Land of Long Shadows

John Wieners, “a singular poet,” in the Boston Globe


Here's a little belated notice that the Boston Globe has penned a great review of John Wieners's Supplication and Stars Seen in Person: Selected Journals, in the Sunday Arts section of October, 18.

“Supplication” doesn’t come as a correction of the Black Sparrow “Selected” so much as a refinement. It offers a slimmer stack of poems, yet somehow feels more generous . . . Read alongside the four journals spanning 1955-1969 assembled in “Stars Seen in Person,” the lilting, drifting highs, lows, and noise of his poems come to feel more like carefully distilled concentrates of his grander, wilder project of seeing, saying, and seizing as many moments as he could . . . A hazard of Wieners’s long-held position on the fringe as a cult antihero is that we don’t properly see how central his spirit figures into what American poetry was becoming at mid-century. Even these decades later, Wiener’s poems — so fresh and fluid, lurid, and luminous — still feel too vital to leave behind.

Read the whole review, by Michael Andor Brodeur, here.

Supplication in PW

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners has received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly:

. . . in this marvelous selection [the editors] heed Wieners’s call to “visit this house often, / imbue my life with success, / leave me not alone.” A bridge between the radical content of Allen Ginsberg and the mainstream, Wieners’s writing fuses the plainspoken with the florid: “I wish I was a dancer/ and cd. move/ in feet/ undo my body.” Unapologetically queer and overtly sexual, he worries through the reality of gay life in mid-20th-century America. There is a deep concern with poetry as muse and form, and the poems “burn in the memory of love.” But Wieners also sees the danger in that love . . . With this publication and the recent release of his journals, Wieners’s plea not to be left alone is a step closer to being realized.

A preview from Supplication, the (hitherto uncollected) 1956 poem "Not Complete Enough," also appears in the October issue of Harper's Magazine.

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners


Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners (coedited by myself, Joshua Beckman, and CAConrad) is now on presale from Wave Books. The gilded limited-edition hardcover (pictured above), beautifully designed by Jeff Clark, is currently available for a mere $20! The book officially publishes October 6.

Nat Raha has penned an expert review of Supplication for Critical Flame:

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners (Wave Books, 2015) is the first comprehensive volume of Wieners’s poetry to appear for nearly thirty years. Providing a chronological account of the transformations of Wieners’ writing from the mid-to-late 1950s into the 1980s, and restoring a significant amount of material into print, Supplication provides a fresh perspective on Wieners’s eclectic and idiosyncratic oeuvre, spanning the range of affective extremes that Wieners produced in verse. The crescendos of visionary poetics, and its subsequent collapse into romantic desolation, with the nuances of queer desire and embodiment, are distilled finely into two hundred pages.

Publishers Weekly has also named Supplication one of the three "Most Anticipated" poetry titles of Fall 2015.

Rachelle Rojany: Abecedarian

John Wieners on USA: Poetry (1965, dir. Richard O. Moore)

So Long