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Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’

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Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’

HERBERT HUNCKE AT THE CHELSEA HOTEL NEW VIDEO

 

Herbert Huncke

By Levi Asher on Wednesday, August 24, 1994 08:33 am

In his autobiographical novel ‘Junky,’ William S. Burroughs introduces himself into New York’s heroin underworld by selling a gun and a supply of morphine to two men named Roy and Herman. He describes Herman:

Waves of hostility and suspicion flowed out from his large brown eyes like some sort of television broadcast. The effect was almost like a physical impact. The man was small and very thin, his neck loose in the collar of his shirt. His complexion faded from brown to a mottled yellow, and pancake make-up had been heavily applied in an attempt to conceal a skin eruption. His mouth was drawn down at the corners in a grimace of petulant annoyance.

This was Herbert Huncke, who was born into a middle-class family in Greenfield, Massachusetts on January 9, 1915 and grew up in Chicago. As a teenager he was drawn to the underbelly of city life, and quickly began learning how to support himself as a professional drifter and small-time thief. A small and unthreatening lawbreaker, he embodied a certain honest-criminal ethic so purely that Burroughs and his friends came to love him for it. Jack Kerouac wrote adoringly of him (as Elmer Hassel) in On The Road, and Allen Ginsberg shared his New York City apartment with him, even though he realized Huncke and his junkie friends were storing stolen goods there. This phase ended in a dramatic police bust on Utopia Parkway in Bayside, Queens, during which Ginsberg frantically phoned Huncke and told him to “clean out the place” before the cops got there. Ginsberg arrived at his apartment moments ahead of the cops to find that Huncke had taken him literally. He’d tidied up and swept the floor, but the stolen goods were not moved. Ginsberg might not have been amused at the time, but there’s a certain Zen purity to this kind of thing that makes it clear why Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac all liked Huncke so much.

Huncke was said to have introduced Kerouac to the term ‘beat,’ which Kerouac then used to describe his generation to John Clellon Holmes. Huncke does seem to have a way with words, because he later attempted to become a writer, and a story called ‘Elsie John,’ reprinted in ‘The Beat Reader,’ is surprisingly good. Still, I think it’s pushing it a bit that Huncke taught writing workshops at Ginsberg’s Naropa Institute poetry school. I wouldn’t go to Herbert Huncke to learn how to write anymore than I’d go to Allen Ginsberg to learn how to be a thief.

But his prose can be effective and fascinating, and there has been an increasing interest in Huncke as a writer in recent years. A superb collection of Huncke’s best writings, ‘The Herbert Huncke Reader,’ was published by William Morrow in September 1997, and filmmaker Laki Vazakas’s cinema verite documentary ‘Huncke and Louis‘ records for history the paradoxical life of a celebrated literary drug addict in old age. This film includes some heartbreaking scenes of the breakdown and death of Huncke’s longtime friend and companion Louis Cartwright, who was unable to walk the line of the addict’s life as gracefully as Huncke, and dies a lonely death. Huncke, the survivor, sits on the edge of a bed and sobs — and then goes on surviving.

I was never introduced to Herbert Huncke but I did see him “around town” a bit before he died on August 8, 1996 in a New York City hospital. Whenever I saw him, the first thought that would come to my mind was always “this is Elmer Hassel”.

 

 

Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’ Dies at 81

By ROBERT McG. THOMAS Jr.
Published: August 9, 1996

Herbert Huncke, the charismatic street hustler, petty thief and perennial drug addict who enthralled and inspired a galaxy of acclaimed writers and gave the Beat Generation its name, died yesterday at Beth Israel Hospital. He was 81.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Jerry Poynton, his friend and literary executor.

Mr. Huncke had lived long enough to become a writer himself and a hero to a new generation of adoring artists and writers, not to mention a reproach to a right-thinking, clean-living establishment that had long predicted his imminent demise.

In an age when it was hip to be hip, Mr. Huncke (whose name rhymes with junkie) was the prototypical hipster, the man who gave William S. Burroughs his first fix, who introduced Jack Kerouac to the term beat and who guided them, as well as Allen Ginsberg and John Clellon Holmes, through the nether world of Times Square in the 1940’s.

 

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Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’
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They honored him in turn by making him an icon of his times. He became the title character (Herbert) in Mr. Burroughs’s first book, ”Junkie” (1962). He was Ancke in Mr. Holmes’s 1952 novel, ”Go.” He appears under his own name in innumerable Ginsberg poems, including ”Howl” (1956) with its haunting reference to ”Huncke’s bloody feet.”

And if it was the fast-talking, fast-driving Neal Cassady who became Mr. Kerouac’s chief literary obsession, as the irrepressible Dean Moriarty in Mr. Kerouac’s 1957 breakthrough classic, ”On the Road,” Mr. Huncke (who was Elmo Hassel in ”On the Road”) was there first.

As Junkey, he was the dominant character in the urban half of Mr. Kerouac’s first book, ”The Town and the City,” and made later appearances as Huck in ”Visions of Cody” and ”Books of Dreams.”

All this for a teen-age runaway who said he was using drugs as early as 12, selling sex by the time he was 16, stealing virtually anything he could get his hands on throughout his life and never once apologizing for a moment of it.

”I always followed the road of least resistance,” he said in a 1992 interview. ”I just continued to do what I wanted. I didn’t weigh or balance things. I started out this way and I never really changed.”

Actually, he didn’t quite start out that way. Born into a middle-class family in Greenfield, Mass., on Dec. 9, 1915, he moved with his family to Detroit when he was 4 and two years later to Chicago, where his father ran his own machine-parts distributing company.

By his own accounts he seems to have had an uneventful early childhood, but his parents divorced, and by the time he was in his early teens he was on the street, acquiring a lifelong passion for drugs and discovering the joys — and lucrative possibilities — of sex with men. He was also beginning a life of crime, first as a runner for the Capone gang and later as a burglar and thief.

Hitting the road early, he served for a time with the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. He traveled around the country until 1939, when he arrived in Manhattan and found a psychic home in Times Square.

Making his base of operations the Angle bar at 42d Street and Eighth Avenue, he sold drugs at times and himself at others, not always with notable success. Mr. Huncke once confided to a friend that he had not been a successful hustler: ”I was always falling in love,” he said.

It was in 1945 that an elegantly dressed man in a Chesterfield coat knocked on the door of an apartment where Mr. Huncke was living. The visitor, who was in search of Mr. Huncke’s roommate in the hope of selling him a sawed-off shotgun, was Mr. Burroughs. Mr. Huncke would recount that he took one look and told his roommate to get rid of him. ”He’s the F.B.I.,” he said.

Mr. Burroughs proved anything but, and within days Mr. Huncke had introduced him to heroin and sealed a lifelong friendship that included a 1947 visit to a marijuana farm Mr. Burroughs had started in Texas.

It was through Mr. Burroughs that Mr. Huncke soon met Mr. Ginsberg, then a Columbia undergraduate, and Mr. Kerouac, a recent Columbia dropout who became so enchanted with Mr. Huncke’s repeated use of the carny term ”beat,” meaning tired and beaten down, that he later used it as his famous label for the Beat Generation. (Mr. Kerouac later clouded things by suggesting it was derived from ”beatific.”)

An aspiring, Columbia-centered literary crowd was soon learning at Mr. Huncke’s feet. Among other things, he introduced them to the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, who after meeting Mr. Huncke at the Angle had interviewed him about his colorful sex life and hired him to recruit other subjects.

Though it seemed strange to some people that such a wide array of literary figures found Mr. Huncke so enchanting, he was always more than he seemed. For all his disreputable pursuits, he had elegant, refined manners and a searing honesty. He was also uncommonly well read for someone who had never been to high school, and such a natural and affecting storyteller that he could keep a table of admirers enthralled until the wee hours.

He also had a code of honor. Yes, he might steal from his friends if he needed a fix, but did not inform on them, something he proved on a number of occasions when the police sought his help in developing charges against his celebrity friends.

Mr. Huncke, who spent a total of 11 years in prison, including almost all of the 1950’s, was unrepentant, a man whose acceptance of crime as his fate bolstered his friends’ views that he was a victim of a rigid, unfeeling society.

If his friends saw him as fodder for their literary work, Mr. Huncke, as he later claimed, saw them as marks. There is, perhaps, a certain paradox in Mr. Huncke’s use of his literary friends as literary fodder. Mr. Huncke himself began writing in the 1940’s, locking himself in a stall in the men’s room in the subway. He described it as the only place he could work in peace, scribbling away in his notebooks.

Taking the Kerouac idea of writing nearly automatic prose even further than Mr. Kerouac did, Mr. Huncke turned out a series of memoirs that have been praised for their unaffected style. Those who heard him regale listeners say his books read as if he were telling a spontaneous anecdote around a table at the Angle.

”Huncke’s Journal” (1965) was followed by ”Elsie John and Joey Martinez” (1979), ”The Evening Sun Turned Crimson” (1980) and ”Guilty of Everything” (1990, Hanuman Books).

The books and Mr. Huncke’s role in a brash new literary movement made him famous to a younger generation, and he had several successful lecture tours in recent years.

His books did not make much money, but they didn’t need to. Friends contributed willingly to the upkeep of Mr. Huncke, who seemed proud that he had no talent for regular work.

It was a reflection of his continued standing among self-styled counterculturists that one of his most generous benefactors was a man who had never met him: Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, who is said to have helped with his rent at Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, where Mr. Huncke lived for the last several years.

Mr. Huncke, whose longtime companion, Louis Cartwright, was killed in 1994, is survived by his half brother, Dr. Brian Huncke of Chicago.

Photo: Herbert Huncke, hustler, drug addict and inspiration for Beat writers. (Brian Graham)

 

 

IN 1998 AT A DINER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE MY HUSBAND AND I WERE HAVING BREAKFAST IN A DINER. WE WERE ATTENDING A CELEBRATION OF KEROAUC IN LOWELL, MA. HERBERT HUNCKE WHO WAS SITTING AT ANOTHER TABLE GAVE ME A BLURB FOR MY BOOK OF POETRY “REAL JUNKIES DON’T EAT PIE” HE WROTE “IT IS TRUE REALY JUNKIES DON’T EAT PIE”

SLUT FROM HELL BY ANA CHRISTY PUBLISHED IN “RANT” MAGAZINE

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SLUT FROM HELL BY ANA CHRISTY  PUBLISHED IN “RANT” MAGAZINE

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CORRECTION -PATIENTS ON 7TH LINE. I WANT THE POEMS I POST TO BE AUTHENTIC WITH NO CORRECTIONS, AND COPYED AS IS FROM MY BOOKS.

TOM WOLFE INTERVIEW-AND ABOUT

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TOM WOLFE INTERVIEW-AND ABOUT

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TOM WOLFE INTERVIEWED FOR TIME MAGAZINE

About Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. He was educated at Washington and Lee (B.A., 1951) and Yale (Ph.D., American Studies, 1957) universities. In December 1956, he took a job as a reporter on the Springfield (Massachusetts) Union. This was the beginning of a ten-year newspaper career, most of it spent as a general assignment reporter. For six months in 1960 he served as The Washington Post’s Latin American correspondent and won the Washington Newspaper Guild’s foreign news prize for his coverage of Cuba.

In 1962 he became a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune and, in addition, one of the two staff writers (Jimmy Breslin was the other) of New York magazine, which began as the Herald-Tribune’s Sunday supplement. While still a daily reporter for the Herald-Tribune, he completed his first book, a collection of articles about the flamboyant Sixties written for New York and Esquire and published in 1965 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux as The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. The book became a bestseller and established Wolfe as a leading figure in the literary experiments in nonfiction that became known as New Journalism.

In 1968 he published two bestsellers on the same day: The Pump House Gang, made up of more articles about life in the sixties, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, a nonfiction story of the hippie era. In 1970 he published Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, a highly controversial book about racial friction in the United States. The first section was a detailed account of a party Leonard Bernstein gave for the Black Panthers in his Park Avenue duplex, and the second portrayed the inner workings of the government’s poverty program.

Even more controversial was Wolfe’s 1975 book on the American art world, The Painted Word. The art world reacted furiously, partly because Wolfe kept referring to it as the “art village,” depicting it as a network of no more than three thousand people, of whom about three hundred lived outside the New York metropolitan area. In 1976 he published another collection, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, which included his well-known essay “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening.”

In 1979 Wolfe completed a book he had been at work on for more than six years, an account of the rocket airplane experiments of the post World War II era and the early space program focusing upon the psychology of the rocket pilots and the astronauts and the competition between them. The Right Stuff became a bestseller and won the American Book Award for nonfiction, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Harold Vursell Award for prose style, and the Columbia Journalism Award.

“The right stuff,” “radical chic,” and “the Me Decade” (sometimes altered to “the Me Generation”) all became popular phrases, but Wolfe seems proudest of “good ol’ boy,” which he introduced to the written language in a 1964 article in Esquire about Junior Johnson, the North Carolina stock car racing driver, which was called “The Last American Hero.”

Wolfe had been illustrating his own work in newspapers and magazines since the 1950s, and in 1977 he began doing a monthly illustrated feature for Harper’s Magazine called “In Our Time.” The book In Our Time , published in 1980, featured these drawings and many others. In 1981 he wrote a companion to The Painted Word entitled From Bauhaus to Our House, about the world of American architecture.

In 1984 and 1985 Wolfe wrote his first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, in serial form against a deadline of every two weeks for Rolling Stone magazine. It came out in book form in 1987. A story of the money-feverish 1980s in New York, The Bonfire of the Vanities was number one of the New York Times bestseller list for two months and remained on the list for more than a year, selling over 800,000 copies in hardcover. It also became the number-one bestselling paperback, with sales above two million.

In 1989 Wolfe outraged the literacy community with an essay in Harper’s called “Stalking the Billion-footed Beast.” In it he argued that the only hope for the future of the American novel was a Zolaesque naturalism in which the novelist becomes the reporter-as he had done in writing The Bonfire of the Vanities, which was recognized as the essential novel of America in the 1980s.

In 1996 Wolfe wrote the novella “Ambush at Fort Bragg” as a two-part series for Rolling Stone. In 1997 it was published as a book in France and Spain and as an audiotape in the United States. An account of a network television magazine show’s attempt to trap three soldiers at Fort Bragg into confessing to the murder of one of their comrades, it grew out of what had been intended as one theme in a novel Wolfe was working on at that time. The novel, A Man in Full, was published in November 1998. The book’s protagonists are a sixty-year-old Atlanta real estate developer whose empire has begun a grim slide toward bankruptcy and a twenty-three-year-old manual laborer who works in the freezer unit of a wholesale food warehouse in Alameda County, California, owned by the developer. Before the story ends, both have had to face the question of what is it that makes a man “a man in full” now, at the beginning of a new century and a new millennium.

A Man in Full headed the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks and has sold nearly 1.4 million copies in hardcover. The book’s tremendous commercial success, its enthusiastic welcome by reviewers, and Wolfe’s appearance on the cover of Time magazine in his trademark white suit plus a white homburg and white kid gloves-along with his claim that his sort of detailed realism was the future of the American novel, if it was going to have one-provoked a furious reaction among other American novelists, notably John Updike, Norman Mailer, and John Irving.

In October 2000 Wolfe published Hooking Up, a collection of fiction and non fiction concerning the turn of the new century, entitled Hooking Up. It included Ambush at Fort Bragg and, for the first time since their original publication in the Herald-Tribune, his famous essays on William Shawn and The New Yorker, “Tiny Mummies!” and “Lost in the Whichy Thickets.” His new novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, is now available in paperback from Picador.
Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife, Sheila; his daughter, Alexandra; and his son, Tommy.

The Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987
Reissued by Picador, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-42757-3
$16.00

Purchase this book from Macmillan

Sherman McCoy, the central figure of Tom Wolfe’s first novel, is a young investment banker with a fourteen-room apartment in Manhattan. When he is involved in a freak accident in the Bronx, prosecutors, politicians, the press, the police, the clergy, and assorted hustlers high and low close in on him, licking their chops and giving us a gargantuan helping of the human comedy of New York in the last years of the twentieth century, a city boiling over with racial and ethnic hostilities and burning with the itch to Grab It Now. Wolfe’s gallery ranges from Wall Street, where people in their thirties feel like small-fry if they’re not yet making a million per, to the real streets, where the aim is lower but the itch is just as virulent.

We see this feverish landscape through the eyes of McCoy’s wife and his mistress; the young prosecutor for whom the McCoy case would be he answer to a prayer; the ne’er-do-well British journalist who needs such a case to save his career in America; the street-wise Irish lawyer who becomes McCoy’s only ally; and Reverend Bacon of Harlem, a master manipulator of public opinion. Above all, we see what happens when the criminal justice system-gorged with “the chow,” as the Bronx prosecutor calls the borough’s usual black and Latin felons-considers the prospect of being banded a prime cut like Sherman McCoy of Park Avenue.

The Bonfire of the Vanities is a novel, but it is based on the same sort of detailed on-scene reporting as Wolfe’s great nonfiction bestsellers, The Right Stuff, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. And it is every bit as eye-opening in its achievements. It is a big, panoramic story of the metropolis-the kind of fiction strangely absent from our literature in the second half of this century-that reinforces Tom Wolfe’s reputation as the foremost chronicler of the way we live in America.

Reviews

“A big, bitter, funny, craftily plotted book that grabs you by the lapels and won’t let go.” -The New York Times Book Review

“Brilliant . . .” -People “Impossible to put down . . .” -The Wall Street Journal

“Delicious fun . . .” -The New York Times

“A smash . . .” -Philadelphia Inquirer

“Marvelous . . .” -Business Week

“Richly entertaining . . .” -Washington Post Book World

“It’s the human comedy, on a skyscraper scale and at a taxi-meter pace . . .” -Newsweek

Gregory Corso

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Gregory Corso

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Gregory Corso

Gregory Corso passed away on January 19, 2001 at the age of 70, after a long illness. Corso was one of the major figures of the Beat Generation. He was a poet, painter, traveler, and occasional lecturer. His vibrant, vital, authentic poetry celebrates the mystery of life and death through everyday detail and mystic visions.

Though he never gained the truly widespread fame that his fellow Beats Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs enjoyed, his work had an impact on contemporary poetics that continues to this day.

His poetry has earned praise from many. Jack Kerouac is quoted as saying (on the back cover of Corso’s “Gasoline”) “I think that Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg are the two best poets in America and that they can’t be compared to each other.

Gregory Corso, Marin Headlands, 1978 © Larry KeenanGregory Corso, Marin Headlands, 1978 © Larry Keenan

Gregory was a tough young kid from the Lower East Side who rose like an angel over the rooftops and sang Italian songs as sweet as Caruso and Sinatra, but in words. ‘Sweet Milanese hills’ brood in his Renaissance soul, evening is coming on the hills. Amazing and beautiful Gregory Corso, the one & only Gregory the Herald. Read slowly and see.”

Bob Dylan has spoken about how the early Beat writing, and particularly Ginsberg’s “Howl,” Ferlinghetti’s “Coney Island of the Mind,” and Corso’s “Gasoline” awakened him to new possibilities of the written word.

Corso was born in Greenwich Village, New York, on March 26, 1930. He had a turbulent childhood, his mother abandoning the family to return to Italy, and his father unable to offer much support. Gregory was a chronic runaway, and was in and out of jail during his adolescence.

He began reading & writing poetry while serving time in prison for theft. Shortly after his release, he met Allen Ginsberg in a Greenwich Village bar, and, after showing Ginsberg some of his poems, the two became close friends. Allen Ginsberg introduced Corso to Kerouac, Burroughs, and his other literary friends. Thus was the beginning of a great literary career.

Some of Gregory Corso’s major publications are:

  • “The Vestal Lady on Brattle & Other Poems,  1955
  • Gasoline,  1958
  • The Happy Birthday of Death,  1960
  • The American Express,  1961
  • Long Live Man,  1962
  • Elegaic Feeling American
  • 1970
  • The Herald of the Autochthonic Spirit,  1981
  • Mindfield: New and Selected Poems,  1989

<a HREF=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?rt=tf_mfw&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Femptymirrorc-20%2F8001%2Feb1e8654-da6b-4471-8546-7c886b63e220&Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.com Widgets</a>

Here’s some more info on Gregory Corso:

Last Night I Drove a Car

Last night I drove a car
not knowing how to drive
not owning a car
I drove and knocked down
people I loved
…went 120 through one town.

I stopped at Hedgeville
and slept in the back seat
…excited about my new life.

Online Source

Destiny

They deliver the edicts of God
without delay
And are exempt from apprehension
from detention
And with their God-given
Petasus, Caduceus, and Talaria
ferry like bolts of lightning
unhindered between the tribunals
of Space and Time

The Messenger-Spirit
in human flesh
is assigned a dependable,
self-reliant, versatile,
thoroughly poet existence
upon its sojourn in life

It does not knock
or ring the bell
or telephone
When the Messenger-Spirit
comes to your door
though locked
It’ll enter like an electric midwife
and deliver the message

There is no tell
throughout the ages
that a Messenger-Spirit
ever stumbled into darkness

Online Source

GREGORY CORSO

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Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso1973

corso

Gregory Corso biography
Quick Facts
NAME: Gregory Corso
OCCUPATION: Poet
BIRTH DATE: March 26, 1930
DEATH DATE: January 17, 2001
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Robbinsdale, Minnesota
Full Name: Gregory Nunzio Corso

Gregory Corso was a troubled youth who spent time in prison and grew up to become one of the leading voices of the Beat poetry movement.

Born in New York City in 1930, poet Gregory Corso became one of the leading voices of the Beat movement along with his friend and mentor, Allen Ginsberg. His poetry is known for its imagery, directness and rebellious tone. Notable collections include The Vestal Lady on Brattle (1955) and The Mutation of the Spirit (1964).

Contents
Synopsis
Early Life
Beat Poets
Poetry Career
Lifestyle and Death

Early Life

Gregory Nunzio Corso was born to teenage parents in New York City on March 26, 1930. His mother abandoned him as an infant, and he had a troubled youth that included a span of foster homes, orphanages and a months-long stint in prison while awaiting trial for selling stolen goods at the age of 12. The stay was hard on the boy, and he was hospitalized under observation for months after his acquittal. He served time again when he was 16, for robbery. Having missed out on a traditional education, Corso took time to educate himself while incarcerated.

Beat Poets

After he was released from prison, Corso traveled the country working a series of odd jobs. In 1950, Corso met Allen Ginsberg in a bar in Greenwich Village, a chance encounter that would change his life. Ginsberg was intrigued by the potential he saw in Corso’s poems. He introduced the new poet to less-conventional poetry styles and to his social circle, a group that included Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. In 1954, Corso moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and spent extended amounts of time reading poetry at the Harvard University library. The Harvard Advocate published his first poems.

In 1956, Corso moved to San Francisco, where the Beat movement was taking off. As the Beat poets gained notoriety and success, they began to travel the country together. In the late 1950s, they lived in Paris, all sharing one bed in a hotel near St. Michel. Corso also lived in England and central Europe for several years.

Poetry Career

Corso’s poetry is known for his diverse vocabulary, imagery, directness, sense of humor and, most of all, rebellious nature. Corso is frequently referred to as the “bad boy” of the Beat poets. He authored more than 20 books of poetry, including The Vestal Lady on Brattle (1955), The American Express (1961) and The Mutation of the Spirit (1964).

Lifestyle and Death

Corso was a heroin addict. He struggled financially and at times sold his notebook of poetry for drug money. In his later career, he taught at universities, including New York University. In 1965, the State University of New York at Buffalo fired Corso after he refused to sign a legal document denying membership in the Communist Party. He was married three times and was survived by his three daughters and two sons. Corso died of prostate cancer on January 17, 2001, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved

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Some Gregory Corso: Online Poems

Last Night I Drove a Car

Last night I drove a car
not knowing how to drive
not owning a car
I drove and knocked down
people I loved
…went 120 through one town.

I stopped at Hedgeville
and slept in the back seat
…excited about my new life.

Online Source

Destiny

They deliver the edicts of God
without delay
And are exempt from apprehension
from detention
And with their God-given
Petasus, Caduceus, and Talaria
ferry like bolts of lightning
unhindered between the tribunals
of Space and Time

The Messenger-Spirit
in human flesh
is assigned a dependable,
self-reliant, versatile,
thoroughly poet existence
upon its sojourn in life

It does not knock
or ring the bell
or telephone
When the Messenger-Spirit
comes to your door
though locked
It’ll enter like an electric midwife
and deliver the message

There is no tell
throughout the ages
that a Messenger-Spirit
ever stumbled into darkness

Online Source

The Mad Yak

I am watching them churn the last milk they’ll ever get from me.
They are waiting for me to die;
They want to make buttons out of my bones.
Where are my sisters and brothers?
That tall monk there, loading my uncle, he has a new cap.
And that idiot student of his — I never saw that muffler before.
Poor uncle, he lets them load him.
How sad he is, how tired!
I wonder what they’ll do with his bones?
And that beautiful tail!
How many shoelaces will they make of that!

“AND THE HIPPOS WERE BOILED IN THEIR TANKS” THE KEROUAC AND BURROUGHS NOVEL ,RESURFACES

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THE POETRY OF WILLIAM BURROUGHS

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The Poetry of William S. Burroughs

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An Ongoing Attempt to Collect the Poetry of William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs is generally considered a novelist. To make the case that he was also a poet is neither revisionist nor perverse but absurd. After all, Burroughs paid about as much obeisance to genre or medium as he did to the law. His work consistently ignored the traditional boundaries between forms of creative production — to the point where, if you were really to collect Burroughs’ “poetry,” you would be hard-pressed to explain why you might leave out Naked Lunch. It may well be the most “poetic” text he ever wrote.

And what of the cut-up? Is it poetry, prose, or something else altogether? Oliver Harris has broached the question in his essay “‘Burroughs Is a Poet Too, Really’: The Poetics of Minutes to Go.” Harris writes that, in Minutes to Go, poetry “is not understood in terms of words on the page but as the ‘place’ reached by a particular use of chance operations on pre-existing words.” It is a method “to be grasped by doing,” not a “content to be understood by interpretation.” This insightful analysis could serve as an introduction to this somewhat quixotic attempt to collect the poetry of William Burroughs, and Oliver Harris has very graciously allowed RealityStudio to republish it.

Poems by William S. Burroughs

Published by RealityStudio on 4 August 2010.

ALLEN GINSBERG’S BEAT MEMORES

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