John Wieners

January 6, 1934 – March 1, 2002. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, he studied at Boston College. In 1954 he heard Charles Olson read at the Charles Street Meeting House on Beacon Hill, and thereby, decided to enroll at Black Mountain College where he studied under Olson and Robert Duncan from 1955 to 1956. He then worked as an actor and stage manager at the Poet’s Theater in Cambridge, and began to edit Measure, releasing three issues over the next several years. From 1958 to 1960 he lived in San Francisco, California and actively participated in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. The Hotel Wentley Poems was published in 1958, when he was twenty four. His second book, Ace of Pentacles, was published in 1964. In the spring of 1969, he was institutionalized for the second time, and wrote Asylum Poems. Nerves was released in 1970, containing work from 1966 to 1970. In 1975, Behind the State Capitol or Cincinnati Pike was published, a magnum opus of “Cinema decoupages; verses, abbreviated prose insights.” In 1985, he was a Guggenheim Fellow. Black Sparrow Press released two collections: Selected Poems: 1958 –1984 and Cultural Affairs in Boston, in 1986 and 1988 respectively. He died on March 1, 2002 at Massachusetts General Hospital. Kidnap Notes Next, a collection of poems and journal entries was published, posthumously, in 2002. A Book of Prophecies was published in 2007 from Bootstrap Press. The manuscript was discovered in the Kent State University archive’s collection by poet Michael Carr. It was a journal written by Wieners in 1971, and opens with a poem titled 2007.