10 halftones

Yours Presently

The Selected Letters of John Wieners
Edited by Michael Seth Stewart



Boston born and bred, John Wieners was a queer self-styled poète maudit who was renowned among his contemporaries but ignored by mainstream critics. Twenty-first-century readers are correcting this elision, placing Wieners back alongside his better-known peers, including Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, and Amiri Baraka. Wieners was a voluble letter writer, maintaining friendships with these contemporaries that spanned decades and tackling a range of complex issues that resonate today, including drug use, homosexuality, subcultures of the East and West Coasts, and the differing treatment of mental patients based on their economic class. The letters collected in this volume are greatly enhanced by Eileen Myles’s preface and Stewart’s thorough introduction, notes, and brief bios of the poets, writers, artists, and editors with whom Wieners corresponded. The result is more than the letters of a poet—it is a history that explores the world at large in the mid-twentieth century.

Contributor Bios
Michael Seth Stewart teaches English at the University of Alabama. He is also the editor of Stars Seen in Person: Selected Journals of John Wieners.