John Wieners was born in Milton, Massachusetts in 1934 and received his degree from Boston College in 1954. He studied at Black Mountain College with Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, and Robert Duncan from 1955 to 1956 and later followed Olson, his mentor, to SUNY Buffalo. As a Beat poet and a member of the San Francisco Renaissance his poetry is however more personal and less committed to poetic theory than Olson’s.
His poetry, which often combines accounts of sexual and drug-related experimentation with jazz-influenced improvisation, reflects his highly political view of lyricism. Wieners was an antiwar and gay rights activist and was deeply involved with publishing and education cooperatives.
He published his first book of poetry, The Hotel Wentley Poems (1958), at the age of 24. Numerous collections followed, including Ace of Pentacles (1964); Nerves (1970); Behind the State Capitol, or Cincinnati Pike (1975). Wieners died in Boston in 2002.
My below poem is inspired by Wieners "A Poem for the Insane".
~ - ~
A Poem For The Reasonable
over whom these rules purport
to have authority as vulnerable
to universal credit and post-
structualist ideas. standing
on corners with the milk
bottle wrapped around their
broadsheet moral duties. hesitant
beyond the breakfast cereal cardboard
box copy of a good life in low
calorie. an idea with its roots in
the work of elderly men dried up
in the windowsill pots of
gardenia. equally situated
at the end of the jointly accepted
middle ground between consent
and truth. how then can some
moral or political rule be rightly
imposed on all of us? you ask me
just in case the foreseeable
consequences and side-effects
of its general observance for
each individual could be jointly
accepted to be fair. this might
indeed seem to be rather
puzzling. i agree.