John Joseph Wieners (January 6, 1934 – March 1, 2002) was born in Milton, Massachusetts, Wieners attended St. Gregory Elementary School in Dorchester, Massachusetts and Boston College High School. On September 11, 1954 he heard Charles Olson read at the Charles Street Meeting House on Beacon Hill during Hurricane Edna. He decided to enroll at Black Mountain College where he studied under Olson and Robert Duncan from 1955 to 1956. In 1957 he took a job sweeping floors at a popular Beat hangout in North Beach, where he joined the artistic community in the city. From 1958 to 1960 Wieners lived in San Francisco and actively participated in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. The Hotel Wentley Poems was published in 1958, when Wieners was twenty-four. Subsequently, he was a contributor to Donald Allen's seminal New American Poetry anthology. Wieners returned to Boston in 1960 and was committed to a psychiatric hospital. In 1961, he moved to New York City and worked as an assistant bookkeeper at Eighth Street Books from 1962-1963, living on the Lower East Side with Herbert Huncke. In 1965, after traveling with Olson to the Spoleto Festival and the Berkeley Poetry Conference, he enrolled in the Graduate Program at SUNY Buffalo. He worked as a teaching fellow under Olson, then as an endowed Chair of Poetics, staying until 1967, with Pressed Wafer coming out the same year. Nerves was released in 1970, containing work from 1966 to 1970. In the early 1970s, Wieners became active in education and publishing cooperatives, political action committees, and the gay liberation movement. He also moved into an apartment at 44 Joy Street on Beacon Hill, where he lived for the next thirty years.


A Curriculum Of The Soul

Volume One & Volume Two

edited by John Clarke and Albert Glover

ISBN 978-1-944682-17-0

$20.00        440 pages

ISBN 978-1-944682-16-3

$20.00        456 pages