Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 574

Gregory Corso, New York City, December 4, 1988 – photo: Allen Ginsberg – courtesy Stanford University Libraries / Allen Ginsberg Estate

We’ve been thinking of Gregory Corso a lot of late (see our recent birthday posting and our posting a few weeks back in anticipation of Leon Horton‘s gathering of appreciations,   Gregory Corso – Ten Times A Poet. 

Steven Taylor, this week in Rock and The Beat Generation, surveys that book and adds to it his first-hand memories of Gregory. The piece is a must-read:

“Of the Beat quartet”, he writes, “Corso’s ‘the four daddies’ – the least studied is the one who the others thought most gifted. Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs have each had several biographies and inspired an industry of scholarly estimations. Corso has yet to have a book-length biography, though there is a promising biography-in-process excerpted here among a welcome collection of essays and reminiscences. Corso scholarship seems to be an open field, and there is a sense of openness and generosity in the book…”

“Gregory in a word” – (he can speak from absolute experience) –  “needy”. In two words: “endlessly needy”. When you’re on tour with a company of actors and poets in a van all day on winding roads in the chill fog of Torino in winter, the perpetual comedy of suffering genius is exhausting; then at day’s end, when you get to the gig and he reads ‘I Held a Shelley Manuscript’, nothing else in the world matters. His gift carried him for seven decades through all manner of difficulties, and that he lived as long as he did is testament to the power of his poetry and the love it drew forth.”

and, heck, one more choice excerpt:

“My fondest memories of Gregory are of listening to music. One interviewee says that Gregory grew to hate music. That doesn’t seem right. Perhaps as he grew older he grew less patient with imperfection. I could see that. In the leaky lifeboat, there is only so much time. But I remember listening to Bach’s St Matthew Passion with him and a bottle of Burgundy; it was wonderful, because he felt the music so deeply. I told him about my choral setting of ‘Footnote to Howl’, then in progress. He said, ‘Write the atom bomb “Te Deum”.’

Enough of excerpts, go here, read the whole piece in its entirety


Andy Clausen and EIiot Katz – photo by Allen Ginsberg

and still with Rock and The Beat Generation and poets-on-poets – Eliot Katz and David Cope  on Andy Clausen

Eliot Katz:

“For decades, Allen Ginsberg consistently cited Andy Clausen as one of the most important poets of the next generation. For Andy’s book, Without Doubt (1991), Allen wrote an introduction that declared: ‘The frank friendly extravagance of his metaphor & word-connection gives Andy Clausen’s poetry a reading interest rare in poetry of any generation.’ Allen also said in that same introduction that he would take a chance on a President Clausen!”

“Andy Clausen’s best work through the years extended the democratic-left and imagination-filled traditions of poets like Walt Whitman, William Blake, Muriel Rukeyser, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, the French Surrealists, and the Russian Futurists, especially Vladimir Mayakovsky, who was always one of Andy’s favorites…”

“In some segments of literary America, readers and listeners already know what Allen Ginsberg knew, that Andy Clausen was one of the most compelling poets of our time. The linguistic energy, surprise phrasings, and global insight of his poems send readers into motion – thinking, planning, pacing, going quickly down to the nearest poetry cafe, rock and roll club, or political rallies for peace, social justice, and ecological well-being….”

Again, read this in full, please – here


& David Cope (recollecting days spent with Andy):

“We first met each other (Andy and I) when Allen put us together to read at the Boulder bandshell in 1980, and we read together with Antler at my first book’s launch in NYC 1983. Andy was a regular contributor during the 47 years of my Big Scream mag, and we read together on occasion – at his reading series in Boulder 1986, at a bookstore in Detroit and in Jersey City at the Fox and Crow in this century.

He was a titan with the most incredibly deep voice and lines that in reading sounded more like jazz lines than anyone I ever met. He once told his son Cassidy not to mourn him when he passes – organize!”


More eulogies – it’s a eulogistic week this week on The Allen Ginsberg Project!

Jeffrey St Clair at Counterpunch on “The Day John Sinclair Died”

John Sinclair (1941-2024) (from New Orleans)  (from OffBeat magazine)

Herb Boyd  in the Detroit Metro Times  – “More Memories of A Detroit Iconoclast”

and the list could go on..

and here’s another on Neeli, Neeli Cherkovski (1945-2024) – City Lights remembers its “long-standing poet compadre”


Alice Notley

In the land of the living, a triumphant double-bill at New York’s St Mark’s Poetry Project
Anne Waldman and Alice Notley (in honor of Alice’s new book, Being Reflected On
(the book is, touchingly, dedicated to Anne)

Two remarkable and inter-related poets, who, curiously, had never read together in such a fashion before. Better late than never – and what better place than St Mark’s!

Re-live the evening,  Catch the video here

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *