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Joel Weishaus Papers

Identifier: MSS-456-BC

Scope and Content

The papers of Joel Weishaus primarily relate to his original research and his published and unpublished materials. The collection contains 5 series: Correspondence, Unpublished Works, Published Works, Works by Others, and Photographic Materials. The collection documents much of Weishaus's career and concerns as a poet (1965-84).

Major correspondence files include letters from Robert Bly (1967-71); Marion Mountain (1968-83); Gary Snyder (1965-71) and William Witherup (1968-83). The importance of this series becomes apparent in their support of a struggling colleague. Issues covered range from critical review of works in progress to extensive letters on a personal level. The collection also contains materials reflecting Weishaus's interest in the Trappist monk philosopher, Thomas Merton, and the publication of Merton's work Woods, Shore, Desert: A notebook. May 1968, This 1982 Museum of New Mexico publication includes photographs by Merton and an introduction and notes by Joel Weishaus. Weishaus continues to be interested in Merton and his philosophy, which directly contributed to Weishaus being the guiding force behind the publication of the Woods, Shore, Desert book. This section does contain one photocopied letter from Merton to Weishaus. Weishaus' original works include "Deeds and Sufferings of Light: The Aesthetic of Nuclear Technology," "Generating Whispers," and "Reality Dreams: A Metalogue." Photographs of Weishaus' sculptures are also included in the collection.

Joel Weishaus' Digital Archive should be consulted as a complement to this paper archive.


  • 1937-2014
  • Majority of material found in 1960-2005

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Use of one Folder of material on Thomas Merton is restricted.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication allowed for research purposes. Permission to duplicate material on Thomas Merton from Box 2, must be obtained from the Thomas Merton Studies Center, Louisville, Kentucky. Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.


Joel Weishaus was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 11, 1939. He attended local schools and graduated from the prestigious Erasmus Hall High School. At age twenty, Weishaus was a junior executive (motion picture accounts) on Madison Avenue. During this time, he gave much thought to a future career in the arts. In 1960, he spent several months in Los Angeles reflecting on his career. Deciding that the West Coast was not appropriate for him at the time, he returned to New York to pursue a life in writing, sculpting, and painting. This quest led him to study creative writing with Charles Glicksberg at the New School for Social Research. Weishaus did not find the confinement of a classroom conducive to his art, so he left and worked at various jobs and places on the East Coast which allowed him the time to devote to his creative talent.

Joel moved to San Francisco in 1964 where his work revolved around sculpting. Within the year, however, he would focus on writing and poetry. In 1965, his friendship with the poet, Gary Snyder, would influence his life and writing for a ten year period. In 1965, his first published works began to appear in poetry magazines and journals. Poetry was accepted and published by TRACE, Monk's Pond, Rolling Stone, PANJANDUM, Plumber's Ink, as well as regional and local publications. Throughout this time, Weishaus's extensive network of colleagues included major writers and poets such as Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, Gary Snyder, and Allen Ginsberg.

Weishaus's other professional activities include: his appointment as literary editor of the University of California-Berkeley, Daily Californian," while a student of Chinese Literature in the Department of Oriental Languages (1966); helping build and run an experimental theater in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco (1967); traveling to Japan to study at the Zen monastery, Daitakuji (1968); receiving a grant from P.E.N. on a recommendation from Allen Ginsberg (1971); his residency at the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Zen Center (1977); his residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, New Mexico (1977), in addition to a grant from the Mary Roberts Reinhart Foundation in New York for 1977. In 1980, he was listed in Who's Who in International Poetry (Cambridge, England).

During this period of his life, Weishaus published several volumes. His publications include: On the Mesa: An Anthology of Bolinas Writing (1971); Ox-Herding: A Reworking of the Zen Text (197.1); Bits and Snatches: The Selected Work of Sam Thomas (1974), and Woods, Shore, Desert: A Notebook, May 1968 by Thomas Merton (1983). In addition to published material, there exist several unpublished manuscripts (poetry) which Weishaus drafted and reworked from 1970-1980.

In 1977, Joel Weishaus relocated to New Mexico, first living in Santa Fe and then moving to Albuquerque in 1982. Since 1981/82, Weishaus has returned to sculpting as a medium and has exhibited his work in the Albuquerque area. In 1984, he began writing in the field of art and became involved in the study of aesthetical theory. His most recent appointment has been with the University of New Mexico Art Museum as an Adjunct Curator of Video. At present, Weishaus continues to draw from his extensive experiences in writing and sculpting and he is active in literary circles in the Albuquerque area.

During the next six years, Weishaus produced two major texts: Reality Dreams and Generating Whispers, as well as an artists book, Threading the Petrified Glyph. He also fulfilled a private commission: Hinging the Parallax, which consists of three panels (poem/text/paratext), hinged together, standing 50"H x 14"W.


2 Boxes (2 cu. ft.)

Related Archival Material

Joel Weishaus Digital Archive Etta Blum Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Black Sparrow Press Records Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Autographed copy of Down Wind, Down River, by William Witherup, was transferred to CSWR general collection.

Way Out: a thematic reader, by Lois A. Michel, was transferred to UNM University Libraries for cataloguing.

Processing Information

Collection was rearranged at the Folder level, with some materials added, December 2006.
Finding aid of the Joel Weishaus Papers, 1937-2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 456 BC::Joel Weishaus Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss456bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131