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John Wieners manuscript poetry notebook


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

American poet John Wieners (1934-2002) is identified with both the Black Mountain School, which he attended from 1955-1956 and studied with poets Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, and Charles Olson, as well as the Beats. His poetry contains themes of drug abuse and mental illness, as well as a concern for women's rights, gay rights, and other social issues.

Raymond Foye, "John Wieners," Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 16. The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1983. p. 572-583. "John Wieners." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2007. (Retrieved 2007 March 4).

This notebook was kept by twentieth-century American poet and activist John Wieners (1934-2002), who was associated with the Beat movement and the Black Mountain School of poets. Kept primarily between May and June 1962, the volume contains several unpublished poems, prose writings, a clipping, and a collage.

Wieners spent time living in both the Boston area and New York City in the early 1960s. He shared an apartment with Beat writer Herbert Huncke (1915-1996) for about one year (1962-1963). During this time in 1962 when this notebook was kept, Wieners may have been living in the Boston area and working as the editor of

Measure, a literary magazine that he had founded in 1957.

The notebook contains nineteen titled poems: "Model"; "Television"; "Stove"; "In The Seventh Circle"; "The Legend of the Loathely Maiden"; "Danse Russe"; "Benumbed By Greatness"; "1930 Jazz"; "LifeBoat"; "An avalanche of honeysuckle"; "The New Day"; "Blue Back"; "The Green Candle"; "Reflections"; "Contradicting Picasso"; "Burning Myself Out"; "The roses bloom"; "At Bedtime In The Darkness"; and "Blue Haze." The notebook also contains many untitled poems and verses.

The notebook also contains a few journal-like entries and several quotes from authors, poets, and figures whom Wieners admired, such as Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, Robert Creeley, John Steinbeck, Mae West, and D.H. Lawrence. The notebook also includes a piece of advice from Wieners’s mentor and teacher at the Black Mountain School, Charles Olson: “I urge you towards construction.”

Included in the notebook is one newspaper (circa 1972) clipping reporting on the deaths of actress Margaret Rutherford and poet Cecil Day-Lewis; a small collage from friend and fellow poet Jim Dunn; and a short list of publications, perhaps a reading list.

All of Wieners’s writings bear extensive editing and revision, as well as some marginalia.

Purchase, 2016.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2016 April 15
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

John Wieners manuscript poetry notebook, 1962 and 1972. 1 volume.
Box 20 Folder F0361
Physical Description

1 volume

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