Stein begins his piece as follows: ” I feel that in this piece, I am not only reviewing a book but celebrating an important event in contemporary publishing.”
He goes on to observe that “Among the iconic Beat Generation writers, Corso’s work has received the least critical attention. With this final collection, perhaps that situation will change.”
“The register of the diction, the seemingly quaint archaisms, the unembarrassedly simultaneous self-celebration and self-deprecation—are no mere affectations developed by Corso as his “brand.” What the poems show is the real deal in their, I want to say “existential” complexity and their uncombed-out surface contradictions.”
Stein places Corso (alongside Allen and John Wieners) as ” the most intimately communicative of poets” – “His art is not an art of self-construction and self-valorization, but intimate articulation and genuinely inadvertent – except to himself – self-exposure. So that truth – personal, historical, poetic, without being touted as such – might reveal the true dynamism and valor of a poetry.”
“There is a sense of integrity that derives coherently from the person of the poet, and a sense that the whole book is a single field, a random distribution of different senses of form and contents. The poet interacts with the accumulating meaning of the accumulating poems and the intensity of glow increasing over time as the golden dot of death is approached or is itself approaching.”
Kerouac – BBC Radio 4’s documentary by Martin Williams – “What’s Left of Kerouac” – “Looking for Jack Kerouac in his hometown on his one hundredth birthday” is available here
As the BBC announces:
“Holly George Warren is in town to begin research in Kerouac’s archive for her forthcoming biography, writers Geoff Dyer and A.M. Homes reflect on their feelings toward Kerouac today, and we hear from a variety of citizens of Lowell about what’s left – for today and for the future – of Kerouac and of Lowell itself”
Kerry Shale provides the readings from Kerouac’s prose.
“…So glad they were able to incorporate Jack’s interview with his NY friend Ben Hecht. They knew each other so Jack was relaxed in his company and Hecht drew out Jack’s fascination with the spiritual. Geoff Dyer said Jack was a romantic writer – not in a hearts and flowers way – more seeing the poetry of life, where the spirit soars. He also rightly stressed that Jack’s was ‘…a turbulent and contested reputation.’ He’s spot on.”
Irving Rosenthal, featured here last week, is given an informative obituary notice (“Irving Rosenthal, Low-Profile Force On the Beat Scene Dies at 91”) this week by Neil Genzlinger in the New York Times
Our friend Steve Silberman is quoted in the piece – “As successive generations of his heroes ‘sold out” he (Irving) retained a kind of impeccable purity through the sheer force of crankiness and monk-like devotion to the countercultural community he built and died in”.
Plans afoot for a projected illustrated biography of Neal Cassady, (tentatively titled Young Neal Cassady) – “Uniquely, it aims to be both biographical and autobiographical, drawing on text from the the man’s own memoir of that challenging period” – Simon Warner interviews Cassady’s daughter Cathy and artist/illustrator Rick Bleier about the project on his always-engaging on-going Substack. Exciting news. For full details – see here
oh and the great Henry David Thoreau passed away on this day, May 6, 1862