Ernst Meister was born in 1911 in the industrial city of Hagen, in Westphalia, and died there in 1979. He studied German, Theology and Philosophy and worked from 1939 until 1960 in his father's factory.
His first collection of Poetry Ausstellung [Exhibition] appeared in 1932 but after this he did not publish again until 1953. From then until his death there were regular collections. He received a number of literary prizes, including the Annette von Droste-Hülshoff Prize in 1957 and the Rilke Prize in 1978. In 1979, just before he died, he heard that he was to be awarded the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize.