most of his life. Since his dream of being an architect could not be realized, he began studying structural engineering at the technical center in Burgdorf . After dropping out of his studies, he joined the AKA lamp factory in Niederbipp in 1938. There he worked - only interrupted by his military service during the Second World War - for the following 33 years as a designer and finally as a technical manager.

Meier, reader of Leo Tolstoy , Claude Simon and Robert Walser , had already made his first attempts at writing during his student days, but he gave up completely when he entered professional life. He took up literature and writing again in 1957, when he spent some time in the sanatorium in Heiligenschwendi because of a tuberculosis disease . In 1964 his first volume of poetry appeared, which was followed by other publications. In 1971, when he had "quasi stuttered off his bourgeoisie", Meier gave up his work in industry; since then he has lived as a freelance writer in Niederbipp.

He became known to a wider public in 1979 when Peter Handke donated half of the Franz Kafka Prize to Gerhard Meier. Even after the publication of his main works in the 1970s and 1980s, and despite the steadily growing recognition by literary criticism , Meier largely refused to engage in literature and led a secluded life. In 1997 his wife Dorli (Dora), with whom he had been married since 1937, died. The couple had three children: the daughters Susanne Stöcklin-Meier and Ruth Scheidegger-Meier and a son, Pedro Meier.

Gerhard Meier has written poems , short prose and novels in which he dispenses with plots. “Between the world of the living and the world of the dead as well as between the past and the present [...] between the invented and the real” there is only a “thin membrane”. In his accentuation of the local, the small-scale and, in the best sense of the word, “ provincial ”, he achieved poetic reflections that are reminiscent of Robert Walser or Adalbert Stifter .

Gerhard Meier's archive, of which the literary part and the collection of reviews relating to Gerhard Meier's work were given to the Swiss Literature Archive in the summer of 1998 , documents the literary and cultural work through work typescripts , speeches and essays, letters, newspaper articles, books, photos and video cassettes Author's commitment.

Gerhard Meier died on June 22, 2008, two days after his 91st birthday, in the hospital in Langenthal.



Single issues

  • The grass turns green . Poems. Benteli, Bern 1964.
  • In the shade of the sunflowers. Poems. Candelabra, Bern 1967.
    • Some houses next door. Selected poems (from Green grass and In the shadow of the sunflowers ). Zytglogge, Gümligen 1973.
  • Bucket palms dream of oases. 60 prose sketches. Candelabra, Bern 1969.
  • It's raining in my village . Poems. Walter, Olten 1971.
    • Paper roses . Collected prose sketches (from bucket palms dream of oases and it's raining in my village ). Zytglogge, Gümligen 1976.
  • The other day . A prose piece. Zytglogge, Gümligen 1974.
  • The visit . Novel. Zytglogge, Gümligen 1976.
  • The dead straight canal . Novel. Zytglogge, Gümligen 1977.
  • Isle of the Dead . Novel. Zytglogge, Gümligen 1979.
  • Borodino . Novel. Zytglogge, Gümligen 1982.
  • The ballad of snowing . Novel. Zytglogge, Gümligen 1985.
  • Signals and gusts of wind . Poems and prose. Selection and epilogue by Heinz F. Schafroth . Reclam, Stuttgart 1989.
  • Land of winds . Novel. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990.
  • The dark festival of life . Amrainer Talks (with Werner Morlang ). Bruckner & Thünker, Cologne / Basel 1995.
  • Whether the pomegranate trees are in bloom. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-518-41677-4 .

Work edition


Special edition

Artist book

  • Poems. Artist's book, ed. and illustrated with 12 lithographs (paraphrases) by Pedro Meier (son of Gerhard Meier) for the 70th birthday of Gerhard Meier. Elephant Press, Bangkok 1987.

Illustrated book

  • A walk through Olten with Gerhard Meier. Together with Peter André Bloch . Dietschi, Olten 1997.

Audio book

radio play

Literature and films



Individual evidence

  1. ^ Writer Gerhard Meier is dead . Obituary. In: 20 minutes , June 22, 2008
  2. Christian Schuler: "Blossoming branches off the road". In: Cicero No. 6/2018, ISSN  1613-4826 , p. 114 f., Here p. 114.
  3. a b c d Christian Schuler: "Blossoming branches off the road". In: Cicero No. 6/2018, p. 114 f., Here p. 115.
  4. AAS 87 (1995), n.3, p. 335.

Web links

Articles on anniversaries, obituaries, etc.