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John Wieners

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners

By John Wieners, Edited by Robert DewhurstJoshua Beckman, and CAConrad

  • Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners gathers work by one of the most significant poets of the Black Mountain and Beat generation. Includes the full text of the 1958 edition of his influential The Hotel Wentley Poems, plus poems from rare sources, facsimiles, notes, and collages by Wieners. An invaluable collection for new and old fans.

    Named one of the most anticipated books of Fall 2015 by Publishers Weekly and a Top Fall Indie Poetry Pick by Library Journal

    A finalist for the 2016 Firecracker Award in Poetry

  • In his hands, poems are at once “wound,” “tomb,” and “bomb”—sites of injury, elegy, and threat.
    Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker

    His poetry was unburdened and unbuoyed, free, breathless, reckless, and jarringly, frankly queer — wicking graceful elegance from grim exile.
    Michael Andor Brodeur, Boston Globe

    This notion of the artist as a participant in some kind of sacramental exercise pervades Wieners’s verse, whose themes of abjection, rapture, sacrifice, and salvation mean that heroin, bulging cocks, and pleas to God mix freely together, all suffused with a profound sense of divine grace. This makes Supplication an apt title for the new selection of Wieners’s poems.
    Alberto Mobilio, Bookforum

    A bridge between the radical content of Allen Ginsberg and the mainstream, Wieners’s writing fuses the plainspoken with the florid...Unapologetically queer and overtly sexual, he worries through the reality of gay life in mid-20th-century America.
    Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

    Important for serious poetry readers and collections capturing poetry's history.
    Library Journal

    Wieners presents himself as a man of astonishing seriousness, a channel for the occasional prophecy, attuned to literary ambition as to erotic devotion… He comes across as someone with no barriers, a man who could really put on paper the “hurts of wanting the impossible.”
    Stephen Burt, American Poets

    Supplication abundantly rewarding book, a treasure-house of occult desperation and wonder; a rage against life that somehow hungers for more life.
    Justin Taylor, Electric Literature

    [Supplication] demonstrate[s] the infectious, tumultuous love and joy Wieners took in poetry.
    Patrick James Dunagan, BOMB Magazine

    [What] comes across most strongly in Wieners’ selected collection, Supplication, is a sense of living wild and free while also haunted by death and societal exclusion.
    Arielle Greenberg, American Poetry Review

    What happens when you cross the perfervid emotionalism of Edna St. Vincent Millay, she of the candle burning at both ends, with Charles Olson’s idea, distilled out of William Carlos Williams, of a projective verse imbued with “the breathing of the man who writes” (and I suppose it is very emphatically a man who writes the poetry that Olson had in mind)? You get John Wieners...
    Barry Schwabsky, Hyperallergic

    Supplication provides a fresh perspective on Wieners’s eclectic and idiosyncratic oeuvre, spanning the range of affective extremes that Wieners produced in verse... [It] is an important volume, one that should place Wieners back into the canon of twentieth-century American poetic innovation.
    Nat Raha, The Critical Flame

    [Supplication is a] remarkable representation of a writer whose life was of many writers, whose core and soul was devoted to his own progressions, but also fragmented through hospitalization and migration and, of course, aesthetic experimentation.
    Greg Bem, Queen Mob's Teahouse

    John Wieners’s writings and poems, undaunted by such destructive forces even as he names them, sound like today’s answer to whatever and whoever seeks to deny what is actual.
    Ron Slate, On the Seawall

  • John Wieners (1934–2002) was a founding member of the “New American” poetry that flourished in America after the Second World War. Upon graduating from Boston College in 1954, Wieners enrolled in the final class of Black Mountain College. Following Black Mountain’s closure in 1956, he founded the small magazine Measure (1957–1962) and embarked on a peripatetic life, participating in poetry communities in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Buffalo throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, before settling at 44 Joy Street on Beacon Hill in 1972. He is the author of seven collections of poetry, three one-act plays, and numerous broadsides, pamphlets, uncollected poems, and journals. Robert Creeley described Wieners as “the greatest poet of emotion” of their time.

    Joshua Beckman was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author of many books, including Animal Days (Wave, 2021), The Lives of the Poems and Three Talks (Wave Books, 2018), The Inside of an AppleTake It, Shake, Your Time Has Come, and two collaborations with Matthew Rohrer: Nice Hat. Thanks. and Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty. He is editor-in-chief at Wave Books and has translated numerous works of poetry and prose, including Micrograms, by Jorge Carrera Andrade, 5 Meters of Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) by Carlos Oquendo de Amat, and Poker (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004) by Tomaž Šalamun, which was a finalist for the PEN America Poetry in Translation Award.

    CAConrad has been working with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. Their latest books are Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return (forthcoming, 2024) and AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration (Wave Books, 2021). The Book of Frank is now available in nine different languages. Other titles include While Standing in Line for Death, ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tic for the Future Wilderness, and A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics. They received a Creative Capital grant, a Pew Fellowship, a Lambda Literary Award, and a Believer Magazine Book Award. With Robert Dewhurst and Joshua Beckman, they co-edited Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners. In 2022 Augusto Cascales made a film of their play The Obituary Show. They recently had their first solo exhibition at Fluent Gallery in Santander, Spain, titled 13 Moons: Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return. They teach at Columbia University in New York City and Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam. Please visit them online at

    Robert Dewhurst, a scholar and poet, is coeditor (with Joshua Beckman and CAConrad) of Supplication: Selected Poems by John Wieners (Wave Books, 2015). He is also the editor of a forthcoming edition of Wieners’s collected poems, and the author of a forthcoming intellectual biography of Wieners. His micropress publications have included the magazine Satellite Telephone (2007-2010), the journal Wild Orchids (2009-2011), and the chapbook imprint Scary Topiary Press (current). He holds a doctorate from the Poetics Program at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and lives in Los Angeles.

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

ISBN# 9781940696195 (6.5x9 216pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696188 (6.5x9 216pp, limited edition hardcover)

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