Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 506

Gregory Corso (1930-2001) reading March 28, 1996 at the University of Connecticut

Anniversaries – It’s the anniversary of Gregory Corso’s birthday next Friday (he would’ve been an unimaginable ninety-one, incidentally) but we thought to get a head-start here.

Kurt Hemmer, alongside the Beat Museum, have generously provided a restored document –  a recording of one of Gregory’s very last college readings, one that took place at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, on March 28, 1996. The recording is available – here

From the Beat Museum’s brief account:

“Corso begins with a brief lecture on Homer, before getting into the poetry. At about 9:31, he mentions he never knew what happened to his mother (Michelina Colonna). “I’d asked my old man, and he said ‘I don’t know. She ran away. I put notices in the bottom of the New York Times and things like that’ … I never found out what happened to her.” Most of his life, he was led to believe she’d abandoned him and returned to Italy.  “Anything, of course, that goes into the water, comes back to the shore,” Corso muses, “So I had ideas of maybe seeing her one day.”  The next year, after Ginsberg died in 1997, filmmaker Gustave Reininger convinced Corso to accompany him to Europe to retrace the Beats’ footsteps. After expressing an interest in finding where his mother might be buried, Reininger discovered that she was in fact alive in Trenton, New Jersey, and the two were reunited in Reininger’s (aborted) film Corso: The Last Beat.  Throughout this reading, Gregory frequently digresses [sic] to share other details from his life, and the background behind the creation of poems like “Greenwich Village Suicide,” “Italian Extravaganza,” “Sea Shanty,” “Notes After Blacking Out,” “Poets Hitchhiking on the Highway,” and others. Corso’s commentary provides an added richness and context to the work”.

A recent Gregory publication – from Rick Schober’s Tough Poets Press – Collected Plays

More Gregory next week.


Another poet beloved by the Beat Museum – the late ruth weiss.  The trailer for Thomas Antonic‘s film on her, “One More Step West Is the Sea”,  is now available – see here

Speaking of women and the Beats, here’s an unusual document – Joan Vollmer (Joan Burroughs) from her St Agnes School (up-state New York) yearbook. St Agnes, an Episcopalian school combined with the Roman Catholic Kenwood Academy in 1975 to form the Doane Stuart School – For more on the Doane Stuart School’s Beat Generation Connection – see here 

William Burroughs‘ sojourn in Colombia (not Columbia!), doing research which formed the basis of The Yage Letters (1963)), is recounted by Adriaan Alsema in Colombia Reports – see here

Lawrence Ferlinghetti in Prague – read Dario Bellini (in Italian) in Il Manifesto on that particular conjunction

Steven Belletto, author of The Beats: A Literary History (2020), wrote a comprehensive obituary – “On The Life of A Titan – Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021)” – You can read that on the European Beat Studies Network page – here

Anne Waldman on Lawrence Ferlinghetti in Artforum 
Ammiel Alcalay on Lawrence Ferlinghetti in Artforum 

Shig (Shig Murao)  and Ferlinghetti – Fred Gardner in the Anderson Valley Advertiser revisits old wounds. Jonah Raskin in a detailed response clarifies and puts things in perspective

On the Jack Kerouac House in Florida  (we’ve reported on this before) – here‘s an update

Another rare item Lew WelchHowling in His Hills of Sur  by Ewan Clark  (from Sea Urchin Editions/Counter Culture Chronicles/Casioli Press). Ewan Clark is a writer and English teacher at a secondary school in Utrecht, The Netherlands and has written a hitherto unpublished biography of Lew Welch, of which this little chapbook (in a numbered edition of 70) is an excerpt. It draws from the correspondence between Lou Welch and Robert Duncan

& thrilled to see Jeremy Lybarger‘s essay-review of The Selected Letters of John Wieners in The Nation this week – “The Altered States of John Wieners” – “In his letters”, Lybarger writes, “we can glimpse a radiant, jazz-struck testament to the vocation of poetry”- Poetry as commitment, poetry as devotion – The letters “comprise a loose narrative arc from near innocence to experience. They’re also a moving account of one man’s commitment to the salvational possibilities of art.”

No Allen (directly) in the Round-Up this week (but, of course, he’s, ubiquitous, everywhere)

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