The Hipster of Joy Street: An introduction to the life and work of John Wieners

1960s: Days of Rage

1966 “John Wieners (January 6, 1934 – March 1, 2002) was a Beat poet and member of the San Francisco Renaissance; an antiwar and gay rights activist. His poetry combined candid accounts of sexual and drug-related experimentation with jazz-influenced improvisation.”

“John Wieners once wrote, ‘I will be an old man sometime / And live in a dark room somewhere.’ Today Wieners is an old man, but his small apartment on the far side of Beacon Hill — on Joy Street, where he has lived since 1971 — is not dark. It is bright and disorderly and crowded with visual evidence of a mind constantly shuffling perceptions: a kind of four-room, lived-in collage. One of his own books, an out-of-print paperback, lies open on a Formica-topped table, spine broken, lines of poetry crossed out and rewritten in pencil as if the literary choices he made 40 years ago still gnaw at…

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