James L. Weil (1929-2006)

The American poet and publisher James L. Weil died July 7. Born in New York in 1929, he studied at the University of Chicago and Oxford before becoming a businessman, retiring as senior vice-president of the Dialight Corporation in 1968. Weil lived in New Rochelle, New York, where he founded the Elizabeth Press, one of the most important publishers of American poetry in the 1960s and 1970s. His authors included William Bronk, John Taggart, and Theodore Enslin, among many others. In later years, he published exquisitely designed chapbooks of works by John Keats. Weil was much respected among his peers as an accomplished poet. Among his better known works is “A Coney Island Life”:

Having lived a Coney Island life
on roller coaster ups and downs
and seen my helium hopes
break skyward without me,
now arms filled with dolls
I threw so much for
I take perhaps my last ride
on this planet-carousel
and ask
how many more times round
I have
to catch that brass-ring-sun
before the game is up.

(note forwarded to me by Ed Foster)

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2 Responses

  1. donna.bauerly says:

    I am writing a biography of Raymond Roseliep and would like an exchange with anyone who knew James L. Weil, one of the most insightful critics of Roseliep I have ever read. I mourn Weil’s passing.

    Donna.Bauerly@loras.edu

  2. Peter Weil says:

    Donna, Much time has passed since you posted this, but I stumbled across this today. I appreciate your interest in my father and his work. I’m not sure how I can help, but feel free to contact me.

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