Gregory Corso died ten years ago today [2011- sic – 20 years ago, 2021], three months shy of his 71st birthday. We salute him today via this little survey.
Video and Film Footage of Gregory Nunzio Corso.
There is the ragamuffin in Pull My Daisy , and the angelic kid captured in 1965 in London’s cavernous Albert Hall, reading his long poem, “The Mutation of The Spirit” (see the collection Elegaic Feelings American ).
There is the wonderfully roué old Gregory as memorably evoked in his 1993 collaboration with musician Nicholas Tremulis, “For Homer”.
There is a middle-period Gregory, giving wild crazy workshops in the early days of NAROPA, from “Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds”, (a suitably zany Gregory title) – note, in the first clip, here, the doting Fernanda Pivano – the second clip is a 1978 outdoor reading of his classic, “Bomb”, on the occasion of the protests at Rocky Flats, Colorado, the same protest that occasioned Allen’s own “Plutonian Ode”.
Fernanda Pivano is featured briefly, (speaking in Italian), eulogizing Gregory, in Luca Facchini’s 2001 “Fernanda Pivano: A Farewell to Beat” – Valerio Mastandrea follows, reading Gregory’s poem,”Matrimonio” (“Marriage”). An audio of Gregory himself reading the poem (in English) can be found here – and a spirited reading of it by rock star Ian Dury here. “Bomb” and “Marriage”, two of Gregory’s enduring classics.
The unfettered Gregory may be also viewed in Francois Bernardi’s Original Beats, (mentioned previously, in the context of Herbert Huncke).
Anecdotes of Gregory, there are many. Mary Beach and Andy Clausen tell stories. Mark Erikson cleverly illustrates some of Gregory’s bon mots in Conversation with Gregory Corso – Skulls For Vienna .
[update 2016 – this movie was aborted (unfinished and unedited on Reininger’s death), but, one day, it is hoped, it will be re-edited and revived – we’ll keep you posted – ]