Our good friends at Empty Mirror featured last week three “lost poems” of Gregory Corso (‘excavated’ by Gregory Stephenson from a 1956 reading at the Poetry Center in San Francisco). Stephenson writes: “The three fugitive poems embedded in the audio tape are “In the Madness of my Cellar,” “Creepy Flower Peddler,” and “Buddha”. Presented here below are my transcribed versions of these three hitherto unpublished poems. I cannot, of course, vouch either for punctuation, lineation or stanzaic patterns in the poems as I have rendered them here. Moreover, in the poem “Buddha,” despite repeated listening to Corso’s recitation on the audio tape, I am not fully confident as to my correct understanding of certain individual words. These include “peril,” “assayed,” “infant,” and “barium.” (Alternative suggestions concerning these words would be very welcome.) And let me take the opportunity here to express my gratitude to (editor) Raymond Foye for his gracious and invaluable help in correcting my transcriptions of the poems.”
“Readers of Gregory Corso’s Gasoline will recall that in the “Introduction” to that volume Allen Ginsberg quotes with approval a line from an unpublished poem by Corso: “mad children of soda caps.” At last, we know the source of that line – the phrase occurs in “Buddha.” Similarly, readers of Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels may remember that in that novel the poet Raphael Urso (the author’s pseudonym for Gregory Corso) recites to the narrator via telephone his latest poem which includes the line – “Spit on Bosatsu! Spit on Bosatsu!” Again, the source is to be found in the same unpublished poem, “Buddha.”
Stephenson’s notes (from which these two brief excerpts are taken) are comprehensive, measured and invaluable, and, along with the poems, may be accessed – here
Ernesto Cardenal, the great Nicaraguan poet, Catholic priest, and revolutionary, died this past Sunday in the country’s capitol city of Managua. He was 95. His obituary in the New York Times can be read – here, in the Washington Post – here , in the San Francisco Chronicle – here . Internationally-renowned as, as one reporter has it, the “Voce Morale Del Sandinismo” (the moral voice of the Sandinista Revolution), he was Minister of Culture in the early days only to fall out of favor as he criticized the movement under Daniel Ortega for what he saw to be a growing tendency to authoritarianism. More notices and obituaries – from La Prensa (Nicaragua’s paper) – here – from The Havana Times here and here and here, El Pais – here and here, Le Monde – here, Corriere Della Sera – here, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung… – this, just a scattering, the list could go on and on and on.
Jack Kerouac’s birthday next week