Tom Weigel was born in Astoria, Queens, NY to Thomas Peter Weigel and Theresa Patricia Sheehan (Weigel) both of New York City. His grandfather, John J. Sheehan, was born in County Cork, Ireland. The Weigel family, of German descent, had a hardware store in New York City during the 1920s located on 2nd Avenue and 64th Street.
Tom graduated from Northport High School, on Long Island in 1966. He began writing poetry and fiction in his early teens as well as writing for the school newspaper and The Northport Journal. In 1968/69 Weigel lived on West 4th Street in New York City. His upstairs neighbor was the filmmaker and poet, Piero Heliczer who introduced Weigel to the Poetry Project where Tom gave his first reading.
Weigel attended Parsons School of Design while working for a variety of Architectural firms in New York City including: I.M. Pei, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Edward Larrabee Barnes. In 1970 he married designer Frances Beeler, and they moved to Buffalo, New York and later to Louisville, Kentucky where Weigel worked at the McCauley Theater. In 1977 they divorced and Tom returned to New York City, living in an apartment on East 6th Street in the East Village. Weigel’s poetry was widely published in magazines during the years 1966–2018. His work can be seen in over 150 poetry publications including The Paris Review. He was one of the early publishers of small 8+1⁄2 × 11-inch stapled mimeograph magazines. Mimeo Revolution.
Tom studied writing at the Poetry Project, taking classes with poet Alice Notley. During this time he began publishing Tangerine Magazine and The Full Deck Anthology which included works by a wide array of East Village poets active in the 1970s and 1980s. His press, Andrea Doria Books, published the poets Charles Henri Ford; Ira Cohen; Ted Berrigan; Alice Notley; Michael Scholnick; Alan Ginsberg; Anne Waldman; Gerard Malanga among others. Weigel read his work at hundreds of venues, including The Museum of Modern Art Poetry Series (hosted by Lita Hornick in May 1986); The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church as well as The Ear Inn with Peter Schjeldahl. He read on Radio Belgrade (in the former Yugoslavia) with Nina Zivancevic.
Tom was introduced to Jackie Curtis by Andy Warhol at an art opening. Jackie and Tom soon became good friends and Tom’s apartment often became the outpost for reading plays and poet gatherings. A frequent guest was Margo Howard Howard. Together, Margo and Tom established The Mary Stuart Society. Weigel wrote an account of this time period in his book titled: Portrait of a Playwright: The Jackie Curtis Story.
After the deaths of many of the New York poets, artists and friends, Weigel moved out to New London, Connecticut, and worked for the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. During this time he ran a poetry series at the local coffee house, Muddy Waters, and later at The Bean and Leaf Cafe while publishing a poetry magazine, BURP (which ran for 10 issues). His contributions to the establishment of a New London poetry scene was recognized by the town Council. On August 18, 2014, Mayor Finizio and President Hyslop presented a joint proclamation to Weigel for his dedication and support of local poets.
The Australian Visual Poet, Artist and Filmmaker, Pete Spence, publishes an ongoing magazine dedicated to Tom titled OZ BURP.