top of page


Public·16 members
Emil Fedotov
Emil Fedotov

How Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners Changed American Poetry

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners - A Review

If you are looking for a book that will challenge, inspire, and move you, you should consider reading Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners. This book collects some of the best works by one of the most influential poets of the 20th century, who wrote with honesty, passion, and courage about his life, his loves, and his struggles. In this article, I will introduce you to John Wieners, his poetry, and his book, and explain why you should not miss this opportunity to discover his unique and powerful voice.

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners books pdf file

Who was John Wieners?

His life and background

John Wieners was born in Boston in 1934. He grew up in a working-class Irish Catholic family and attended Boston College, where he studied English literature. He was fascinated by poetry from an early age and started writing his own poems when he was a teenager. He was also gay, which made him feel alienated and oppressed in the conservative society of his time.

In 1954, he moved to San Francisco to join the Black Mountain College, an experimental school that fostered some of the most innovative poets and artists of the postwar era. There he met and studied with Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, and others who influenced his poetic development. He also became friends with Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and other Beat writers who shared his rebellious spirit and adventurous lifestyle.

Wieners traveled extensively throughout the 1950s and 1960s, living in New York, London, Paris, Morocco, and other places. He published several books of poetry during this period, including The Hotel Wentley Poems (1958), Nerves (1970), and Behind the State Capitol or Cincinnati Pike (1975). He also wrote journals, letters, essays, and plays that documented his personal experiences and reflections.

However, Wieners also suffered from mental illness, drug addiction, and poverty. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals and rehab centers, where he endured harsh treatments and discrimination. He also faced harassment and violence from homophobic people who attacked him for his sexual orientation. He eventually settled back in Boston in the late 1970s, where he lived until his death in 2002.

His poetic influences and style

Wieners was influenced by a variety of poetic traditions and movements. He admired the Romantic poets such as Keats, Shelley, and Blake for their lyrical expression and visionary imagination. He learned from the Modernist poets such as Eliot, Pound, and Williams for their formal experimentation and cultural criticism. He followed the Black Mountain poets such as Olson, Creeley, and Duncan for their open form and projective verse. He resonated with the Beat poets such as Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Corso for their spontaneity and social protest.

Wieners developed his own distinctive style that combined these influences with his personal voice. He wrote poems that were free in form, rhythm, and syntax, but also precise in diction, imagery, and sound. He used colloquial language, slang, and obscenity, but also classical references, metaphors, and symbols. He wrote poems that were intimate, confessional, and autobiographical, but also universal, visionary, and transcendent.

His themes and topics

Wieners wrote about a wide range of themes and topics that reflected his life and his times. He wrote about love, sex, and desire, especially between men, in a way that was candid, erotic, and tender. He wrote about drugs, madness, and death, in a way that was realistic, tragic, and compassionate. He wrote about poetry, art, and culture, in a way that was passionate, critical, and celebratory.

Wieners also wrote about social issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and war, in a way that was radical, defiant, and hopeful. He wrote about spirituality, mysticism, and magic, in a way that was sincere, curious, and awe-inspiring. He wrote about himself, his friends, and his enemies, in a way that was honest, generous, and courageous.

What is Supplication?

The origin and meaning of the title

Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners is a book that was published in 2015 by Wave Books. It is a collection of poems that span Wieners's career from 1958 to 1984. It includes poems that have previously never been published, 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.

The title of the book comes from one of Wieners's most famous poems, "Supplication", which he wrote in 1969. The poem is a prayer to poetry itself, asking for its guidance, protection, and blessing. The poem expresses Wieners's devotion to his art and his faith in its power to heal and transform. The poem also reflects Wieners's humility and vulnerability as a poet who faced many challenges and hardships in his life.

The title of the book suggests that Wieners's poetry is not only a supplication to poetry but also a supplication to the reader. It invites the reader to enter Wieners's world and to listen to his voice. It asks the reader to appreciate Wieners's poetry and to understand his vision. It offers the reader a gift of beauty and wisdom that can enrich and inspire.

The editors and publishers of the book

The book was edited by three poets who are also admirers and scholars of Wieners's work. They are Joshua Beckman , CAConrad , and Robert Dewhurst . They spent years researching Wieners's archives and manuscripts to select the poems for the book. They also wrote an introduction that provides an overview of Wieners's life and poetry. They also added annotations that explain some of the references and contexts of the poems.

The structure and content of the book

The book is divided into four sections that correspond to four phases of Wieners's poetic career. The first section, "The Hotel Wentley Poems", contains the poems that Wieners wrote in 1958 in a hotel room in San Francisco. These poems are considered his breakthrough work, as they reveal his distinctive voice and style. They are also his most personal and confessional poems, as they deal with his love affairs, his drug use, his loneliness, and his poetic aspirations.

The second section, "Selected Poems 1958-1966", contains the poems that Wieners wrote during his travels and adventures around the world. These poems show his exploration of different cultures, landscapes, and experiences. They also show his engagement with social and political issues, such as civil rights, nuclear war, and gay liberation. They also show his experimentation with different forms and techniques, such as collage, cut-up, and found poetry.

The third section, "Selected Poems 1967-1974", contains the poems that Wieners wrote during his most difficult and turbulent years. These poems reflect his struggles with mental illness, addiction, and poverty. They also reflect his courage and resilience in facing these challenges. They also reflect his spiritual and mystical quest for meaning and transcendence. They also reflect his loyalty and gratitude to his friends and mentors who supported him.

The fourth section, "Selected Poems 1975-1984", contains the poems that Wieners wrote during his later years in Boston. These poems show his maturity and wisdom as a poet who had survived many trials and tribulations. They also show his nostalgia and regret for the past that he had lost or left behind. They also show his hope and joy for the present that he still cherished and celebrated. They also show his legacy and influence for the future that he inspired and enriched.

Why should you read Supplication?

The significance and impact of Wieners's poetry

Wieners's poetry is significant and impactful for many reasons. First of all, it is a testimony of a remarkable life that was full of adventure, passion, and courage. Wieners lived through some of the most important events and movements of the 20th century, such as the Beat generation, the counterculture, the sexual revolution, and the AIDS epidemic. He witnessed and participated in these historical moments with his own eyes and words.

Secondly, it is a contribution to a rich tradition of poetry that challenged and changed the literary landscape of America. Wieners was part of a generation of poets who experimented with new forms, languages, and aesthetics that expanded the possibilities of poetic expression. He was also part of a community of poets who supported and inspired each other with their friendship and collaboration.

The beauty and power of Wieners's language

Wieners's poetry is also beautiful and powerful for its language. Wieners had a remarkable gift for words, as he could create vivid images, striking metaphors, and musical sounds with his language. He could also convey complex emotions, thoughts, and sensations with his language. He could also communicate with different audiences, registers, and tones with his language.

Wieners's language is also diverse and eclectic, as he drew from various sources and influences for his language. He used words from different languages, such as French, Spanish, Arabic, and Latin. He used words from different disciplines, such as psychology, philosophy, religion, and science. He used words from different cultures, such as classical mythology, medieval alchemy, and modern pop culture.

Wieners's language is also expressive and authentic, as he wrote with his own voice and style. He did not follow any rules or conventions for his language. He did not censor or edit his language. He did not compromise or apologize for his language. He wrote what he felt, thought, and saw with his language.

The relevance and resonance of Wieners's voice

Wieners's poetry is also relevant and resonant for its voice. Wieners had a unique and compelling voice that spoke to his readers and listeners. He had a voice that was honest and sincere, as he did not hide or lie about himself or his experiences. He had a voice that was passionate and courageous, as he did not fear or shy away from expressing his feelings or opinions. He had a voice that was humble and generous, as he did not boast or brag about himself or his achievements.

Wieners's voice is also universal and timeless, as it speaks to people from different backgrounds and generations. He had a voice that was human and relatable, as he shared his joys and sorrows, his hopes and fears, his dreams and nightmares with his readers and listeners. He had a voice that was spiritual and transcendent, as he explored the mysteries and wonders of life and death with his readers and listeners. He had a voice that was inspiring and influential, as he encouraged and motivated his readers and listeners to pursue their own artistic and personal goals.


In conclusion, Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners is a book that deserves your attention and appreciation. It is a book that showcases the work of one of the most important poets of the 20th century, who wrote with originality, intensity, and grace. It is a book that presents the life of one of the most fascinating poets of the 20th century, who lived with adventure, passion, and courage. It is a book that offers the voice of one of the most inspiring poets of the 20th century, who spoke with honesty, passion, and wisdom.

If you are interested in poetry, in history, in culture, in humanity, you should read this book. You will not regret it. You will be amazed by it. You will be enriched by it.


Q: Where can I buy this book?

A: You can buy this book from Wave Books' website , Amazon , or your local bookstore.

Q: How can I learn more about John Wieners?

A: You can read his biography by Robert Dewhurst , The Life of John Wieners, which was published by Wave Books in 2020. You can also read his journals , letters , essays , and plays , which are also published by Wave Books.

Q: Who are some other poets who are similar to John Wieners?

A: Some other poets who are similar to John Wieners are Frank O'Hara , James Schuyler , Anne Sexton , Arthur Rimbaud , Gerard Manley Hopkins , Emily Dickinson , Walt Whitman , Rumi , William Blake , John Keats , Percy Shelley , William Shakespeare , Sappho , Homer , Virgil , Dante , etc.

Q: How can I write poetry like John Wieners?

A: You can write poetry like John Wieners by reading his poetry carefully and attentively. You can also write poetry like John Wieners by writing from your heart and soul. You can also write poetry like John Wieners by writing with your own voice and style. You can also write poetry like John Wieners by writing with honesty, passion, and courage.

Q: What is the meaning of the title Supplication?

A: The meaning of the title Supplication is a prayer or a request to a higher power or authority. It is also a humble or earnest plea or appeal. It is also a gesture of respect or reverence. It is also a sign of devotion or faith. 71b2f0854b


Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...


  • Love
  • Lokawra Shiopa
    Lokawra Shiopa
  • khunthein oo
    khunthein oo
  • bucher bestseller
    bucher bestseller
bottom of page