Category Archives: John Wieners

>John Wieners (Early and Late)

[John Wieners at the Odessa Restaurant, New York City, October 1985. Photo: c. Allen Ginsberg]

John Wieners, spotlighted here, (“pure poet”, as Allen Ginsberg lauded him), was among those featured in that SFSU trove (of recent releases from the Poetry Center’s Digital Archive) that we mentioned in this space just a few weeks back. Click here for extraordinary audio from a June 21 1959 (Summer Solstice) reading – A twenty-five-year-old Wieners reads from the then still-unpublished Hotel Wentley Poems.
Over four decades later, courtesy of his publisher, Derek Fenner of Bootstrap Press, we have this video document of Wieners last public reading (he passed away, 8 days later, on March 1 2oo2). Following a typically-provocative and informative introduction by his friend Charley Shiveley (publisher of Behind the State Capitol (1975) – Shiveley speaks briefly of the circumstances of that book), Wieners (coming in about four-and-a-half minutes in) reads “Looking For Women”, “Supplication”, “The Eagle Bar”, “The Garbos and Dietrichs”, “This Love That Moves the World, the Sun and Stars”, and “Ode On A Common Fountain”. Unalloyed through the ages. “This was stuff I wrote when I was younger”, he ruefully remarks,”you know, when you think of different things.”

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Filed under Charley Shiveley, Derek Fenner, John Wieners

>Happy Birthday John Wieners


[“John Wieners, tragic American poet, visiting my room Park Plaza Hotel, Boston February 1, 1985. We’d met three decades earlier at Cedar Bar, New York — Robert Creeley & Frank O’Hara both admired his gift then, Hotel Wentley Poems were published that decade — but none of his books were in print at time of this visit.” (Allen Ginsberg Caption.) c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

[John Wieners at the Odessa Restaurant, New York City, November 1993. Photo: c. Allen Ginsberg]

Happy Birthday, John Wieners

The first of our 2011 birthday shout-outs goes out to the ever-present, graceful spirit of “pure poet”,”pure genius”, John Wieners, who, today, would have been 77 (the laudatory terms are Allen’s, from his introduction to the Black Sparrow edition of the first volume of Selected Poems 1958-1984. (Robert Creeley’s introduction to a second Black Sparrow volume also available on line is worth checking). Among other treasures on-line are recordings of Wieners reading (a legendary 1965 University of Buffalo reading, and, of course, the incomparable PennSounds page) – there’s also video up on

We couldn’t not mention, while celebrating John and Allen, Raymond Foye’s fondly-recalled account of John’s 1988 visit with Allen on the occasion of his participation in the “Literary History of the Beat Generation” series at Brooklyn College. A similarly poignant account of the interaction between the two poets, on another occasion, was recently provided by Eliot Kreiger on his blog. For an intelligent profile/over-view of the great poet shortly before his death in 2002, Pamela Petro’s piece for the Boston College magazine, “The Hipster of Joy Street”, is certainly worth a read if you’ve not seen it. Catherine Salmons in the Boston Phoenix a few years earlier might also serve as a reminder of the respect he had accrued.

The achievement lives on (two recently posthumous books have been published in the last few years by Lowell, Mass’s Bootstrap Press, “A Book of Prophecies” and “A New Book From Rome”
– and here’s his circa 1976 Statement for Who’s Who?

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Catherine Salmons, Eliot Krieger, John Wieners, Pamela Petro, Raymond Foye, Robert Creeley