[sixties-l] Fwd: Poet Gregory Corso dies at 70

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Mon Jan 22 2001 - 16:15:35 EST

  • Next message: radman: "[sixties-l] Gregory Corso, a Candid-Voiced Beat Poet, Dies at 70"

    >Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001
    >From: "Frank Parker" <franks@now.at>
    >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 http://www.msnbc.com/news/518283.asp
    > 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.
    > 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.
    > 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
    >very least.
    >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
    >Frank Parker

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