On Our Shelves Recently
A collection of poems by the renowned Beat poet, Gregory Corso.
Gregory Corso's collection of poems contains works of major proportions. The title poem is a tribute to Jack Kerouac, fusing a memorial to the poet's dead friend with a bitter lament for the present state of America. The second major work, "The Geometric Poem," published previously in a limited edition by Fernanda Pivano in Italy, is a complex visionary restatement of themes from ancient Egyptian religion. Reproduced in facsimile from Corso's handwritten sheets, his marginal decorations, drawings and glyphs are included. The balance of the book is drawn from his shorter poems. Corso's reputation as a leading poet and co-founder of the Beat movement is clearly upheld in these poems. His instinct for integrated lyrical statement, his special contribution to Beat poetry, is as strong as ever; his sense of humor and sexuality have not diminished. But he has added a wider-ranging moral urgency and a new depth of humane solicitude that hold even his strangest visions close to the heart of contemporary feeling.
About the Author
Gregory Corso (1930-2001) was abandoned by his mother a month after his birth at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York. Growing up in foster care and on the streets of Little Italy, Corso was a juvenile delinquent who spent time in Clinton Correctional Facility, in the cell recently vacated by gangster "Lucky" Luciano. An aspiring poet, Corso was taken under the wing of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and became the youngest member of the Beat Generation's inner circle, with whom he lived and work in the Beat Hotel, a lodging house in Paris, during the late fifties. There he created one of his signature works, "Bomb", a poem composed of typewritten strips of paper arranged in the shape of a mushroom cloud. Late in life, Corso became reunited with his mother and maintained a close relationship with her until his death.
In terms of language Corso always seems to me the most interesting of the Beats . . . extracting all the power from standard syntax and rhetoric, maintaining the Beat anti-academicism .. . . Put this together with the experimentalism and relevance of the Beat outlook, and you have poetry that not only shares our experience but creates it.
— Hayden Carruth