John Wieners (Early and Late)

John Wieners at the Odessa Restaurant, New York City, October 1985. Photo: c. Allen Ginsberg

John Wieners, spotlighted here, (“pure poet”, as Allen Ginsberg lauded him), was among those featured in that SFSU trove (of recent releases from the Poetry Center’s Digital Archive) that we mentioned in this space just a few weeks back. Click here for extraordinary audio from a June 21 1959 (Summer Solstice) reading – A twenty-five-year-old Wieners reads from the then still-unpublished Hotel Wentley Poems.

Over four decades later, courtesy of his publisher, Derek Fenner of Bootstrap Press, we have this (he passed away, 8 days later, on March 1 2002). Following a typically-provocative and informative introduction by his friend Charley Shiveley (publisher of Behind the State Capitol (1975) – Shiveley speaks briefly of the circumstances of that book), Wieners (coming in about four-and-a-half minutes in) reads “Looking For Women”, “Supplication”, “The Eagle Bar”, “The Garbos and Dietrichs”, “This Love That Moves the World, the Sun and Stars”, and “Ode On A Common Fountain”. Unalloyed through the ages. “This was stuff I wrote when I was younger”, he ruefully remarks,”you know, when you think of different things.”

John Wieners , Hyannisport, MA. February 21, 2002, John Wieners’ Last Reading<

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