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John Wieners Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Wieners, John, 1934-2002.
Title: John Wieners Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1955-1970
Quantity: 0.75 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American poet. Incoming and out going correspondence (1956-1964); manuscripts and galley proofs for Ace of Pentacles; typescript poems and short stories; a diary dated 1955-1956; a notebook containing holograph poems; and newspaper clippings and articles about avant-garde writers. Correspondents include James Broughton, James F. Carr, Cid Corman, Gregory Corso, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Archibald MacLeish, W.S. Merwin, Marianne Moore, Philip Whalen, and Jonathan Williams.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Poet John Wieners was born in Boston on January 6, 1934. After graduating from Boston College in 1954, Wieners attended Black Mountain College from 1955-1956, studying under Charles Olson and Robert Duncan. He became associated with the Poet's Theatre in Cambridge, and his two one-act plays were produced by the New York Poet's Theatre and Judson Poets Theatre in New York. In 1957 he founded the poetry magazine, Measure, and in 1962 received the Poet's Foundation Award. Among his published books are The Hotel Wentley Poems (1958), Ace of Pentacles (1964), Pressed Wafer (1967), Asylum Poems (For my Father) (1969), Youth (1970), Nerves (1970), Selected Poems (1972), and Behind the State Capitol, Or Cincinnati Pike (1975).

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Wieners Papers consists of a Subject file, Correspondence, Writings, and Published material.

The Subject file contains biographical information. The Correspondence includes letters from various poets, many of whom contributed to Measure, a poetry journal which Wieners edited. All correspondence is incoming unless otherwise noted. The Writings consist of the manuscript, galley proofs, and other materials relating to Wieners' book Ace of Pentacles; a journal produced between 1955 and 1956; a notebook; typescript poems; and two untitled pieces: a short story, and a book manuscript. The Printed material includes book reviews and publicity items for Ace of Pentacles, photocopies of Measure issues, and an assortment of articles and newspaper clippings about avant-garde writers.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged alphabetically. Within the correspondence folders, each folder is arranged chronologically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Broughton, James, 1913-1999.
Carr, James F.
Corman, Cid.
Corso, Gregory.
Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005.
Duncan, Robert, 1919-1988.
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997.
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969.
Lamantia, Philip, 1927-2005.
MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982.
McClure, Michael.
Merwin, W. S. (William Stanley), 1927-2019.
Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972.
Whalen, Philip.
Wieners, John, 1934-2002.
Williams, Jonathan, 1929-2008.


American literature -- 20th century.
American poetry -- 20th century.
Bohemianism -- United States.
Literature, Experimental.
Poets, American.

Genres and Forms

Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Wieners Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Jul 1987
Revision history: 14 Oct 2006 - converted to EAD (AMCon); 20 Jun 2011 - adds P11-058 (MRC); 28 Aug 2023 - updated inventory with note about Allen Ginsberg letter (DTF)

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Subject file
Box 1 Biographical material
Box 1 Broughton, James 1957, undated
Box 1 Carr, James F. 1964
Box 1 Corman, Cid 1957
Box 1 Corso, Gregory 1957-1958
Box 1 Creeley, Robert 1957-1959 - includes a letter between Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley
Box 1 Duncan, Robert 1956-1957 - includes typescripts (originals and reproducions) of poems by Duncan
Box 1 Ginsberg, Allen 1956-1959
Box 1 Kerouac, Jack [1956]
Box 1 Lamantia, Philip 1959 - includes typescripts of poems by Lamantia
Box 1 MacLeish, Archibald undated
Box 1 McClure, Michael undated
Box 1 Merwin, W. S. 1957
Box 1 Moore, Marianne 1957
Box 1 Perkins, Michael 1967-1970 - outgoing
Purchased, 2013.
Box 1 Posner, David undated - photocopies only
Box 1 Whalen, Philip 1957
Box 1 Williams, Jonathan 1957-1958
Box 1 Ace of Pentacles - Manuscript (2 folders)
Box 1 Ace of Pentacles - Cover design (rejected)
Box 1 Ace of Pentacles - Table of contents
Box 1 Ace of Pentacles - Dummy
Box 1 Ace of Pentacles - Galley proofs with holograph notes and corrections (3 folders)
Box 1 1955-1956
Box 1 Untitled (appears to be for a book)
Box 2 Notes, addresses, holograph poems
Box 2 "The Acts of Youth"
Box 2 "An Anniversary of Death"
Box 2 "Ballade"
Box 2 "Le Chariot"
Box 2 "Exchange of the Lady's Handmaids"
Box 2 "If Love Be Dark"
Box 2 "The Ladies"
Box 2 "The Mermaid's Song"
Box 2 "On January 20th the Snows Began to Melt"
Box 2 "Poem"
Box 2 "A Poem for the Dead I Know"
Box 2 "A Poem for Trapped Things"
Box 2 "Second Flight Across Country"
Box 2 "Spring 1956"
Box 2 "The Swan"
Box 2 "Two First Poems"
Box 2 "Two Years Later"
Box 2 "Where Fled"
Box 2 "You Can't Kill These Machines"
Short Story
Box 2 Untitled
Printed material
Box 2 Ace of Pentacles - Autographed tip-in pages
Box 2 Ace of Pentacles - Book reviews
Box 2 Ace of Pentacles - Publicity (miscellaneous)
Box 2 Ace of Pentacles - Publisher's advertisements
Newspaper clippings
Avant-garde writers (4 folders)
Box 2 New York Review of Books Oct. 31, 1963
Box 2 New York Sunday Herald Tribune Magazine May 17, 1964
Box 2 Times Literary Supplement Aug. 6, 1964
Box 2 "The Mimeograph Revolution" from the Times Literary Supplement Aug. 6, 1964
Measure (edited by John Wieners)
Box 2 no. 1, (photocopy) Summer 1957
Box 2 no. 2, (photocopy) Winter 1958
Box 2 no. 3, (photocopy) Summer 1962
Box 2 Fliers - Berkeley Poetry Conference; "San Francisco Poetry—The Rolling Renaissance" event
Berkeley flier purchased, 2011.

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