Asylum Poems. John Wieners.
Asylum Poems
Asylum Poems

Asylum Poems

New York, NY: Angel Hair Books, 1969. First Edition. Stapled Wrappers. Possibly preceded only by what some have called an “unauthorized” edition from the underground anarchist “publishing house” the “Press of the Black Flag Raised,” John Wieners’ (1934-2002) slim 1969 release “The Asylum Poems” is a document from the junk-sick, hellish interludes not altogether unfamiliar to the troubled luminary. Born in Milton, Massachusetts in 1934, Wieners was indeed old enough to be a legitimate part of the first generation of Beat writers emerging in the 1950s (despite being, on average, ten years younger than most included in that roster). A formative early experience came for the young Wieners on September 11, 1954 when he saw Charles Olson read at the Charles Street Meeting House on Beacon Hill while an active hurricane raged outside. Could there be a purer and more representative Olsonian moment than this? He studied under Olson and Robert Duncan at the then-crumbling Black Mountain College in 1955-56. In 1957, Wieners then made his way to North Beach in San Francisco, becoming close with the likes of Robert LaVigne and Wallace Berman. The most celebrated fruit of his San Francisco stay was the work he produced while living at the Hotel Wentley in San Francisco, “The Hotel Wentley Poems,” published in 1958 when Wieners was only twenty-four. Allen Ginsberg, when asked about John Wieners, was quoted as saying: “Wieners, in a way, is one of the greatest poets around or, certainly, the most Romantic and doomed poet around compared to everyone else.” This work, surely, is in that strain of Keatsian Romantic Doom of which Allen speaks. These are poems written during Wieners’ second psychiatric hospitalization in 1969, the first having happened 9 years earlier upon returning to Boston from San Francisco (the “Hotel Wentley Poems” period) in 1960. Large-format mimeographed magazine in stapled wrappers. This authorized first edition was published in an unnumbered edition of 200 (10 specially signed by Wieners) by Lewis Warsh & Ann Waldman’s Angel Hair Books, a significant imprint which did much to popularize the then-emerging “New York School” of poets, writers, and artists. Book in near fine condition with moderate shelf-wear throughout; small-to-moderate bumps, tiny instances of chipping to corners of front, back wrappers; Pollock-like splash of coffee to leftmost fine-edge of front wrapper at center-middle; typical age-toning and yellowing enveloping the formerly light blue back wrapper, creating a gradient effect of-sorts; back wrapper and colophon page loose/detached (separate scan included) but text is complete and unaffected. Near Fine. [Item #4639]

Price: $45.00