[Item #5052] Behind the State Capitol or Cincinnati Pike. John Wieners.
Behind the State Capitol or Cincinnati Pike
Behind the State Capitol or Cincinnati Pike

Behind the State Capitol or Cincinnati Pike

Boston, MA: Good Gay Poets, 1975. First Edition. Softcover. “Beyond this river which I have no desire to cross / There are mountains which I have no desire to climb / I am fenced in by rivers and mountains / And though the year’s day goes, I feel no loss” (qtd. from the poem “1952” on pg. 1). So begins this elusive mid-70s production from John Wieners’ (1934-2002) and the pronouncedly virile bunch over at “Good Gay Poets” press in the mid-1970s. 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). He was old enough to study under Charles Olson and Robert Duncan at the then-crumbling Black Mountain College in 1955-56, however; a most notable feather in his cap-&-biography. 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. The poetry in this collection, is predictably sterling; testamentary, both to Wieners’ truly formidable intellect, and his place in the Beat-&-Beyond canon—as one of (Mid-Century American) Literature’s pioneering Gay poets. Near the top of the copyright page, the following blurb-notation appears: “This collection is in response to earlier requests from the hands of Allen Ginsberg, who was responsible for securing the success of my first international volume; to Tom Maschler for correspondence in pertinence over that forgoing compilation from contracted Author, Suite Ten, Forty Four Joy Street, Boston, Massachusetts.” While such a note may no doubt be of use to the bibliographers, it does little with regard to our purposes, here—excepting the delivery of yet another forgotten anecdote detailing the walking “Business of Poetry, Ph.D” that was Allen Ginsberg. From the collection of the late Erin Black Matson, an artist & poet who was a close friend & associate-protege of Bonnie Bremser, Herbert Huncke & others. During the 1960s, Matson & her first husband, the acclaimed poet & educator (& our good friend & colleague at the European Beat Studies Network, ebsn.eu) Clive Matson, were bona fide bohemian members of the Beat Generation as it was transitioning into the hippie counterculture. The condition (see below) of this issue befits (& in our estimation is enriched by) its history as the slightly beaten-down possession of a True Beat—and one who was an extremely close friend of Wieners, no less. [ISBN: 978-0915480005]. Book in Good-Near Fine condition with pronounced-to-significant shelf-wear, rubbing, spotting, smudging throughout; slight, scattered staining, browning to front, back covers; minor-to-pronounced bumps to all corners of same; despite the microscopic detail we've provided, the prospective buyer should know that the inside of the item is surprisingly clean/well-preserved. Good-Near Fine. [Item #5052]

Price: $100.00