A novelist, poet, and playwright, Wheatcroft's works have appeared in The New York Times and the Beloit Poetry Journal. He was born in 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and served in the United States Navy in World War II. Wheatcroft attended Temple University, Rutgers University, and Bucknell University, where he graduated in 1949. He began teaching in Bucknell's English department in 1952. He founded and directed the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets in 1985 and was the first director of Bucknell's Stadler Center for Poetry. He also served as a juror for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. A professor emeritus since 1996, Wheatcroft has continued to write and be published since his retirement.
Wheatcroft's significant writings include the play Ofoti, which was produced for NET Playhouse (now PBS) in 1966 starring Rene Auberjonois, and made into a film, The Boy Who Loved Trolls, in 1984. He wrote Catherine, Her Book, creating diary entries of Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights, which is cited in Patsy Stoneman's Brontë Transformations, and Christopher Heywood's version of Wuthering Heights. He is mentioned in the 1986 edition of Curt Johnson's Who's who in U.S. Writers, Editors & Poets. He also edited and participated in Our Other Voices: Nine Poets Speaking, a collection of interviews with poets such as Josephine Jacobsen and Wendell Berry.
Wheatcroft is buried in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He is survived by his beloved wife Katherine Wheatcroft and three children from a previous marriage.
- Prodigal Son (1967)
- Ofoti (1970) ISBN 0-498-07680-6
- Ordering Demons (1981) ISBN 0-8453-4720-9
- Catherine, Her Book (1983) ISBN 0-8453-4742-X
- Slow Exposures (1986) ISBN 0-8453-4735-7
- The Beholder's Eye (1987) ISBN 0-8453-4724-1
- Our Other Voices: Nine Poets Speaking (1991) ISBN 0-8387-5196-2
- Killer Swan (1992) ISBN 0-8453-4836-1
- Mother of All Loves (1994) ISBN 0-8453-4849-3
- Trio with Four Players (1995) ISBN 0-8453-4856-6
- The Education of Malcolm Palmer (1997) ISBN 0-8453-4863-9
- Random Necessities (1999) ISBN 0-8453-4867-1
- Answering Fire (2006) ISBN 0-9765611-1-5
- The Fugitive Self (2009) ISBN 0-9797450-9-8
- Telling Tales (2010) ISBN 978-0-9797516-7-7
- The Portrait of a Lover (2011) ISBN 1-61879-000-5
- "John Stewart Wheatcroft". The Dailey Item. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- Bucknell University, About Bucknell, noted from WRC Interview, 4/96; Bucknell World, September–October 1981.
- Bucknell University Archived 2010-05-30 at the Wayback Machine., Jack Wheatcroft Poetry Reading, October 24, 2009
- Pulitzer.org, 1996 digital archive of jury list.
- NET Playhouse: Ofoeti at IMDB.