Posts tagged 'John Wieners':

John Wieners in the New Yorker

Another belated book review notice! In its recent November 2nd issue, Dan Chiasson of the New Yorker had this to say about Supplication:

His many poems about sex, his celebrations of heroin, peyote, and cocaine, and his reverence—in poems that make gritty and real the heart’s imperatives—for an idealized poetry so different from the facts on the ground make Wieners (born a Catholic, and, like many lapsed Catholics, prone to beliefs that fill in the blank) a devotional poet . . . His afterlife exists in the form of these poems, a mental Boston, eerily lit by neon and street lights, through which the rest of us wander.

Read the whole piece here.

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.

Dave Haselwood, 1931-2014

I was saddened to learn the other night that Dave Haselwood, visionary publisher of the Auerhahn Press, passed away on December 30 at his home in Cotati, California. I met Dave once, in January 2013, when I interviewed him in Cotati about his publishing of The Hotel Wentley Poems. Dave received me very warmly and impressed upon me his still vivid memories of arriving in San Francisco fresh from the "Wichita vortex" in 1958—"just out of the Army and cornfed from Kansas," as he put it—and immersing himself in the burgeoning arts scene in Polk Gulch. He and John Wieners met early that summer (at either a Philip Lamantia reading or a Larry Jordan film screening) in the neighborhood, and he began Auerhahn with Wieners's Hotel Wentley later that year.

After our meeting, Dave was always quick to reply, always with insight and encouragement, to my follow-up queries regarding Auerhahn/Wieners minutiae. I had hoped to visit with him again on my next trip to the Bay Area, but, sadly, won't—though I feel grateful and honored for the chance I had to meet him when I did. Of the inception of the Auerhahn Press and his friendship with Wieners, Dave told me that day last January:

We really made a real empathetic connection, because that’s how I’ve worked as a publisher and printer, and that first book set the tone of how I operated, which was you’d read these poems going around, and you’d go "yes, yes," and then you’d get to know the poet and you’d get into a collaborative mode, and then you’d bring in an artist—in this case it was Bob LaVigne, who also lived in the Hotel Wentley, and so that drawing of Wieners [in Hotel Wentley] was done in my room in the Hotel Wentley—so that’s how Auerhahn Press always operated, it was a collaborative effort. And, you know, there were a lot of other poems out there that I could never make that kind of connection with, so I never got involved with those people . . . Well, what sums it up for me was when the book came out, and he and I were gloating over it, I said, "I don’t want the press to be a fly-by-night operation, I want it to really continue." And he said, "Oh, no. It should be fly-by-night." That’s John. Somehow or another that encapsulates John’s mystique and his magic. "No, no—it should be something that secretly happens and then disappears and appears somewhere else." . . . He was a very unique person. I've never known anyone else vaguely like him.

The Auerhahn Press Records are held at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. A Bibliography of the Auerhahn Press, & Its Successor, Dave Haselwood Books, by Alastair Johnston, was published by Poltroon Press in 1976. A small collection of early poems, The Moon Eye and Other Poems, is online at Wichita Beats. Cedar Cigo wrote a great piece about Haselwood & Auerhahn for the Harriet Blog back in 2010. In later years, Dave was a devout practitioner of Zen, and was an ordained Zen priest; the Zen website Cuke.com has a nice page on Dave, with links to his Zen lectures and interviews, here. Rest in peace.

photo credit: Dave Haselwood, Bodega Bay, April 1997