Oppenheimer, Joel

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Poet and journalist, of New York, N.Y., and later Henniker, N.H.; b. Joel Lester Oppenheimer, 1930; d. 1988.

From the description of Papers, ca. 1953-1989. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86123194

From the description of Joel Oppenheimer papers, 1925-1988. (University of Connecticut). WorldCat record id: 28419831

Joel Oppenheimer was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1930 to Jewish parents. He failed out of Cornell University after one year (in 1948) and spent less than one semester at the University of Chicago . In February of 1950 he enrolled at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he became friends with Fielding Dawson and Ed Dorn and took classes with Paul Goodman and poet Charles Olson, while also working at the school's print shop. In his earliest poetry, Oppenheimer shows clearly the influence of William Carlos Williams, but he soon developed his own style. While at Black Mountain, Oppenheimer met and married his first wife, Rena Furlong ("Cissie"). He left the school in January of 1953 without taking a degree, eventually settling in New York and working in a print shop while continuing to write poetry.

The Dutiful Son was published by Jonathan Williams in 1956. The Love Bit and Other Poems came out on 1962. Oppenheimer's marriage fell apart by 1960, and his wife and two sons moved to New Mexico (Oppenheimer saw these two sons only rarely after this time). Oppenheimer had another son with activist Margaret Randall, although he was to see this son even less frequently ( Margaret Randall spent years in Mexico and Cuba with her family). Oppenheimer enjoyed a period of sexual freedom in New York during the early 1960s, and attended parties given by LeRoi Jones . Oppenheimer wrote a successful play, The Great American Desert, in 1961. Publisher Jonathan Williams held on to a manuscript of poems from this period, entitled Just Friends/ Friends and Lovers from 1962 until its eventual publication in 1980. Oppenheimer married his second wife, Helen, in 1964, and eventually had two more sons. He left his job as a printer in 1966, when he became the director of the St. Mark's Poetry Project. This lasted until 1968, when Oppenheimer handed over the reins to Anne Waldman . Subsequently, Joel made ends meet by giving poetry readings, teaching classes at the City University of New York, and by writing a column for the Village Voice . Oppenheimer reached the height of his popularity as a poet in the late 1960s and early 1970s, publishing three books with Bobbs-Merrill Company, including In Time (1968), On Occasion (1973), and The Woman Poems in 1975. He also wrote a popular book about his love of baseball and the New York Mets in The Wrong Season (1972), as well as a book about Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Lives! (1981).

In addition to his work as a poet and a journalist, Oppenheimer is interesting to consider in some other contexts. He was a well known figure in the New York scene of the late 1960s. He supplied the name for Max's Kansas City restaurant . He was a regular at a pub called The Lion's Head from the 1960s through much of the 1970s, even after he quit drinking cold turkey in 1971. Oppenheimer also lived for many years in the Westbeth artists's community in Manhattan. His correspondence also shows that he was something of a mentor to many of his own students.

Oppenheimer moved to New Hampshire in 1984. That same year he married his third wife, Theresa Maier (a former student). He worked at New England College and wrote a column for a local newspaper. Two new volumes of poetry, Why Not and New Spaces, both appeared in 1985. By this time Oppenheimer was battling lung cancer. By the spring of 1988, the cancer had spread to Oppenheimer's brain, and he was forced to give up both teaching and writing. He died at home in October of 1988.

From the guide to the Joel Oppenheimer Papers, 1925-1988., (Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.). Black Mountain College Collection, 1975-1977. University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University Libraries, UNCG University Libraries
creatorOf Oppenheimer, Joel. Joel Oppenheimer papers, 1925-1988. University of Connecticut, Homer Babbidge Library
referencedIn Poetry mss., 1954-2002 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly
creatorOf Anne Waldman Papers (1945-2012, bulk 1965-2000) University of Michigan
referencedIn Signal Archive, ca. 1963-1965 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Bronk, William. William Bronk papers, 1908-1999. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Jordan Davies. Papers, 1979-1987. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Edward Dorn Papers., undated, 1956-1993. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
referencedIn Roberts, Len, 1947-2007. Len Roberts correspondence, 1983-2006. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Judson Memorial Church Archive, 1838-1995 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn (Everett) Leroi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) Papers, 1957-1965 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Larry Fagin Papers., n.d., 1958-1977. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
creatorOf OPPENHEIMER, JOEL. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn William Bronk Papers, 1908-1999. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf FitzGerald, Russell. Russell FitzGerald papers, circa 1952-1993. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Hamady, Walter. Book project records of the Perishable Press, 1982-1991. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Baraka, Imamu Amiri, 1934-. Papers of Imamu Amiri Baraka [manuscript], 1960-1963. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Economou, George. George Economou papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Alternative Press (Detroit, Michigan). [The Alternative Press collection], 1969-1992. Wayne State University
referencedIn University of Connecticut Libraries Records, undated, 1882- Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn George Economou Papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Bobbye S. Ortiz Papers, (bulk, 1919-1993 and undated, 1950-1990) David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn William Harmon Papers (#4568), 1939-2000 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Aram Saroyan Papers., undated, 1950-1977. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
creatorOf Joel Oppenheimer Papers, 1925-1988. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn Diane Di Prima Papers., undated, 1934-1990. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library
referencedIn Robert A. Wilson collection, 1906-2011 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Shelby Stephenson Papers, 1965-2007 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Gary Snyder Papers, 1910-2003;, (1945-2002 bulk) University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections
creatorOf Oppenheimer, Joel. Papers, ca. 1953-1989. EO Smith High School
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correspondedWith Jones, F. Whitney person
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correspondedWith Kahn, Peter person
correspondedWith Kalamazoo College corporateBody
associatedWith Kansas State University corporateBody
correspondedWith Kaplan, Ed person
correspondedWith Karen Schnitzler person
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correspondedWith Katz, David person
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correspondedWith Kelly, Robert person
correspondedWith Kidd, Peter person
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correspondedWith Kunkle, Steven person
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correspondedWith Larsen, Ernest person
correspondedWith Laughlin, James person
correspondedWith LaVilla-Havelin, Jim person
correspondedWith Lee, Rob person
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Henniker (N.H.)
New York (State)
New York (N.Y.)
North Carolina
New York (State)--New York
Black Mountain (N.C.)
New York (N.Y.)
Black Mountain (N.C.)
United States
New York (State)--New York
New York (State)
Henniker (N.H.)
New Hampshire
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Rochester (N.Y.)
Rochester (N.Y.)
United States
Subject
Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)--Students
Rochester (N.Y.)--Education--Universities and colleges
American newspapers--New York (State)--New York
Newspapers--Sections, columns, etc
American literature--New York (State)--New York
New York (State)--Cultural affairs--Literature
Oral interpretation of poetry
Universities and colleges--United States
Poetry--Study and teaching--United States
New Hampshire--Cultiral affairs--Literature
North Carolina--Cultural affairs--Literature
American literature--20th century
Poetry--Editing
St. Mark's Church In-the--Bowery (New York, N.Y.). Poetry Project
New York (N.Y.)--Cultural affairs--Literature
American poetry--20th century
Poet as teachers
Poetry--Study and teaching
Black Mountain (N.C.)--Cultural affairs--Literature
Teachers & Writers Collaborative
North Carolina--Education--Universities and colleges
Poets as teachers
New England College--Faculty--Personal and professional papers
Village voice (New York, N.Y.: Newspaper)
New York (N.Y.)--Newspapers, periodicals, and journalism
American literature
City University of New York. City College--Faculty--Personal and professional papers
Universities and colleges
Authors and publishers--United States
Authors and publishers
New Hampshire--Education--Universities and colleges
Henniker (N.H.)
Rochester Institute of Technology--Faculty--Personal and professional papers
Black Mountain (N.C.)--Education--Universities and colleges
American newspapers
New York (N.Y.)--Education--Universities and colleges
New York (State)--Education--Universities and colleges
Occupation
Journalists--New York (State)--New York
Poets, American
College teachers--United States
Function

Person

Active 1952

Active 1993

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