Author: Robert Dewhurst

ODE TO THE INSTRUMENT: Liner Notes for a John Wieners’ Recording

“Now a poem from Black Mountain, written in 1955,” begins this affecting recital of “Ode to the Instrument,” recorded for the Woodberry Poetry Room at Boston’s Fassett Studio in March 1962. The crystal-clear track is the only known recording of this uncollected early poem, in which Wieners’ later lyricism—his soft-stated allusiveness and lovesick, apostrophic poise—can already be heard lifting into place. The poem, written during Wieners’s first month at Black Mountain College, also marked a sea change in his dawning, elemental friendship with Charles Olson.