>Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001
>From: "Frank Parker" <email@example.com>
>Subject: Poet Gregory Corso dies at 70
>(after this article I've included the announcement to the UBPoetics List
>made by poet Robert Creeley which includes links to a few Corso tributes and
>"Beat poet Gregory Corso dies at 70"
>Discovered by Ginsberg
>in '50s, Corso was author
>of nearly two dozen books
>MSNBC STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
> MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 18 ^ Poet Gregory Corso, one of the circle of Beat poets
>that included Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, has died. He was 70. Corso,
>who had prostate cancer, died Wednesday. He was regarded by some critics, as
>well as by Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, another Beat writer, as
>perhaps the most naturally gifted poet of the group.
> BORN IN New York's Greenwich Village, Corso was the author or
>co-author of more than 20 collections of poetry and other works. Ginsberg
>discovered Corso in the 1950s. They met at a bar in the Village. It was
>Ginsberg who introduced him to contemporary, experimental writing.
> Corso's first poems were published in 1955 in the Harvard Advocate in
>Cambridge, Mass., where his first collection, "Vestal Lady on Brattle," was
>brought out in a small edition.
> One of his best-known works was the 1958 poem "Bomb," an ode to
>atomic weapons in the shape of a mushroom cloud. "Know that the earth will
>madonna the Bomb/ that in the hearts of men to come more bombs will be born/
>magisterial bombs wrapped in ermine," he wrote.
> Among his collections of poems are "Gasoline," "Elegiac Feelings
>American" and "Mindfield."
> He remained active up until his death, recording a CD with Marianne
>Faithfull at his daughter's home, his daughter Sheri Langerman said
>Thursday. He had been living with her since September, she said.
>KNEW HARDSHIP EARLY IN LIFE
> Corso was born March 26, 1930, to teen-age parents who separated a
>year after his birth. His own biographical notes in a compilation called
>"The New American Poetry" give a sample of his style and the early hardship
>of his life:
> "Born by young Italian parents, father 17 mother 16, born in New York
>City Greenwich Village 190 Bleecker, mother year after me left
>not-too-bright father and went back to Italy, thus I entered life of
>orphanage and four foster parents and at 11 father remarried and took me
>back but all was wrong because two years later I ran away and caught sent
>away again and sent away to boys home for two years and let out and went
>back home and ran away again and sent to Bellevue for observation ..."
> Corso took up residence in Cambridge, Mass., and hung around the
>Harvard campus during his early 20s after going to prison again at 17 and
>serving a three-year term for theft. He then knocked around the country,
>working as a laborer in New York City, as a newspaper reporter in Los
>Angeles and as a sailor on a boat to Africa and South America, before moving
>to San Francisco in the late-'50s.
>'PROTOTYPE OF A BAD BOY'
> Maria Damon, an English professor at the University of Minnesota who
>has taught Beat literature, spent a week studying under Corso at the Naropa
>Institute in Boulder, Colo., in 1977. While Corso was lesser known than
>Ginsberg and Kerouac, he deserves no less recognition, she said.
> "I would say that he was very gifted, also undisciplined, which is
>part of the beauty of Beat writing," she said. "He was very well read but
>not from formal schooling. He put things together in a highly romanticized
> William S. Burroughs regarded Corso as an extraordinarily talented
>wordsmith, despite his irritation with Corso's personal style, an amalgam of
>the hustling con artist, faker and brilliant but perennial adolescent.
> Michael Skau, author of a 1999 book on Corso, said Corso was a media
>favorite when the Beat movement exploded in the 1950s because he was "the
>prototype of a bad boy."
> "He was very disruptive whether it was a social setting or a literary
>setting, very antagonistic even toward his closest friends," Skau said.
>"Ginsberg tolerated behavior from Corso that made Ginsberg look like a
> Corso was married three times. Survivors include five children, seven
>grandchildren and one great-grandchild, Langerman said.
> Funeral arrangements were not final, but a service was planned in
>Greenwich Village, with burial in Rome, Langerman said.
>The Associated Press contributed to this report.
>(This announcement was posted to the UBPoetics List)
>Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 17:59:20 -0500
>From: Robert Creeley
>Subject: Gregory Corso
>Gregory Corso died last night (January 17), happily in his sleep in
>Minnesota. He had been ill for much of the past year but had recovered from
>time to time, saying that he'd got to the classic river but lacked the coin
>for Charon to carry him over. So he just dipped his toes in the water.
>In this time his daughter Sherry, a nurse, had been a godsend to him,
>securing him, steadying the ambiance, just minding the store with great love
>and clarity. He thought she should get Nurse of the Year recognition at the
>There's no simple generalization to make of Gregory's life or poetry. There
>are all too many ways to displace the extraordinary presence and authority
>he was fact of. Last time we talked, he made the useful point that only a
>poet could say he or she was a poet -- only they knew. Whereas a
>philosopher, for instance, needed some other to say that that was what he or
>she was -- un(e) philosophe! -- poets themselves had to recognize and
>initiate their own condition.
>There are several quick websites that help recall him now. One gives a
>brief biography and discussion of a few of his poems:
>Another, more usefully affectionate, is taken from Ed Sanders' The Woodstock
>Journal. It was Lawrence Ferlinghetti who had suggested last summer that a
>spate of respects might help cheer Gregory in his illness -- and that they
>were certainly well merited:
>A third, which includes some previously noted, is The Museum of American
>Poetics. There's a 'streamable' video available there of Gregory reading at
>Naropa , if you can get the sound clearly:
>Lots of us propose to be poets but who finally stakes all, or just takes
>all, as being that way? In my life time only Robert Duncan could be his
>equal in this way. It was honor indeed to have had his company.
>RC, Buffalo, January 18, 2001
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