The Selected Letters of John Wieners
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
Sales Date: 2024-06-15
Boston born and bred, John Wieners was a queer self-styled poète maudit who was renowned among his contemporaries but ignored by mainstream critics. Twenty-first-century readers are correcting this elision, placing Wieners back alongside his better-known peers, including Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, and Amiri Baraka. Wieners was a voluble letter writer, maintaining friendships with these contemporaries that spanned decades and tackling a range of complex issues that resonate today, including drug use, homosexuality, subcultures of the East and West Coasts, and the differing treatment of mental patients based on their economic class. The letters collected in this volume are greatly enhanced by Eileen Myles's preface and Stewart's thorough introduction, notes, and brief bios of the poets, writers, artists, and editors with whom Wieners corresponded. The result is more than the letters of a poet--it is a history that explores the world at large in the mid-twentieth century.
"The passion, intelligence, and humility of John Wieners shines beautifully in Yours Presently. Michael Seth Stewart skillfully draws out the history and discusses constructions of literary coterie, small press activities, editing, funding, and performance to illustrate the primary concerns of poets in the mid-twentieth century while also locating those terms within the often troubled and sensitive reality of Wieners's experience."--Dale M. Smith, coeditor of An Open Map: The Correspondence of Robert Duncan and Charles Olson
List of Illustrations
"Until the dark hours are done": An Introduction
A Note on the Text
Part One. "a living that counted"
Chapter One. Spring 1955-August 1956
Chapter Two. January 1957-August 1957
Chapter Three. September 1957-December 1959
Part Two. "Absent Verse Forms"
Chapter Four. January 1960-May 1963
Chapter Five. October 1963-July 1965
Chapter Six. August 1965-November 1969
Part Three. "What can I do but shine / in memory"
Chapter Seven. January 1970-February 1971
Chapter Eight. April 1972-January 1976
Chapter Nine. July 1984-January 1997
Glossary of Names