Wieners, John

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Wieners, John

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1934-2002

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John Wieners (6 January 1934 1 March 2002) was an American lyric poet. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, he attended Boston College and then Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he studied under Charles Olson and Robert Duncan. From 1958 to 1960 Wieners lived in San Francisco, California and actively participated in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. His first book, The Hotel Wentley Poems, was published in 1958. Wieners returned to Boston in 1960 and was institutionalized for a time. In 1961 he moved to New York City but returned to Boston in 1963. His second book, Ace of Pentacles, was published in 1964. In 1965, he enrolled in the Graduate Program at SUNY Buffalo. He worked as a teaching fellow under Charles Olson, then as an endowed Chair of Poetics, staying until 1967, with Pressed Wafer coming out the same year. In the spring of 1969, Wieners was again institutionalized, and wrote Asylum Poems. Nerves was released in 1970, containing work from 1966 to 1970. In the early 1970s, Wieners became active in education and publishing cooperatives, political action committees, and the gay liberation movement. He also moved into an apartment at 44 Joy Street on Beacon Hill, where he lived for the next thirty years. In 1975, Behind the State Capitol or Cincinnati Pike was published. For the next ten years, he published rarely and remained largely out of the public eye. Black Sparrow Press released two collections, Selected Poems: 1958-1984 and Cultural Affairs in Boston, in 1986 and 1988 respectively. A previously unpublished journal by Wieners came out in 1996, entitled The Journal of John Wieners is to be called 707 Scott Street for Billie Holliday 1959, documenting his life in San Francisco around the time of The Hotel Wentley Poems. Wieners died on March 1, 2002 in Boston. Kidnap Notes Next, a collection of poems and journal entries, was published posthumously in 2002, and A Book of Prophecies in 2007.

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