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John Wieners holograph 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 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 holograph poetry 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. The notebook contains several unpublished poems as well as prose writings and lists kept between 1962 and 1965.

During this time, Wieners was living in New York City with American Beat poet Herbert Huncke (1915-1996) until 1963, when he moved back to live with his parents in Boston until 1965.

The notebook contains ten titled poems: "The Ivy," "The Bateleur," "Diary of a Breakdown," "Memories," "On Books, Incorporated Lending Library," "Digression on a Theme," "The Big Apple," "The Magic of this Summer," "Main Str.," and "Amphetamine Blues," as well as one long, untitled poem and four short, untitled verses or poems.

"The Magic of this Summer" appeared in

Selected Poems (1972) dated June 23, 1963, but the version in the present notebook bears little resemblance to the published piece. The remaining poems appear to be unpublished work.

The notebook also contains two lists: one Wieners titled "My Friends" and another "Names of participants and audience at reading." The list of friends contains almost exclusively names of women including, among others, people known from work at "Howard, Micro. Photography, and Jordan's," "the girls of Poet's Theatre" and "the female poets." The list includes American poets May Sarton (1912-1995), May Swenson (1913-1989), and Jean Garrigue (1914-1972).

"Diary of a Breakdown" is prose writing or a prose poem, as is another, untitled work on the same page as the beginning of the "My Friends" list. This work mentions Charles Olson, Wieners's mentor and teacher at the Black Mountain School whom he met in 1954 and an essay by Olson titled "Against Wisdom as Such." Also mentioned are Herbert Huncke and "Cisco," perhaps a shortened version of San Francisco, a major center of the Beat movement in the mid-to-late 1950s and home to Wieners from 1958-1960.

All of the writings contain extensive editing and some marginalia.

Box 28, F0479: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

Purchase, 1992.

Processed and encoded by Rachael Green, September 2013. Further encoded by George Apodaca, September 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2013 September 17
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 holograph poetry notebook, 1962-1965.
Box 28 Folder F0479
Physical Description

1 vol.

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