Biographical Information and Resumé

John Brandi : Biography

            John Brandi, a native of Southern California, graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1965 with a BA in art and anthropology. He joined the Peace Corps, moved to Ecuador, helped organize Andean farmers in their struggle for land rights and civil liberties, and began publishing his poems in hand-sewn mimeograph editions, a trend that preceded small-press publishing. Returning to the U.S., he protested the American War in Vietnam, moved abroad, moved back, and in California met Beat Generation poets Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Michael McClure. In 1971 he moved to New Mexico, published That back Road In, and received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

        John is an ardent traveler, having ventured from southern Chile to the Alaskan tundra, as well as to Nepal, Ladakh, Sikkim, Southeast Asia, India, China, Cuba, Mexico and Indonesia. Since 1973, he has taught as an itinerant poet in schools, prisons, nursing homes and centers for at-risk youth in Arkansas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, New York and Alaska.

        John Brandi’s numerous American publications include poetry, travel essays, limited-edition letterpress books, hand-colored broadsides and modern American haiku. His books have also been published in India and Nepal, and his poems in magazines throughout Europe. He has lectured at the Palace of the Governors Museum in Santa Fe, the Roswell Museum, the Idyllwild Arts Center for Poetry in California, Jamestown Community College in New York, and for American students studying in Ubud, Bali and Chiapas, Mexico.

        John is a painter as well as a poet and has held solo exhibits throughout the United States. Among his honors are a Witter Bynner Translation Grant, the Just Buffalo Writers Award, the Portland State University Poetry Prize and numerous poet-in-residence awards from state arts councils. Among his poetry books are: In What Disappears, Water Shining Beyond the Fields, Heartbeat Geography, Weeding the Cosmos and That Back Road In. His works of prose include A Question of Journey and Reflections in the Lizard’s Eye.

See John Brandi's poems in Summer, 2001 issue of "The Drunken Boat

John Brandi : Press Release

John Brandi, a native of Southern California, grew up traveling the Big Sur coast, the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Mojave Desert with his parents, who encouraged him toward the art of traveling, witnessing, writing and painting. He graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in art and anthropology. 

        Then he joined the Peace Corps, worked with Andean farmers in their struggle for civil liberties and land rights, and began publishing his poetry in hand-sewn mimeograph editions as part of the “do-it-yourself” phenomenon that preceded the alternative-press movement.  Returning to North America, he protested the Vietnam War, moved abroad, moved back, met Beat Generation poets Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, and Allen Ginsberg while living in California, and in 1971 moved to New Mexico. He still resides there, living in the northern mountains with his wife, poet Renée Gregorio.

        During Brandi’s early years in the Southwest, he traveled with Japanese poet Nanao Sakaki, and compiled That Back Road In, the first of his many memorable poetry collections. He stayed alive by teaching as an itinerant poet and in 1979 received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

        As a poet, Brandi owes much to the West Coast Beat tradition, but he also refers to poets as diverse as Federico Garcia Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Matsuo Basho as influences. As a painter, he says his practice as poet-painter-traveler harkens back to the 8th century Chinese master, Wang Wei.  He also cites Henry Miller and Kenneth Patchen, notable American writers who were excelled painters as well.

        San Francisco Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman has said of Brandi: “He has been an open roader for much of his life and like his two great forbearers, Whitman and Neruda, has named the minute particulars, the details of his sojournings … infusing them with a whole gamut of feelings— compassionate, mischievous, loving and righteous. It’s what’s made his poetry one of the solid bodies of work that’s emerged from the North American West since the ‘60s.”

        New Mexico writer John Nichols, in his introduction to Brandi’s book of essays Reflections in the Lizard’s Eye, wrote: “The way Brandi interprets the world is rich with the guts and gusto of old-fashioned magicians His is a bittersweet, loving vision, as well as a hardass, heartfelt swansong to the disappearing vestiges of a more truthful way of life.”

        John Brandi has been poet-in-resident in schools, prisons, nursing homes and centers for at-risk youth throughout the U.S., including Alaska and the Navajo Nation. He has traveled from Chile to Alaska; walked the Himalayas of Nepal, Ladakh and Sikkim; made repeated journeys to Southeast Asia, India, Mexico and Indonesia, and has visited southern China and Cuba.

        His publications include poetry, travel essays, modern American haiku, hand-colored broadsides and limited-edition letterpress books. His collections have been published in India and Nepal, with individual poems appearing in magazines throughout Europe. As a painter he has been honored with solo exhibits throughout the United States. Among his books of poetry are: In What Disappears, Water Shining Beyond the Fields, Heartbeat Geography, Weeding the Cosmos and That Back Road In. His prose publications include: A Question of Journey and Reflections in the Lizard’s Eye.

John Brandi : Resumé

John Brandi

PO Box 275
El Rito NM 87530


11-5-43,  Los Angeles 

BA,  Art / Anthropology;  California State University at Northridge, 1965

Peace Corps, highland Ecuador, 1966-1968

Selected Awards:  
Portland State University Poetry Prize, (1972)
National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, (1980)
NEA Grants as Editor of Tooth of Time Books, (1980-86)
State Arts Councils Poetry-in-the-Schools Awards: Alaska, New Mexico, Montana, Nevada (1973-1993)
Witter Bynner Foundation Translation Award - Mexican Poetry (1985)
Just Buffalo Literary Center Writer-in-Residence Award (1988)
Djerassi Foundation Residency Award (1990)  
            Just Buffalo / White Pine Press World of Voices residency award (2004)

Major Publications: 
           "Water Shining Beyond the Fields" (Tres Chicas Books, 2006)
           "One Cup and Another" (Tangram, 2004)

            "In What Disappears" (White Pine Press, 2003)
“Empty Moon / Bellyfull: Asian Haiku” (Pilgrims Books India, 2001)

“Visits to the City of Light” (Mother’s Milk, 2000)
“Reflections in the Lizard’s Eye: Notes from the High Desert” (Western Edge, 2000)
“Unmasking the Fire: Bali Journals with Renée Gregorio” (Yoo Hoo Press, 1999)
“No Other Business Here: Haiku with Steve Sanfield” (La Alameda Press, 1999)

“A Question of Journey” (Asia Edition: Book Faith India; 1999)
“Heartbeat Geography: Selected & Uncollected Poems” (White Pine; 1995)

“A Question of Journey” (Light & Dust; 1995)
“Weeding the Cosmos”  (La Alameda Press, 1994)

Shadow Play: poems 1987-1991”  (Light and Dust; 1992)
“In the Desert We do not Count the Days”  (Holy Cow! Press; 1991)
“Hymn for a Night Feast: poems 1979-1986”  (Holy Cow! Press; 1989)
“That Back Road In”  (Wingbow Press; 1985)
“Poems at the Edge of Day”  (White Pine Press; 1984)

That Crow That Visited Was Flying Backwards”  (Tooth of Time; 1982)
Diary from a Journey to the Middle of the World”  (The Figures Press; 1980)
“Chimborazo: Life on the Haciendas of Ecuador”  (Akwesasne Notes; 1976)
“Desde Alla”   (Tree/Christopher’s Press; 1971)

 Selected Poetry Readings: 
Saint Mark’s Poetry Series,  NYC
Interchange,  San Francisco
River Styx Poetry Series,  St. Louis
Woodland-Pattern, Milwaukee
Elliott Bay Book Company,  Seattle
Bowling Green State University,  Ohio
Ft. Lewis College,  Colorado
University of New Mexico,  Albuquerque
Beyond Baroque Foundation,  Los Angeles
Center for Peace Through Culture,  San Antonio
Cody’s Books,  Berkeley
Jamestown Community College,  NY
The Portland Poetry Festival, Portland, Oregon
Idyllwild Arts Poetry Festival, California
Roswell Museum, New Mexico
Pink Pony, NYC
Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque 
Downtown Subscription, Santa Fe
Sacramento Poetry Center, California
Lindenwood College,  St. Charles, Missouri
Guadalajara  International Book Fair, Guadalajara, Mexico
Tea & Tattered Pages, Paris
            Word Play / Medicine Show, New York City
            Recursos, Santa Fe
            Whittier College, Los Angeles

Radio Broadcasts: 
KDHX, St. Louis;  WBFO, Buffalo;  KUNM, Albuquerque;  KPFT, Houston;  KBOO, 
            Portland; KSFR, Santa Fe

Teaching (residencies and seminars): 
Just Buffalo, NY, Spring 2004 (Poet-in-Residence)
            Roswell Museum, NM, 2000 (Poet-in-Residence)

            Aleknagik, Ekwok, New Stuyahok, Alaska, 1986, 1991  (Poetry-in-the-Schools)
Navajo Nation, Shiprock, NM: 1986-1997 (Poetry,Language Arts, Theatre Improv)
New Mexico rural schools: 1973-1985  (Poetry-in-the-Schools)
Nevada rural schools: 1988-1995  (Poetry / Visual Arts)
Just Buffalo Literary Center, Buffalo, NY: Autumn 1988  (Poet-in-Residence)
College Of Santa Fe, NM: 1985  (In-service Poetry Workshop for Teachers)
San Juan College, NM:  1987  (In-service Poetry Workshop for Teachers)
Idyllwild School of Music and Art, Ca: 1990-present  (Poetry Seminars)
Montana rural schools: 1992  (Poetry-in-the-Schools)

 California Mens Colony, San Luis Obispo
Sing Sing, NY;  Green Correctional Institute, NY.
Springer Boys Home, NM; YDDC, NM  (youth corrections)
New Mexico State Penitentiary, Santa Fe

Special Situations:   
New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped, Alamagordo
New Mexico School for the Deaf, Santa Fe
Transitional Living Services, Albuquerque  (poetry with schizophrenics) 
Open Hands, Santa Fe  (poetry & oral history with the elderly)
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM  (poetry & interpretations

Major Exhibits of Paintings:         
            Cruz Gallery, Santa Fe
            Harwood Arts Center, Albuquerque
North Columbia Cultural Center, Nevada City, Ca.
Woodland-Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee
Claudia Chapline Gallery,  Stinson Beach, Ca.
Moody Gallery,  Houston, Tx
Laurel Seth Gallery,  Santa Fe
Return Gallery,  Taos
University of New Mexico Thompson Gallery, Albuquerque 

Selected Magazines and Periodicals: 
Atlantic Monthly, Caliban, Hawaii Pacific Review, Poetry Flash, Nimrod, Blue
Mesa Review, Modern haiku, Iron (Great Britain), Kyoto Journal (Japan),
Trapani Nova (Italy), Don Quichotte (Switzerland), Chelsea, River Styx, Fish Drum

            Shamanic Warriors Now (Scotland), Paper Tiger (Australia)

South & Central America, Mexico, Cuba, India, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia,
                     China, Viet Nam Malaysia, Indonesian Archipelago (including assistant instructor,
                      two one-month seminars in Bali for students of Ft. Lewis College, Co., 1995, 1996).

Major Library Holdings:
             Suny Buffalo, NY; California State Library, CA; Brown University, Providence, RI;
             UC Davis, CA.; Angelico Chavez Library, Santa Fe, NM.

For portfolio of current work, please send inquiries to