The Golden Dot: Last Poems, 1997–2000 (Lithic Press, 2022) is a white-hot summation and extended last word of a poet who was most alone in the company of others and frequently his own worst advocate. The Shelley-infused lyricist, familiar to us from more than a dozen books across forty years, is still in evidence, but there is a newfound clarity and urgency to the work, which is like meeting a long-lost friend after decades apart. It was my pleasure to interview longtime Corso compatriots and editors Raymond Foye and George Scrivani, who have accomplished the heroic task of transforming the fluid manuscript Corso left into the poignant collection we have here. Like many folks from New York City’s poetry community, I knew Corso had a final great book in him, but I doubted the unrepentant hellraiser would ever pull it off.
Note: The youngest foundational Beat is having a revival. After a folio of new poems appeared a few months ago in The Brooklyn Rail, the full collection from which they were excerpted has arrived, and it couldn’t be more of a surprise — and a delight.
Thanks to George Drury, who is working on the Studs Terkel archive, PennSound has just made available a delightful and wacky 30 minute recording of Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Peter Orlovsky on Studs Terkel’s WFMT (Chicago) radio show in 1959. They were in Chicago to support Paul Carroll’s Big Table.
From the mid-sixties on through, photographer Gordon Ball took thousands of photos of Allen Ginsberg and his many friends and colleagues: Robert Creeley, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, Herbert Huncke, Philip Whalen, William S. Burroughs, and many others.
“We often think of photography as an individualistic, solitary art — a single man or woman working the alchemy of a dark room, or one with a frequently small sometimes large mostly metal object that has a magical, transforming effect on others before that little ‘click’ is ever heard. We don’t usually speak of Annie Leibowitz and collaborators, of Alfred Eisenstadt and partners, of Robert Frank and co-workers in the writing of light. But much of whatever I may have managed to do in photography involves, in a variety of ways, a debt to others — and wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
Ginsberg, Corso, and Orlovsky with Studs Terkel in 1959