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Ύποπτοι θαυματοποιοί που πυροβολούν τις λέξεις -
και γίνονται πουλιά.
Τάσος Λειβαδίτης

Τετάρτη, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2011

ΑΝΤΩΝΙΑ ΠΟΤΣΙ - 3 ΔΕΚΕΜΡΙΟΥ 1938 ΑΥΤΟΚΤΟΝΗΣΕ




Απαλή Προσφορά

Θα ήθελα η ψυχή μου να σου είναι 
ελαφριά
όπως τα ακραία φύλλα
από τις
 λεύκες, που ανάβουν από τον ήλιο
στην κορυφή των
 τυλιγμένων κορμών
από ομίχλη
 -
Θα ήθελα
 να σε συνοδεύσω με τα λόγια μου
σε μια έρημη λεωφόρο, σημαδεμένη
από
 λεπτές σκιές -
έως μια κοιλάδα χορταριασμένη σιωπής
στη λίμνη -
όπου
 αντηχεί για μια ανάσα αέρα
το
 καλάμι
και οι λιβελλούλες
 διασκεδάζουν
με το νερό
 το αβαθές -
Θα ήθελα η ψυχή μου να σου είναι
 
ελαφριά
ότι η ποίηση
 μου να είναι μια γέφυρα,
λεπτή
 και σταθερή,
Λευκή
 -
στις σκοτεινές
 αβύσσους
της γης.

μετάφραση από τα Ιταλικά: Κοκολογιάννης Κωνσταντίνος


Η  Αντωνία Πότσι (Antonia Pozzi) γεννήθηκε στο Μιλάνο στις 13 Φεβρουαρίου του 1912 και πέθανε στις 3 Δεκεμβρίου του 1938 σε ηλικία 26 χρονών.
Κόρη πλούσιων γονιών ξεκίνησε να γράφει τα πρώτα της ποιήματα σε παιδική ηλικία. Στο λύκειο ξεκινά μια σχέση με τον Αντώνιο Μαρία Τσέρβι (Antonio Maria Cervi) καθηγητή της στα Αρχαία Ελληνικά και Λατινικά. Μια σχέση που εξαιτίας των σοβαρών εμποδίων και δυσκολιών που έθεσε η οικογένεια Πότσι, τερματίστηκε το 1933 από τον Τσέρβι. Αυτό προκάλεσε κατάθλιψη "κι εσύ μπήκες / στο δρόμο του θανάτου", γράφει για τον εαυτό της εκείνον το χρόνο, που την οδήγησε τελικά στην αυτοκτονία. 


Antonia Pozzi: ... verso l'ultimo sogno di sole 




Antonia Pozzi
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.

Antonia Pozzi (Milano13 febbraio 1912 – Milano3 dicembre 1938) è stata una poetessa italiana.

Biografia

Figlia di Roberto, importante avvocato milanese e della contessa Lina Cavagna Sangiuliani, nipote di Tommaso Grossi, scrive le prime poesie ancora adolescente. Studia nel liceo classico Manzoni di Milano, dove inizia con il suo professore di latino e grecoAntonio Maria Cervi, una relazione che, a causa dei pesanti ostacoli frapposti dalla famiglia Pozzi, verrà interrotta dal Cervi nel 1933, procurandole la depressione - «e tu sei entrata / nella strada del morire», scrive di sé in quell'anno - che contribuirà a condurla al suicidio.
Nel 1930 si iscrive alla facoltà di filologia dell'Università statale di Milano, frequentando coetanei quali Vittorio Sereni, suo amico fraterno, Enzo PaciLuciano AnceschiRemo Cantoni, del quale sembra si innamorasse non ricambiata, le lezioni del germanista Vincenzo Errante e del docente di estetica Antonio Banfi, forse il più aperto e moderno docente universitario italiano del tempo, col quale si laurea nel 1935 discutendo una tesi su Gustave Flaubert.
Con una ragazza che frequentava il gruppo del professor Banfi, ebbe un reciproco turbamento sensuale, e in una lettera a Sereni scrisse: «Mi ha perfino detto che quando mi vede le viene una gran voglia di baciarmi...non mi è mai capitata una faccenda simile e ti assicuro che non ci capisco niente»[1]. Antonia in seguito "le dice di essere innamorata di lei, decidono di recitare la parte delle fidanzate: si tengono per mano, si baciano sulla bocca"[2].

Tiene un diario e scrive lettere che manifestano i suoi tanti interessi culturali, coltiva la fotografia, ama le lunghe escursioni in bicicletta, progetta un romanzostorico sulla Lombardia, conosce il tedesco, il francese e l'inglese, viaggia, pur brevemente, oltre che in Italia, in FranciaAustriaGermania e Inghilterra ma il suo luogo prediletto è la settecentesca villa di famiglia, a Pasturo, ai piedi delle Grigne, dove è la sua biblioteca e dove studia, scrive e cerca un sollievo nel contatto con la natura solitaria e severa della montagna. Di questi luoghi si trovano descrizioni, sfondi ed echi espliciti nelle sue poesie; mai invece degli eleganti ambienti milanesi, che pure conosceva bene.
La grande italianista Maria Corti che la conobbe all'università, disse che «il suo spirito faceva pensare a quelle piante di montagna che possono espandersi solo ai margini dei crepacci, sull'orlo degli abissi. Era un'ipersensibile, dalla dolce angoscia creativa, ma insieme una donna dal carattere forte e con una bella intelligenza filosofica; fu forse preda innocente di una paranoica censura paterna su vita e poesie. Senza dubbio fu in crisi con il chiuso ambiente religioso familiare. La terra lombarda amatissima, la natura di piante e fiumi la consolava certo più dei suoi simili».
Avverte certamente il cupo clima politico italiano ed europeo: le leggi razziali del 1938 colpiscono alcuni dei suoi amici più cari; «forse l'età delle parole è finita per sempre», scrive quell'anno a Sereni.
Nel suo biglietto di addio ai genitori scrive di disperazione mortale e si uccide con i barbiturici. La famiglia negherà la circostanza «scandalosa» del suicidio, attribuendo la morte apolmonite; il suo testamento fu però distrutto dal padre, che manipolò anche le sue poesie, scritte su quaderni e allora ancora tutte inedite; la storia d'amore con il Cervi sarà falsamente descritta come una relazione platonica.
È sepolta nel piccolo cimitero di Pasturo: il monumento funebre, un Cristo in bronzo, è opera dello scultore Giannino Castiglioni.

La poesia 

Parte dal crepuscolarismo di Sergio Corazzini: «Appoggiami la testa sulla spalla / che ti carezzi con un gesto lento [...] Lascia ch'io sola pianga, se qualcuno / suona, in un canto, qualche nenia triste» per poi viverlo interiorizzato: «vivo della poesia come le vene vivono del sangue», scrive, e infatti cerca di esprimere nelle parole l'autenticità dell'esistenza, non trovando verità nella propria e, come riservata e rigorosa fu la sua breve vita, così le sue parole, secondo la lezione ermetica, «sono asciutte e dure come i sassi» o «vestite di veli bianchi strappati», ridotte al «minimo di peso», come scrisse Montale, e trasferiscono peso e sostanza alle immagini, per liberarne l'animo oppresso ed effondere il sentimento nelle cose trasfigurate in simbolo.
Dall'espressionismo tedesco trae atmosfere desolate e inquietanti:
«le corolle dei dolci fiori
insabbiate.
Forse nella notte
qualche ponte verrà
sommerso.
Solitudine e pianto -
solitudine e pianto
dei larici»
oppure
«All'alba pallidi vedemmo le rondini
sui fili fradici immote
spiare cenni arcani di partenza»
o anche
«Petali viola
mi raccoglievi in grembo
a sera:
quando batté il cancello
e fu oscura
la via del ritorno»
La crisi di un'epoca s'incontra con la sua tragedia personale e se, come scrisse in una lettera, «la poesia ha questo compito sublime: di prendere tutto il dolore che ci spumeggia e ci rimbalza nell'anima e di placarlo, di trasfigurarlo nella suprema calma dell'arte, così come sfociano i fiumi nella celeste vastità del mare», quel dolore non si placa nella sua poesia ma, come un fiume carsico, ora vi circola sotterraneo e ora emerge e tracima, sommergendo l'espressione poetica nel modo stesso in cui travolse la sua vita.

Antonia Pozzi nel cinema

Antonia Pozzi è stata raccontata nel cine-documentario della regista milanese Marina Spada "Poesia che mi guardi", presentato fuori concorso alla 66ma Mostra del Cinema di Venezia (2009).

Opere 

Tutte le sue opere sono state pubblicate postume. Nelle edizioni più recenti è stata ricostruita la genesi delle sue poesie.
Parole, Milano, Mondadori, 1939, I ed., 91 poesie; 1943, II ed., 157 poesie; 1948, III ed., 159 poesie; 1964, IV ed., 176 poesie, con prefazione di Eugenio Montale.
Flaubert. La formazione letteraria (1830 - 1865), tesi di laurea, con prefazione di Antonio Banfi, Garzanti, 1940.
La vita sognata ed altre poesie inedite, Milano, Scheiwiller, a cura di Alessandra Cenni e Onorina Dino, 1986.
Diari, introduzione di Alessadra Cenni a cura di A.Cenni e O. Dino, Scheiwiller, 1988.
L'età' delle parole è finita, con prefazione di A.Cenni, Lettere (1925 - 1938), Milano, Archinto, 1989.
Parole, con prefazione di Alessandra Cenni, a cura di A.Cenni e O.Dino, Milano, Garzanti, 1989 e 2001
Pozzi e Sereni. La giovinezza che non trova scampo, a cura di Alessandra Cenni, Milano, Scheiwiller, 1988.
Mentre tu dormi le stagioni passano..., a cura di Alessandra Cenni e Onorina Dino, Milano, Viennepierre, 1998.
Poesia, mi confesso con te. Ultime poesie inedite (1929-1933), a cura di Onorina Dino, Viennepierre, 2004.
Nelle immagini l'anima: antologia fotografica, a cura di L. Pellegatta e O. Dino, Milano, Ancora, 2007.
Diari e altri scritti, nuova edizione a cura di Onorina Dino, note ai testi e postfazione di Matteo M. Vecchio, Milano, Viennepierre, 2008
A. Pozzi - T. Gadenz, Epistolario (1933-1938),a cura di O. Dino, Viennepierre, Milano 2008
Tutte le Opere, a cura di Alessandra Cenni, Milano, Garzanti, 2009
Poesia che mi guardi, a cura di Graziella Bernabò e Onorina Dino, Bologna, Luca Sossella Editore, 2010

Note 

^ . Alessandra Cenni:In riva alla vita. URL consultato il 18-12-2008.
^ .Alessandra Cenni:In riva alla vita. URL consultato il 18-12-2008.
Bibliografia critica

Antonio Banfi, "Premessa" ad A. Pozzi, Flaubert. La formazione letteraria (1830-1856), Garzanti, Milano 1940.
Tullio Gadenz, "Antonia, poetessa della montagna", in "Lecco", rivista di cultura e turismo, n.5-6 (numero monografico dedicato ad Antonia Pozzi), Lecco, settembre-dicembre 1941.
Vincenzo Errante, , "Presentazione di Antonia", Lecco: rivista di cultura e turismo (numero monografico dedicato ad Antonia Pozzi), Lecco, n. 5-6, settembre-dicembre 1941, pp. 8-9.
D. Setti, "La poesia di Antonia", Lecco: rivista di cultura e turismo (numero monografico dedicato ad Antonia Pozzi), Lecco, n. 5-6, settembre-dicembre 1941, pp. 59-61.
Giancarlo Vigorelli, "Ricordo di Antonia Pozzi", Tempo, Milano, a. VII, n. 218, 29 luglio-5 agosto 1943, p. 3
Vincenzo Errante, , Lettura di "Parole" di Antonia Pozzi, manoscritto inedito, Milano, 2 febbraio 1949.
Carlo Del Teglio, "L'opera postuma di Antonia Pozzi poetessa d'Italia", in "Lecco", rivista di cultura e turismo n. 1, XIII, Lecco, 1954.
Eugenio Montale, prefazione a: Antonia Pozzi, "Parole", Mondadori, Milano 1964.
Giorgio Bàrberi Squarotti, (a cura di), "Parole", in Dizionario letterario delle opere, Appendice, vol. II, N-Z, Indici, Bompiani, Milano 1966, pp. 84-85.
Carlo Annoni, "'Parole' di Antonia Pozzi: lettura tematica", in AA.VV., Studi sulla cultura lombarda in memoria di Mario Apollonio, vol. II, Vita e pensiero, Milano 1972, pp. 242-259.
Federico Bario. (a cura di), "Le Parole di Antonia Pozzi", Symposium, Lecco, n. 1, marzo 1982, pp. 11-14.
Carlo Del Teglio, Scrittori di casa nostra: Antonia Pozzi, un triste destino, in Leucensia, Editrice C.B.R.S., Lecco 1985.
Alessandra Cenni, In riva alla vita. Storia di Antonia Pozzi poetessa, Rizzoli, Milano 2002 ISBN 8817867535
Graziella Bernabò, Per troppa vita che ho nel sangue. Antonia Pozzi e la sua poesia, Viennepierre, Milano 2004 ISBN 8876010084
Carlo Del Teglio, "Quella poetessa tra le foglie", Il Punto stampa, Lecco, aprile 1983.
A. Della Torre, "Non domandarmi se prego", La Provincia di Lecco, 3 maggio 1987.
Carlo Del Teglio, "Diario di un'anima che volle diventare itinerario poetico", La Provincia di Lecco, 3 maggio 1987.
Aroldo Benini, "Quando morì piansero anche i celebri scrittori", La Provincia di Lecco, 3 dicembre 1988.
A. Della Torre, "L'intermittente diario di un'anima", La Provincia di Lecco, 3 dicembre 1988.
Aroldo Benini, Nei suoi occhi si spalancavano laghi di stupore, in "Il Giornale di Lecco", Lecco, 27 febbraio 1989.
Giancarlo Vigorelli, Antonia Pozzi. Le parole segrete che mi confidava, in "La Stampa-Tuttolibri", Torino, 12 febbraio 1989.
Carlo Annoni, "Chiarismo e linea lombarda: 'Parole' di Antonia Pozzi", in Capitoli sul Novecento: critici e poeti, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 1990, pp. 200-220.
Aroldo Benini, Antonia Pozzi, Lettera [inedita]ad Antonio Banfi, in "Archivi di Lecco", XVIII, n.2, Ed. G. Stefanoni, Lecco, aprile-giugno 1995.
Barbara Garavaglia, , "Il breve viaggio di Antonia all'ombra dei nostri monti: 'Poesia, rifugio e dovere'", Il Resegone, n. 31, Lecco, 1 agosto 1997, p. 24.
Fulvio Panzeri, "Amore e morte sotto le Grigne", La Provincia di Lecco, 14 febbraio 1999.
M. L. Invernizzi, "Quelle parole scritte e immaginate", La Provincia di Lecco, 14 luglio 2001.
Gianfranco Scotti-Michela Magni,"Poesia tra lago e monti" Viennepierre, Milano 2002, pp.65-74.
Luigi Scorrano, "Memorietta su Antonia Pozzi", Archivi di Lecco, Lecco, XVIII, n. 2, aprile-giugno 1995, pp. 51-76. Ora, con lievi modifiche in Carte inquiete. Maria Corti, Biagia Marniti, Antonia Pozzi, Longo Editore, Ravenna 2002, pp. 87-126.
Giacinto Spagnoletti, Storia della letteratura italiana del Novecento, Roma, Newton Compton, 1994.
Germano Campione, "Nemmeno il tempo spegne l'ardore poetico di Antonia", La Gazzetta di Lecco, 16 luglio 2005.
Fulvio Panzeri, "La poetessa che scalava le cime lecchesi", La Provincia di Lecco, 4 agosto 2005
Alessio Iovino, "Antonia Pozzi: la vita sognata", Il Pendolo (rivista online), 9 aprile 2009
Tiziana Altea, "Antonia Pozzi. La polifonia del silenzio", CUEM, Milano 2010 ISBN 9788860012647
Matteo M. Vecchio - Davide Assael, Gli appunti di Antonia Pozzi relativi al corso di Filosofia dell'anno accademico 1931-1932 presso l'Università degli studi di Milano, in "Otto/Novecento", a. XXXV, n. 1, gennaio/aprile 2011, pp. 55-72.

Altri progetti

Collegamenti esterni 

La scelta di Antonia... di Marina Spada (Repubblica, 28 gennaio 2009, p.15, sezione di Milano)


ΑΝΝ ΚΑΡΣΟΝ - ΠΟΙΗΜΑΤΑ




ΑΥΤΗ

Μένει σε μια στέρφα γη του Νότου.
Μένει μόνη.
Η άνοιξη ανοίγει σαν λεπίδα εκεί.
Ταξιδεύω όλη μέρα σε τρένα και φέρνω πολλά βιβλία-
μερικά για τη μητέρα μου, μερικά για μένα
ανάμεσά τους και τα Απαντα της Εμιλυ Μπροντέ.
Αυτή είναι η αγαπημένη μου συγγραφέας.
Και ο βασικός φόβος μου επίσης, που έχω σκοπό ν' αντιμετωπίσω.
Οποτε επισκέπτομαι τη μητέρα μου
είναι λες και γίνομαι η Εμιλυ Μπροντέ,
η μοναχική ζωή μου με περιστοιχίζει σαν στέρφα γη,
το άχαρό μου σώμα να βαρυπατεί στα λασποτόπια με μια αίσθηση μετάπλασης
που σβήνει σαν πλησιάσω την είσοδο της κουζίνας.
Ποιο κρέας είναι, Εμιλυ, που χρειαζόμαστε;

Ποίημα σε μετάφραση της Ευτυχίας Παναγιώτου,
στο δεύτερο τεύχος του περ. Poetix (χειμώνας 2009-2010)


Poet Anne Carson reads from Decreation




ΑΥΤΟ 

Αχόρταγος Απρίλης, δέντρα στη σωστή θέση,
στην ξεριζωμένη τους θέση,
το στήσιμό τους.
Στήσιμο έξοχο.
Το κόκκινο των κλαδιών τους,
το πράσινο των κορμών τους (κρούση),
ποτάμι, εκείνο εκεί.
Ξάφνιασα μια χήνα και έσκουξε.
Περπατώ και περπατώ με κρύα χέρια.
Πίσω στο σπίτι είναι γεμάτο νοσταλγία,
τίποτα που να παίρνει μακριά τη νοσταλγία.
Εξετάζω τη ζωή μου αναδρομικά.
Πάω να βρω αναλογίες.

Δεν υπάρχει καμία.
Μα είχα ξανανοσταλγήσει ανθρώπους, είχα ξαναγαπήσει.
Όχι έτσι.
Δεν ήταν αυτό. 

Δώσε μου έναν κόσμο, έχεις πάρει τον κόσμο που ήμουν. 


ΔΙΚΗ ΣΟΥ

(«αμετάβλητη»)
Στην πραγματικότητα, όχι. Προσποιητό άλμα μες σε—
ποτάμι φευγαλέας ματιάς στη γυμνή
[αναμονή]
[σπουδαίο ουσιαστικό] για το πώς η σκέψη σπάει γύρω σου άφαντος
τα ρούχα σου άβρεχτα σε τούτον το βαθύ καθρέφτη—
ό,τι ο Χαίντερλιν αποκαλεί die Tageszeichen, σημάδια
                            που πέτυχαν διάνα την ψυχή, ενέργεια του θεού της κάθε μέρας
οι δικές σου ανταποδοτικές αμυχές, ακόμα δεν ξέρω—
χρόνια από τώρα, εκείνα
τα ιερογλυφικά στο βιβλίο των διευθύνσεων, αυτό το έξαλλο χέρι.


Η Ανν Κάρσον γεννήθηκε στον Καναδά τον Ιούνιο του 1950. Είναι ποιήτρια, δοκιμιογράφος, κριτικός λογοτεχνίας, μεταφράστρια, θεατρική συγγραφέας και καθηγήτρια Κλασικών Σπουδών και Συγκριτικής Λογοτεχνίας στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Μίσιγκαν. Αν και πολυβραβευμένη ποιήτρια, λίγα πράγματα είναι γνωστά για την προσωπική της ζωή. Στα βιβλία της, το βιογραφικό της συνοψίζεται στην πρόταση «Η Ανν Κάρσον ζει στον Καναδά».

Βιβλία: Eros the Bittersweet (1986), Glass, Irony, and God (1992), Short Talks (1992), Plainwater (1995), Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (1998), Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Ceos with Paul Celan (1999), Men in the Off Hours (2001), Electra (μετάφραση) (2001), The Beauty of the Husband (2002), If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (2002), Wonderwater (Alice Offshore) (τόμος Β’, συνεργασία με τον Roni Horn) (2004), Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera (2005), Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides (μετάφραση) (2006), An Oresteia (2009) (μετάφραση).



Anne Carson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anne Carson (born June 21, 1950) is a Canadian poet, essayist, translator and professor of Classics. Carson lived in Montreal for several years and taught at McGill University,[1] the University of Michigan,[2] and at Princeton University from 1980-1987.[3] She was a 1998 Guggenheim Fellow.[4] and in 2000 she was awarded aMacArthur Fellowship. She has also won a Lannan Literary Award.[5]

Life and work

Though distinguished, Carson's academic training did not run a straight path. The fascination with classical literature which dominates her work began to take root in high school. There, a Latin instructor introduced her to the world and language of Ancient Greece and tutored the future poet privately.[6] Enrolling at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto, she left twice—at the end of her first and second years. Carson, disconcerted by curricular constraints (particularly by a required course on Milton), retired to the world of graphic arts for a short time.[6] She did eventually return to the University of Toronto where she completed her B.A. in 1974, her M.A. in 1975 and her Ph.D. in 1981.[7]
A professor of the classics, with background in classical languages, comparative literature, anthropology, history, and commercial art, Carson blends ideas and themes from many fields in her writing. She frequently references, modernizes, and translates Greek mythology. She has published fifteen books as of 2010, all of which blend the forms of poetry, essay, prose, criticism, translation, dramatic dialogue, fiction, and non-fiction.
Carson was an Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, for Fall 2007. The Classic Stage Company, a New York–based theatre company, produced three of Carson's translations:AeschylusAgamemnonSophoclesElectra; and EuripidesOrestes (as An Oresteia), in repertory, in the 2008/2009 season. She was Poet-in-Residence at New York University.[8] and was a judge for the 2010Griffin Poetry Prize.
She will also be partaking in the Bush Theatre's project Sixty Six (October 2011) where she has written a piece based upon a chapter of the King James Bible.[9]

Selected works

Odi et Amo Ergo Sum (1986) PhD Dissertation, University of Toronto
Eros the Bittersweet (1986) Princeton University Press
Glass, Irony, and God (1992) New Directions Publishing Company
Short Talks (1992) Brick Books
Plainwater (1995) Knopf
Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (1998) Knopf
Economy of the Unlost: Reading Simonides of Ceos with Paul Celan (1999) Princeton University Press
Men in the Off Hours (2001) Knopf
Electra (translation) (2001) Oxford
The Beauty of the Husband (2001) Knopf
If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (2002) Knopf
Wonderwater (Alice Offshore) (volume two, Answer Scars, a collaboration with Roni Horn) (2004) Steidl
Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera (2005) Knopf
Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides (translation) (2006) New York Review Books Classics
An Oresteia (Translation of AgamemnonElektraOrestes. (2009) Faber and Faber
NOX (2010) New Directions, incorporating Catullus 101 of Catullus

Selected awards and honors

Griffin Poetry Prize (2001) for Men in the Off Hours
T. S. Eliot Prize (2001) for The Beauty of the Husband

References

^ "McGill News - Winter '97". News-archive.mcgill.ca. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
^ "Penn Humanities Forum | Anne Carson". Phf.upenn.edu. 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
^ "Anne Carson- Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More". Poets.org. 1950-06-21. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
^ "Lannan Foundation - Anne Carson". Lannan.org. 2001-03-21. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
^ "NYU > CWP > Anne Carson, Charles Simic Join Faculty". Cwp.fas.nyu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-28.

External links

Will Aitken (Fall 2004). "Anne Carson, The Art of Poetry No. 88"Paris Review.
"Anne Carson, with Brighde Mullins", Lannan Readings & Conversations, March 21, 2001


The Blaney Lecture: Anne Carson






Τρίτη, 29 Νοεμβρίου 2011

ΠΟΙΗΣΗ ΚΑΙ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΜΟΥΣΙΚΑ ΣΧΗΜΑΤΑ (μέρος Γ')

ΧΑΪΝΙΔΕΣ - κι αν έσβησε σαν ίσκιος το όνειρο - Κ. Καρυωτάκης




Κι αν έσβησε σαν ίσκιος τ' όνειρό μου,
κι αν έχασα για πάντα τη χαρά,
κι αν σέρνομαι στ' ακάθαρτα του δρόμου,
πουλάκι με σπασμένα τα φτερά

Κι αν έχει, πριν ανοίξει, το λουλούδι
στον κήπο της καρδιάς μου μαραθεί,
το λεύτερο που εσκέφτηκα τραγούδι
κι αν ξέρω πως ποτέ δε θα ειπωθεί

Κι αν έθαψα την ίδια τη ζωή μου
βαθιά μέσα στον πόνο που πονώ-
καθάραιια πως ταράζεται η ψυχή μου
σα βλέπω το μεγάλο ουρανό,

Η θάλασσα σαν έρχεται μεγάλη,
και ογραίνοντας την άμμο το πρωί,
μου λέει για κάποιο γνώριμο ακρογιάλι,
μου λέει για κάποια που 'ζησα ζωή!



ΥΠΟΓΕΙΑ ΡΕΥΜΑΤΑ - Κακή Φωτιά - Κ. Παλαμάς



Εγώ είμ' εδώ ανυπόταχτος και παραστρατισμένος,
εγώ δαγκώνω με θυμό της φτώχειας το ψωμί,
νόθος της τέχνης είμ' εγώ και της ιδέας διωγμένος
από μιαν έγνοια ο νους θολός, δαρμένο το κορμί.

Ο λύχνος μου στης ιερής μελέτης το τραπέζι
σαν ένα νεκροκάντηλο στα μάτια μου αχνοπαίζει
όλα πολέμια κρύα βιβλία, κοντύλια και χαρτιά.
Με καίει κακιά φωτιά.

Εμέ η ζωή μου πλάνεμα και η γέννησή μου λάθος
το λόγο δεν ορέγομαι, δεν ξέρω το ρυθμό
σέρνουν εμένα δυό άλογα, τ' αράπικο το πάθος
και τ΄ αφροστάλαχτο όνειρο μπορεί και στο γκρεμό.



ΟΝΑΡ - Φυσάει στα σταυροδρόμια του κόσμου - Τ. Λειβαδίτης



Ο θάνατος περιοδεύει τον κόσμο με τη μάσκα ενός στρατηγού.
Τα μάτια μας θα ζήσουνε και πέρα από το θάνατό μας
για να κλαίνε.
Φυσάει.

Τα μέγαρα ρίχνουν έναν ίσκιο βαρύ που σπάει τη ραχοκοκαλιά μας
Τρέχουν οι δρόμοι λαχανιασμένοι
Τα παραμύθια είναι τυφλά
Φυσάει

Φυσάει μέσα από τα τρύπια βρακιά των ανέργων
Φυσάει
Φυσάει μέσα στην οργισμένη καρδιά του λαού

Ο άνεμος μπερδεύει τους δρόμους τις χρονολογίες τα πρόσωπα
Παρασέρνει τη σκόνη απ’ τα πεδία των μαχών
Αυτή η σκόνη θάβει σιγά σιγά την Ευρώπη

Τα χέρια τους είναι έτοιμα να σώσουνε τον κόσμο
Εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων

Ερχόμαστε
Παραμερίστε
Κατεβαίνουμε σαν μια χιονοστιβάδα που όσο κατηφορίζει μεγαλώνει


ΜΑΣΚΕΣ - ΣΑΒΒΑΤΟ 31 ΟΚΤΩΒΡΗ - Γ. ΣΕΦΕΡΗΣ



Ήτανε βράδυ στο ποτάμι
κι η νύχτα με μαβιά παλάμη
ξέπλεκε κάθε της πλοκάμι
μες στο νερό που πόντιζε τη βαριά μας καρδιά

Ήταν το βράδυ ένα μετάξι
και στην ψυχή είχε βάλει τάξη
η σκέψη που όλα τα 'σωσε προτού να γεννηθούν

Κάποτε ανάβαν παραθύρια
κάποτε γέρναν τα γιοφύρια
και τα μουντά κι άναρθρα κτίρια
μας έδειχναν πως οι καρδιές χαλνούν ότι ποθούν

Μείναμε μόνοι δίχως γνώμη
ίσως μας πείραξε το ρόμι
που η νύχτα μητριά μας ποτίζει πυκνό
και μες στους δρόμους τα φανάρια
χορεύανε τρελά, σαν ζάρια

Πότε γοργά και πότε ανάρια
που κάποιο χέρι πέταγε λευκά απ' τον ουρανό







Δευτέρα, 28 Νοεμβρίου 2011

ΓΚΡΕΓΚΟΡΥ ΚΟΡΣΟ - BEAT GENERATION




Είμαι 25

Με μια αγάπη μια τρέλα για τους Σέλλεϋ
Τσάτερτον Ρεμπώ
και με τις απεγνωσμένες τσιρίδες της νιότης
μου
έχει πάει απ' αυτί σ' αυτί:
ΜΙΣΩ ΤΟΥΣ ΓΕΡΟΥΣ ΠΟΙΗΤΕΣ!
ειδικά τους γέρους ποιητές που ανακαλούν
που συμβουλεύονται άλλους γέρους ποιητές
που μιλούν για τη νιότη τους ψιθυριστά
λέγοντας: -έκανα αυτά τότε
αλλά ήταν τότε
ήταν τότε-
Ω θα μπορούσα να τους κάνω να σωπάσουν
λέγοντάς τους: -Είμαι φίλος σας
ό,τι ήσαστε κάποτε , μέσα από μένα,
θα το ξαναζήσετε-
Έπειτα τη νύχτα μες στην αυτοπεποίθηση των σπιτιών τους
ξεσκίστε τις απολογητικές τους γλώσσες
και κλέψτε τους τα ποιήματα


μτφ: Θ. Αθανάσιος


5 Poems by Gregory Corso



  
  
Γραμμένο στα σκαλοπάτια του Πορτορικάνικου Χάρλεμ


Υπάρχει μια αλήθεια που βάζει όρια στον άνθρωπο
Μια αλήθεια που τον εμποδίζει να πάει μπροστά
Ο κόσμος αλλάζει
Ο κόσμος το ξ έ ρ ε ι πως αλλάζει
Βαριά είναι η λύπη της μέρας
Οι γέροι έχουν όψη καταδίκης
Οι νέοι παραγνωρίζουν τη μοίρα τους στην όψη αυτή
Αυτό είναι αλήθεια
Μα δεν είναι αλήθεια ολότελα.
Η ζωή έχει νόημα
Και δεν ξέρω το νόημα
Ακόμα κι όταν την ένιωσα δίχως νόημα
Είχα ελπίδα και προσευχήθηκα και ξεστόμισα ένα νόημα
Δεν ήταν όλα ποίηση παιχνιδιάρα
Υπήρχαν χρέη να ξεπληρωθούν
Καλώντας Θεό και Θάνατο
Είχα μια άγρια επιθυμία μαζί τους να τα βάλω
Ο Θάνατος αποδείχτηκε νόημα να μην έχει δίχως τη Ζωή
Ναι ο κόσμος αλλάζει
Ο Θάνατος όμως μένει ίδιος
Τον άνθρωπο παίρνει μακριά απ’ τη Ζωή
Αυτό είν’ το μόνο νόημα που κατέχει
Και συνήθως είναι μια θλιβερή υπόθεση
Τούτος ο Θάνατος
Είχα μια αθωότητα είχα μια σοβαρότητα
Είχα ένα χιούμορ να με γλιτώνει από την αδαή φιλοσοφία
Μπορώ να ψευδίζω τα πιστεύω μου
Μπορώ μπορώ
Γιατί θέλω να ξέρω το νόημα των πάντων
Μα κάθομαι σαν κάτι τσακισμένο
Βογκώντας! Ω, τι ευθύνη
Σου αναθέτω Γκρέγκορυ
Θάνατο και Θεό
Σκληρό σκληρό είναι σκληρό
Έμαθα πως η ζωή δεν ήταν όνειρο
Έμαθα πως η αλήθεια εξαπατούσε
Ο άνθρωπος δεν είναι θεός
Η Ζωή είναι ένας αιώνας
Ο Θάνατος στιγμή μία.

Να πεθαίνεις απ’ τα γέλια

Ήρθα στον κόσμο
και γέλασα μ’ ό,τι είδα.
Πράγματι το σήμερα είναι για γέλια
μα τέτοια γέλια να τα φοβάσαι.
Μπορεί να σε γεμίσουν θλίψη,
θα ‘ταν καλύτερο να μην γελάσεις.
Γέλα με το αύριο
μα κράτα το σήμερα σοβαρό.
Κι αν κλάψω
αφήνοντας τον κόσμο,
τότε σίγουρα είμαι για γέλια
και δεν πιστεύω τίποτα.


Gregory Corso reads his poem "Marriage"





Σκέψη

Ο Θάνατος υπάρχει μα δεν διαρκεί.
Προσπερνώντας ένα νεκρό πουλί
σκέφτεσαι πως είναι νεκρό,
μα μετά περπατάς
και το ξεχνάς.
Η σκέψη παραμένει
και η σκέψη είναι το μόνο
που γνωρίζω
για τον Θάνατο.

Η αμφισβήτηση της αλήθειας

Όντας Ποιητής
εστία ησυχασμού δεν βρίσκεις
Και το μπαούλο της ματαιότητάς μου
το πέταξαν στο πεζοδρόμιο
- ο καθρέφτης έσπασε
Κοιτάζω και βλέπω
έναν παλιωμένο ποιητή
- πόσο γλυκό-θλιμμένο
ερείπιο είναι ο ποιητής
Λέει η καλή καρδιά μου:
«Ανοησίες, όχι, φταίει ο καθρέφτης
που ‘χει σπάσει»
Αν και η αλήθεια δεν είναι πια αφέντης μου
ψέματα για αλήθεια δεν θα πω
Παράτησα για πάντα το μπαούλο
με τα ποιήματά μου
με γύρισα την άλλη μέρα
και είδα έναν Κινέζο
να κλαίει κάτω απ’ τον ήλιο.


Στο φευγαλέο χέρι του Χρόνου

Στα σκαλοπάτια του λαμπρού τρελοκομείου
ακούω τη γενειοφόρο καμπάνα να γκρεμίζει το άλσος
το τελευταίο πένθιμο κάλεσμα του κόσμου μου.
Σκαρφαλώνω και μπαίνω σε μία πύρινη σύναξη ιπποτών
αγνοώντας την παρουσία μου απλώνουν σχέδια επί δορών
και με δάχτυλα της πανοπλίας εντοπίζουν τον ερχομό μου
παλιά παλιά πίσω στα μαύρα σκαλοπάτια
της Ρώμης του Νέρωνα,
σαν στάθηκα με τον φιλόσοφο να θρηνεί στην αγκαλιά μου,
το τελικό κάλεσμα της τρελής ιστορίας.
Τώρα είναι γνωστή η παρουσία μου,
ο ερχομός μου καταγράφτηκε με πλουμιστά σχέδια
τα μεγάλα παράθυρα του Παραδείσου ανοίγουν
κάτω στην ακτινοβόλο σκόνη πέφτουν οι κουρτίνες
των Περασμένων Χρόνων
μέσα σε ιπτάμενα σμήνη ποικιλόχρωμων πουλιών
φως φτερωτό φως, ω το θαύμα του φωτός
ο Χρόνος με παίρνει απ' το χέρι
σαν γεννιέμαι στις 26 Μάρτη του 1930
με 100 μίλια την ώρα πάνω απ' το απέραντο παζάρι
της επιλογής, να επιλέξω τι; τι να επιλέξω;
Ω...κι αφήνω την πορτοκαλόχρωμη μου κάμαρα του μύθου
χωρίς να καταφέρω να φυλάξω τα παιχνίδια μου του Δία,
διαλέγω ένα δωμάτιο στην οδό Μπλήκερ,
μια μητέρα παιδούλα μου κλείνει το στόμα
μ' ένα χλομό μιλανέζικο βυζί,
ρουφάω αγωνίζομαι και κλαίω ω Ολύμπια μητέρα
το βυζί τούτο είν' άγνωστο σε μένα
χιονίζει
δεκαετία άμοιρων αλόγων παγωμένης ασφάλτου
αδύναμα όνειρα σκοτεινοί διάδρομοι του 42ου δημοτικού σχολείου
στέγες περιστέρα με λαιμούς ποντικών
οδηγήθηκα με 1οο μίλια την ώρα πάνω απ' όλους τους τόσο
πραγματικούς δρόμους της Μαφίας,
έχασα τα Ερμαϊκά φτερά μου,
Ω Χρόνε δείξε έλεος
ρίξε με κάτω απ' τα αυτοκίνητα της ανθρωπότητας σου
ρίξε με βορά σε πελώριους γκρίζους ουρανοξύστες
εξάντλησε την καρδιά μου στις γέφυρες σου
αφήνω τη λύρα μου της Ορφικής ματαιότητας
Και για μια τέτοια προδοσία ανεβαίνω τούτα τα τρελά λαμπρά σκαλοπάτια
και μπαίνω σ' αυτό το δωμάτιο παραδείσιου φωτός
εφήμερος
ο Χρόνος
ένας μακρύς μακρύς σκύλος έχοντας κυνηγήσει
γύρω γύρω την ουρά του
έρχεται μ’ αρπάζει απ’ το χέρι
και με οδηγεί σε μια εξαρτημένη ζωή.

 
Σημειώσεις μετά από σκοτοδίνη

Κυρία του κόσμου που δεν έχει πόδια
αρνήθηκα να υπερβώ την αυτοεξαφάνιση.
Είμαι στου λιγνού ανθρώπου το κρεβάτι νιώθοντας
τα πόδια μου στη θέση τους με τον ψυχρό καθαρό αέρα.
Άχρηστο κι όχι άχρηστο αυτό το νόημα.
Όλα έχουν μια απάντηση δεν χρειάζεται να μάθω την απάντηση.
Η ποίηση ψάχνει την απάντηση.
Χαρά είναι η γνώση πως υπάρχει μια απάντηση.
Θάνατος είναι να ξέρεις την απάντηση.
(Εκείνη η αμυδρή λάμψη στην κοιλιά της Φώτισης
είναι οι νεκροί που ξεστομίζουν τις δικές τους απαντήσεις.)
Βασίλισσα των σακάτηδων οι νέοι δεν δείχνουν
πλέον απαραίτητοι.
Οι γέροι κρατούν τη γνώση τους μυστική
συμβάλλουν αδιάκοπα σε τούτο το μεγάλο
απορριπτέο ψέμα.
Παρόλα αυτά ο συγγραφέας της Αλήθειας είναι το τίποτα.
Κι αν ζωτικό το καθιστώ αυτό το τίποτα
θα καταρρεύσει από μόνο του.
Δεν υπάρχει τίποτα.
Τίποτα ποτέ δεν υπήρξε.
Το τίποτα είν' ένα σπίτι που ποτέ δεν αγοράστηκε.
Το τίποτα έρχεται μετά απ’ αυτή την ένδοξη Φάρσα.
Το τίποτα κάθεται πάνω στο τίποτα μέσα σ' ένα τίποτα πολλών τίποτα
βασιλιάς τίποτα.

Πνεύμα

Πνεύμα
είναι η ζωή
κυλάει μέσα
απ' τον θάνατο μου
ασταμάτητα
σαν ένα ποτάμι
που δεν φοβάται
να γίνει θάλασσα.

Εγγύτητα

Ένα αστέρι
είναι τόσο μακριά
όσο το βλέπει
το μάτι
και τόσο κοντά
όσο είναι
σ’ εμένα το μάτι.

Θαλασσινή ριμάδα

Η μάνα μου τη θάλασσα μισεί
Προπάντων τη δική μου
Της είπα αυτό να μην το κάνει
Αυτό μονάχα μπόρεσα
Μετά από χρόνια δυο
Η θάλασσα την έφαγε
Στο ακρογιάλι βρήκα μία παράξενη
Μα όμορφη τροφή
Ρώτησα τη θάλασσα άμα μπορούσα να τη φάω
Και η θάλασσα μου είπε ναι
-Ω, θάλασσα, τι ψάρια είναι ετούτα
τόσο γλυκά και τρυφερά;
-Της μάνας σου τα πόδια


Αυτοκτονία στο Γκρήνουϊτς Βίλλατζ

Τα χέρια τεντωμένα
Οι παλάμες πιέζουν τα πλευρά του παράθυρου
Κοιτάζει κάτω
Έχει στο μυαλό τον Μπάρτοκ, τον Βαν Γκογκ
Και τις γελοιογραφίες στη Νιου Υόρκερ
Πέφτει
Την παίρνουν μ’ ένα φύλλο της Ντέϊλυ Νιους ριγμένο στο πρόσωπο
Και ο μαγαζάτορας ρίχνει καυτό νερό στο πεζοδρόμιο




O Γκρέγκορι Kόρσο, ένας από τους πιο αγαπημένους Aμερικανούς ποιητές, πέθανε στη Mινεάπολη' παράξενο μέρος για να πεθάνει κανείς -όταν είναι μπίτνικ. O Kόρσο ήταν ο μοναδικός Nεοϋορκέζος μπίτνικ (οι περισσότεροι έρχονταν από τη Δυτική ακτή και σ' αυτή κατέληξαν): είχε γεννηθεί τον Mάρτιο του '26 στην οδό Mπλίκερ, την καρδιά του Γκρίνιτς Bίλατζ, που ίσως είναι η καρδιά του κόσμου. Σ' ένα μπαρ της οδού Mπλίκερ, μια νύχτα του '46, γνώρισε τον Αλεν Γκίνσμπεργκ. Tότε ο Kόρσο ήταν ακόμα, κατά την έκφραση της εποχής, «juvenile delinquent», ένας νεαρός εγκληματίας που είχε περάσει λίγους μήνες στη φυλακή για ληστεία. Mε την αύρα του παραβάτη έγινε εύκολα δεκτός στην παρέα των ποιητών που περιφέρονταν στο Γκρίνιτς Bίλατζ (ανάμεσά τους ήταν, κατά καιρούς, ο Σίμουρ Kριμ, ο Tάλι Kάπφερμπεργκ, ο Mπρους Φίαρινγκ, ο Λιρόι Tζόουνς) προτού ο πυρήνας των μπιτ μεταφερθεί στο Σαν Φρανσίσκο.
Tο πρώτο του βιβλίο με ποιήματα εκδόθηκε το 1955 από τον εκδοτικό οίκο City Lights και είχε τίτλο «H ιέρεια του Mπρατλ»: την επόμενη χρονιά, κυκλοφόρησε από τον City Lights το «Oυρλιαχτό» του Γκίνσμπεργκ και τη μεθεπόμενη το «Στον δρόμο» του Tζακ Kέρουακ, που παραμένει το κλασικό μυθιστόρημα της γενιάς των μπίτνικς. Kατά κάποιον τρόπο, ο Kόρσο προηγήθηκε των «μεγάλων» μπιτ: το «Kόνι ’ιλαντ του μυαλού» του Λόρενς Φερλινγκέτι κυκλοφόρησε το 1958, ενώ το «Γυμνό γεύμα» του Γουίλιαμ Mπάροουζ ένα χρόνο αργότερα. Tο '58 και το '59 ήταν η τελευταία χρυσή εποχή των μπίτνικς: το '58 έγινε το πρώτο φεστιβάλ της τζαζ στο Mοντερέι -συμβολικά, οι μπίτνικς είχαν αρχίσει να επιβάλλουν στον κόσμο τη μουσική που τους άρεσε και που συνόδευε τα ταξίδια τους- και το 1959 ο Pόμπερτ Φρανκ με τον ’λφρεντ Λέζλι γύρισαν την ταινία «Pull My Daisy» σε σενάριο του Kέρουακ. Tο «Pull My Daisy» ήταν η καταγραφή της ζωής των μπίτνικς, η αποθέωση και μαζί η απομυθοποίησή τους, ένα ντοκουμέντο της «μπιτ» ύπαρξης, της αμερικανικής εκδοχής της «μποεμίας».
H αμερικανική «μποεμία» έχει μεγάλη ιστορία, έχει παρελθόν σχεδόν όσο και η ίδια η Aμερική. Tον καιρό που εμφανίστηκαν οι «μπιτ», μια γενιά «κουρασμένη» (beat) αλλά και γεμάτη ρυθμό (jazz beat), οι μποέμ της δεκαετίας του '30 είχαν γεράσει: ο τρόπος ζωής του Φ. Σ. Φιτζέραλντ και της Nτόροθι Πάρκερ είχε ξεφτίσει μέσα στον μεταπολεμικό κομφορμισμό και τον θρίαμβο του αμερικανισμού. Tα πάρτι είχαν σιγήσει, τα ποτά είχαν αποδεχτεί φονικά. O πόλεμος είχε προκαλέσει μια καινούργια μορφή συντηρητισμού: το προτεσταντικό εργασιακό ήθος είχε επικρατήσει. Kαι σ' αυτό αντέδρασαν οι μπίτνικς, όπως μπορούσαν, αποσπασματικά, και χωρίς σύστημα: με μπίρες, βενζεδρίνες και ατέρμονες νυχτερινές συζητήσεις.
Aν οι μποέμ του κύκλου της κ. Πάρκερ ταυτίζονταν με την άνοδο της αριστεράς, οι μποέμ του Γκρίνιτς Bίλατζ (που δεν άργησαν να επεκταθούν στο Tσέλσι, κι απέναντι, στα Mπρούκλιν Xάιτς, κι έπειτα, ακόμα πιο πέρα, στη βόρεια Kαλιφόρνια) ταυτίζονταν με τον μακαρθισμό και την υλική ευημερία. Ήταν μια γενιά που μεγάλωσε μαζί με την ατομική βόμβα, την αμερικανική ηγεμονία στον κόσμο και τον ψυχρό πόλεμο· μια γενιά φαινομενικά εξεγερμένη, αλλά στην πραγματικότητα «πατριωτική» όπως πατριωτικός ήταν κι ο Γουόλτ Γουίτμαν τον περασμένο αιώνα. Aλλά όπως κάθε «γενιά» (μια λέξη που δεν σημαίνει σχεδόν τίποτα), οι μπίτνικς ήταν βαθιά διασπασμένοι: τόσο από αισθητική άποψη -άλλοι εμπνεύστηκαν από τον Λόρκα κι άλλοι από τον Mπλέικ· άλλοι από τον Mπρεχτ κι άλλοι από την ’πω Aνατολή- όσο κι από πολιτική. Mερικοί αναζήτησαν λύσεις στις ανατολικές φιλοσοφίες και θρησκείες -στον βουδισμό, στο Zεν-, άλλοι στον πρώιμο χριστιανισμό: υπήρχε μια ολόκληρη λιτανεία επιδράσεων, ένα παραλήρημα που ταίριαζε στον τρόπο της ζωής τους, τον συχνά χωρίς μέτρο.
Oι μπίτνικς έγιναν ο γεωμετρικός τόπος όπου συναντήθηκαν για μια στιγμή μέσα στον χρόνο μια σειρά λογοτεχνικές και γενικότερα πολιτισμικές επιρροές, από τον ρομαντισμό μέχρι τον ντανταϊσμό και τον υπαρξισμό του Σαρτρ. Kι από την αμφεταμινική ταχύτητα μέχρι την ψυχεδελική βραδύτητα. Όλα μαζί και ταυτοχρόνως, συνήθως ατάκτως ερριμμένα και αναφοιμοίωτα: γι' αυτό, οι μπίτνικς αποτελούν το έμβλημα της Aμερικής, την κάπως εφήμερη αμερικανική σκέψη που βρίθει από δάνεια και χαρακτηρίζεται από έναν έξαλλο εκλεκτικισμό. O Γκρέγκορι Kόρσο ήταν προϊόν όλων αυτών των επιρροών: η ποίησή του είχε μια θεσπέσια θεατρικότητα, υψωνόταν σαν ένα τεράστιο θαυμαστικό («Ωκεανοί γλιστρούν σ' άλλους ωκεανούς/ Mη φοβάσαι! Tίποτα δεν μπορεί να τσακίσει την καρδιά σου!»), αν και όχι τόσο φανταχτερό όσο εκείνο του Γκίνσμπεργκ. Eίχε γίνει δημοφιλής ήδη απ' την πρώτη ποιητική του συλλογή, αλλά το «Gasoline», που εκδόθηκε το '58, έδωσε στην αμερικανική λογοτεχνία μερικούς απ' τους πιο ταξιδιάρικους στίχους της. Kαι μερικούς απ' τους πιο σπαρακτικούς, που, είναι αλήθεια, θυμίζουν τους ’γγλους ρομαντικούς: «Ω, πικρή καταραμένη νύχτα! Πάλι εσύ! / Mπορώ τώρα να τραβήξω τα ανύπαρκτα δόντια μου, να γδυθώ τον σοβαρό εαυτό μου, / να κοιμήσω αυτό το μελαγχολικό κεφάλι.
Δεν είμαι τίποτα χωρίς τη γελαστή αρρώστια». Πολλοί απ' αυτούς δεν στάθηκαν ανθεκτικοί στον χρόνο: όμως η σκληρότητα, η αφοριστική ορμητικότητα και η δύναμη των εικόνων -μελαγχολικά αστικά τοπία, σουρεαλιστικά οράματα, μοναχικές σιλουέτες στους ανοιχτούς δρόμους- θυμίζουν τον Pεμπό, μερικές φορές τον Aπολινέρ· κάτι καταραμένο και μαζί χαριτωμένο, παιδιάστικο και αβέβαιο.
O χρόνος υπήρξε ανελέητος για τους μπίτνικς. Aν το «Στον δρόμο» έγινε αναπόσπαστο κομμάτι της αμερικανικής λογοτεχνίας, η ποίηση των μπίτνικς κατάντησε μέρος μιας εύκολης τσιτατολογίας: οι ποιητές αποδείχτηκαν πιο ανθεκτικοί από τα ποιήματά τους· και οι λογοτεχνικοί ήρωες πιο ανθεκτικοί από τους ποιητές. Tο κοινό ίσως θυμάται περισσότερο τον Γιούρι Γκρεγκόροβιτς -ήρωα του Kέρουακ στους «Yποχθόνιους»- παρά τον Kόρσο που αποτέλεσε το πρότυπο για τον Γκρεγκόροβιτς. Στους «Yποχθόνιους», ο Kέρουακ βάζει τον χαρισματικό Γκρεγκόροβιτς να του κλέβει την ερωμένη: υποτίθεται πως ο Kόρσο είχε μεγάλη κοινωνική επιτυχία, πως ακόμα και ο τρόπος που απάγγελλε τα ποιήματά του, η νεοϋρκέζικη προφορά του και το αναρχικό του στυλ έκαναν θραύση στα μέσα της δεκαετίας του '50. Δεν έμοιαζε τόσο μαχητικός όσο ο Γκίνσμπεργκ (κανείς δεν έφτανε τον Γκίνσμπεργκ σε μαχητικότητα) κι ο αγαπημένος του ποιητής ήταν ο Σέλεϊ, ο τρελός Σέλεϊ που ήταν (και είναι ακόμα) το ακραίο δείγμα του ρομαντισμού (τον μνημονεύει και σ' ένα ορμητικά νεανικό ποίημα με τίτλο «Eίμαι 25 ετών»). O Kόρσο δεν είχε τη θεαματική εξυπνάδα του Γκίνσμπεργκ, αλλά δεν του έλειπε η φαντασία και η παιχνιδιάρικη διάθεση -έγραψε ένα ερωτικό ποίημα σε σχήμα μανιταριού αφιερωμένο στην ατομική βόμβα- καθώς και μια καυστική ειρωνεία από την οποία δεν παραιτήθηκε ποτέ.
Oι μπίτνικς γενικά και ο Kόρσο ειδικά δείχνουν τόσο τη φτώχεια της αμερικανικής λογοτεχνίας, όσο και το μεγαλείο της: πρόκειται για ποιητές σαφώς «κατώτερους» σε τεχνική και σε βάθος από τους μεγάλους Eυρωπαίους (ακόμα και τους «μικρούς» Eυρωπαίους, όπως είναι για παράδειγμα ο Pομπέρ Nτεσνός ή ο Pενέ Σαρ), ενώ δεν μπορούν να συγκριθούν με τον T. Σ. Έλιοτ και τον Έζρα Πάουντ. Ωστόσο, υπάρχει κάτι στους μπιτ που μοιάζει ακαταμάχητο: η καχυποψία μπροστά στην ιεραρχία, την εξουσία, τα χρηστά ήθη· και στην καλύτερη περίπτωση -στον Γκίνσμπεργκ, στον Γκάρι Σνάιντερ- υπάρχει μια αφοπλιστική ειλικρίνεια και μια πίστη σε μια επανάσταση αναίμακτη, σε μια ανατροπή προκλητική και γεμάτη αυθάδεια. O θάνατος του Kόρσο ήταν ήσυχος. Aρρώστησε και πέθανε. Tο ίδιο συνέβη με τον Γκίνσμπεργκ· κι όσο για τον Kέρουακ, κάηκε από τον ίδιο του τον εαυτό κι επειδή του έλειπε η σοφία.
Πέθανε νέος, αλλά γερασμένος. O Nιλ Kάσαντι σκοτώθηκε όπως όλοι περίμεναν· ο Γουίλιαμ Mπάροουζ έγινε γέρος-θαύμα προτού αποδημήσει τη στιγμή που όλοι είχαν αρχίσει να πιστεύουν ότι είχε γίνει αθάνατος· κι ο Λόρενς Φερλινγκέτι ζει ακόμα στο Nορθ Mπιτς: ένας πολύ πολύ γέρος χίπι που περνάει μια δυο φορές την εβδομάδα απ' το βιβλιοπωλείο του, το City Lights. Oι μπίτνικς δεν υπάρχουν πια: αυτό που υπάρχει είναι μερικοί στίχοι, που μοιάζουν συνέχεια της παράδοσης του Γουόλτ Γουίτμαν (μερικές φορές, όταν κανείς δεν ξέρει τα πράγματα σε βάθος, μπορεί να μπερδέψει ποιήματα του Γουίτμαν με στίχους του Kέρουακ και ποιήματα του Γουίλιαμ Kάρλος Γουίλιαμς με στίχους του Γκίνσμπεργκ), συνέχεια της αμερικανικής περιπέτειας που είναι περισσότερο γεωγραφική παρά λογοτεχνική. «Oι Aμερικανοί», έγραφε ο Γουίτμαν, «θα 'πρεπε να γνωρίζουν το σύμπαν σαν ένα δρόμο, σαν πολλούς δρόμους, σαν δρόμους για τις περιπλανώμενες ψυχές τους»: σ' αυτό ανταποκρίνονταν οι μπίτνικς, ο Kόρσο όταν διέσχιζε το Mεξικό, ο Kέρουακ κι ο Kάσαντι όταν πηγαινοέρχονταν απ' την Aνατολική στη Δυτική ακτή «και πάλι πίσω».
Eίχαν ένα είδος οράματος -το πάθος της γραφής, το ακούραστο κυνηγητό της ευδαιμονίας, τη δίψα για περιπέτεια, για εξωτικές εμπειρίες- αλλά τους έλειπε η μέθοδος, συχνά, τους έλειπε ο χαρακτήρας, η σύνεση: εκτός ίσως από τον Γκάρι Σνάιντερ και τον Kεν Pέξροθ, ήταν μια παρέα από κωλόπαιδα· ο Kάσαντι ήταν συμφεροντολόγος σε βαθμό κακουργήματος, κι ο Kέρουακ ενοχικός ομοφυλόφιλος και κατά βάθος κομφορμιστής. Kι όσο για τον Γουίλιαμ Mπάροουζ, είχε πολιτική σύγχυση που καταντούσε γραφικότητα: η μανία του με τα όπλα μού φαινόταν πάντα κάτι περισσότερο και πιο επικίνδυνο από ένα χόμπι. Kαι οι θεωρίες του περί «ελέγχου» ήταν επιτηδευμένες με τον κάπως αφελή και κραυγαλέο αμερικανικό τρόπο.
O Kόρσο ήταν ο Όλιβερ Tουίστ των μπίτνικς. Tα παιδικά του χρόνια -θετοί γονείς, αναμορφωτήρια και «juvenile delinquency»- ασκούσαν γοητεία στους κύκλους των μποέμ. Oι σουρεαλιστικοί του στίχοι ασκούσαν ακόμα μεγαλύτερη γοητεία σε όσους είχαν βαρεθεί τον ρεαλισμό της δεκαετίας του '30 και του '40: «φαντάσου τη φράουλα χωμένη στο βουνό», «φαλακρέ φονιά! Φαλακρέ φονιά! / είπε, τρελός από θυμό: Σόμπες! Γκάζι! Kαναπές!» -αν δεν υπήρχε ο Γκρέγκορι Kόρσο (και ο Pόμπερτ Kρίλι) δεν θα υπήρχε ο Tζιμ Mόρισον. Eκτός από Όλιβερ Tουίστ, ο Kόρσο ήταν ο πρώτος ροκ ποιητής -χωρίς να το ξέρει: το ποίημά του «Oι ποιητές κάνουν οτοστόπ στον αυτοκινητόδρομο» μοιάζει -εκτός από κληροδότημα του Γουίτμαν- με τραγούδι της Tζόαν Mπαέζ. Kι εδώ έγκειται το μεγαλείο των μπίτνικς: αποτελούν τον αναπόφευκτο κρίκο της αλυσίδας, τη γέφυρα ανάμεσα στα πρώτα μεταπολεμικά χρόνια και στη δεκαετία του '60. Eξυμνώντας τη ζωή, τη ζωή «σαν γιορτή» και σαν ζητωκραυγή («H ζωή», γράφει ο Kόρσο, «η ζωή τούς έχωσε ένα κουτάλι στο στόμα»), οι μπίτνικς εξαντλήθηκαν· αρρώστησαν και πέθαναν· αλλά προτού γίνει αυτό, γνώρισαν την Aμερική και τον κόσμο περισσότερο απ' όσο γνώρισαν τον εαυτό τους.



Gregory Corso discusses Jack Kerouac




Gregory Corso
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gregory Nunzio Corso (March 26, 1930 – January 17, 2001) was an American poet, youngest of the inner circle of Beat Generation writers (with Jack KerouacAllen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs).[1] He was beloved by the other "Beats".
“… a tough young kid from the Lower East Side who rose like an angel over the roof tops and sang Italian song as sweet as Caruso and Sinatra, but in words… Amazing an beautiful, Gregory Corso, the one and only Gregory, the Herald.” ~Jack Kerouac
"Corso's a poet's Poet, a poet much superior to me. Pure velvet... whose wild fame's extended for decades around the world from France to China, World Poet". ~Allen Ginsberg
"Gregory's voice echoes through a precarious future.... His vitality and resilience always shine through, with a light this is more than human: the immortal light of his Muse... Gregory is indeed one of the Daddies". ~William S. Burroughs

Poetry

Corso's first volume of poetry The Vestal Lady on Brattle was published in 1955 (with the assistance of students at Harvard, where he had been auditing classes). Corso was the second of the Beats to be published (after only Kerouac's The Town and the City), despite being the youngest. His poems were first published in the Harvard Advocate. In 1958, Corso had an expanded collection of poems published as number 8 in theCity Lights Pocket Poets Series: Gasoline & The Vestal Lady on Brattle. Of his many notable poems are: "Bomb" (a "concrete poem" formatted in typed paper slips of verse, arranged in the shape of a mushroom cloud), "Elegiac Feelings American" of the recently deceased Jack Kerouac, and "Marriage", a humorous meditation on the institution, perhaps his signature poem. And later in life, "The Whole Mess Almost".
"Marriage" excerpt:
Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky—
When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap—
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?
Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son—
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?
O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just wait to get at the drinks and food—[2]

In "Marriage" Corso tackles the possibilities of marriage. It was among his "title poems", with "Power", "Army" and others that explore a concept. "Should I get married?" (1), the speaker begins. Could marriage bring about the results that the speaker is looking for? Coming "home to her" (54) and sitting "by the fireplace and she in the kitchen/aproned young and lovely wanting my baby/ and so happy about me she burns the roast beef" (55-57). Idealizing marriage and fatherhood initially, Corso's speaker embraces reality in the second half of the poem admitting, "No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father" (84). Recognizing that the act of marriage is in itself a form of imprisonment, "No, can’t imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream" (103), Corso's speaker acknowledges in the end that the possibility of marriage is not promising for him. Bruce Cook from the book The Beat Generation[3] illuminates Corso's skill at juxtaposing humor and serious critical commentary, "Yet as funny and entertaining as all this certainly is, it is not merely that, for in its zany way ‘Marriage’ offers serious criticism of what is phony about a sacred American institution."
Corso's sometimes surreal word mash ups— "forked clarinets", "Flash Gordon soap", "werewolf bathtubs" —caught the attention of many.
It was "Bomb" and "Marriage" that caught the eye of a young Bob Dylan, still in Minnesota. “The Gregory Corso poem “Bomb” was more to the point and touched the spirit of the times better— a wasted world and totally mechanized— a lot of hustle and bustle— a lot of shelves to clean, boxes to stack. I wasn’t going to pin my hopes on that.” ~Bob Dylan, Chronicles
In contrast to Corso's use of marriage as a synecdoche for a Beat view of women, postmodern feminist poet Hedwig Gorski chronicles a night with Corso in her poem "Could not get Gregory Corso out of my Car" (1985, Austin, Texas) showing the womanizing typical for heterosexual Beat behavior.[4] Gorski criticizes the Beat movement for tokenism towards women writers and their work, with very few exceptions, includingAnne Waldman, and post-beats like Diane DiPrima and herself. Male domination and womanizing along with tokenism by its major homosexual members characterize the Beat Literary Movement. Beats scoffed at the Feminist Movement which offered liberalizing social and professional views of women and their works as did the Beat Movement for men, especially homosexuals.[5] Corso however always defended women's role in the Beat Generation, often citing his lover Hope Savage as a primary influence on him and Allen Ginsberg.
Ted Morgan described Corso's place in the beat literary world: "If Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs were the Three Musketeers of the movement, Corso was their D'Artagnan, a sort of junior partner, accepted and appreciated, but with less than complete parity. He had not been in at the start, which was the alliance of the Columbia intellectuals with the Times Square hipsters. He was a recent adherent, although his credentials were impressive enough to gain him unrestricted admittance ..."[6] It has taken 50 years and the death of the other Beats, for Corso to be fully appreciated as a poet of equal stature and significance.

Early life

Born Nunzio Corso at St. Vincent's hospital, (later called the Poets' hospital after Dylan Thomas died there), Corso later selected the name "Gregory" as a confirmation name.[citation needed] Within Little Italy and its community he was "Nunzio", while he dealt with others as "Gregory". He often would use "Nunzio" as a short for "Annunziato", the announcing angel Gabriel, hence a poet. Corso identified with not only Gabriel but also the Greco Roman God Hermes, the divine messenger.
Corso's mother, Michelina Corso (born Colonna) was born in MiglianicoAbruzzoItaly, and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine, with her mother and four other sisters. At 16, she married Sam Corso, a first generation Italian American, also teenage, and gave birth to Nunzio Corso the same year. They lived at the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, the heart of Greenwich Village and upper Little Italy.

Childhood

Sometime in his first year, Corso's mother mysteriously abandoned him, leaving him at the New York Foundling Home, a branch of the Catholic Church Charities. Corso's father, Sam "Fortunato" Corso, a gruff garment center worker, found the infant and promptly put him in a foster home. Michelina came to New York but was threatened for her life by Sam. One of Michelina's sisters was married to a New Jersey mobster who offered to give Michelina her "vengeance," that is to kill Sam. Michelina declined and returned to Trenton without her child. Sam consistently told Corso that his mother had returned to Italy and deserted the family. He was also told that she was a prostitute and was "disgraziata" (disgraced) and forced into Italian exile. Sam told the young boy several times, "I should have flushed you down the toilet." It was 67 years until Corso learned the truth of his mother's disappearance.
Corso spent the next 11 years in foster care in at least five different homes. His father rarely visited him. When he did, Corso was often abused: "I'd spill jello and the foster home people would beat me. Then my father would visit and he'd beat me again— a double whammy." As a foster child, Corso was among thousands that the Church aided during the Depression, with the intention of reconstituting families as the economy picked up. Corso went to Catholic parochial schools, was an altar boy and a gifted student. His father, in order to avoid the military draft, brought Gregory home in 1941. Nevertheless, Sam Corso was drafted [7] and shipped overseas.
Corso, then alone, became a homeless child on the streets of Little Italy. For warmth he slept in subways in the winter, and then slept on rooftops during the summer. He continued to attend Catholic school, not telling authorities he was living on the streets. With "permission", he stole breakfast bread from Vesuvio Bakery, on Leroy Street in Little Italy. Street food stall merchants would give him food in exchange for running errands.

Adolescence

At age 13, Corso was asked to deliver a toaster to a neighbor. While he was running the errand, a passerby offered money for the toaster, and Corso sold it. He used the money to buy a tie and white shirt, and dressed up to see the film "The Song of Bernadette", about the mystical appearance of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes. On returning from the movie, the police apprehended him. Corso claimed he was seeking a miracle, namely, to find his mother. Corso had a life long affection for saints and holy men: "They were my only heroes." Nonetheless, he was arrested for petty larceny and incarcerated in The Tombs, New York's infamous jail. Corso, even though only thirteen years old, was celled next to an adult criminally insane murderer who had stabbed his wife repeatedly with a screwdriver. The exposure left Corso traumatized. Neither Corso's stepmother nor his paternal grandmother would post his $50 bond. With his own mother missing and unable to make bail, he remained in the Tombs.
Later, in 1944 during a New York blizzard, a fourteen-year-old freezing Corso broke into his tutor's office for warmth, and fell asleep on a desk. He slept through the blizzard and was arrested for breaking and entering and booked into the Tombs a second time, with adults. Terrified of other inmates, he was sent to the psychiatric ward of Bellevue Hospital Center and later released.
At age seventeen, on the eve of his eighteenth birthday, Corso broke into a tailor shop and stole an over-sized suit to dress for a date. Police records indicate he was arrested two blocks from the shop. He spent the night in the Tombs and was arraigned the next morning as an 18-year-old with prior offenses. No longer a "youthful offender", he was given a two to three years sentence to Clinton State Prison, in Dannemora, New York, on the Canadian border. It was New York State's toughest prison, the site of the state's electric chair. Corso always has expressed a curious gratitude for Clinton making him a poet.
His second book of poems Gasoline, is dedicated to "the angels of Clinton Prison who, in my seventeenth year, handed me, from all the cells surrounding me, books of illumination."[8]
Interestingly, Clinton later became known as the "poets prison", as rap poets Tupak ShakurFifty CentOl’ Dirty Bastard, and others served time there.

Corso at Clinton Correctional

While being transported to Clinton, Corso, terrified of prison and the prospect of rape, concocted a story of why he was sent there. He told hardened Clinton inmates he and two friends had devised the wild plan of taking over New York City by means of walkie-talkies, projecting a series of improbable and complex robberies. Communicating by walkie-talkie, each of the three boys took up an assigned position— one inside the store to be robbed, one outside on the street to watch for the police and a third, Corso, the master-planner, in a small room nearby dictating the orders. According to Corso, he was in the small room giving the orders when the police came. In light of Corso's youth, his imaginative yarn earned him bemused attention at Clinton.
The Mafia wing of Clinton was under the direction of inmate Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Mafia Capo di Tutti Capos, the character on which Mario Puzo and Francis Coppola based "The Godfather". Richard Biello, a Capo, asked Corso who he was connected with, that is, what New York crime family did he come from, talking such big crimes as walkie talkie robberies... "I'm independent!", Corso shot back, hoping to keep his distance from the Mob inmates. A week later, in the prison showers, Corso was grabbed by a handful of inmates, and the 18-year-old was about to be raped. Biello happened in and commented, "Corso! You don't look so independent right now." Biello waved off the would-be rapists, afraid of Mafia reprisals.
Thus Corso fell under the protection of powerful Mafioso inmates, and became something of a mascot because he was the youngest inmate in the prison and he was entertaining. Corso would cook the steaks and veal brought from the outside by Mafia underlings in the "courts"— 55 gallon barrel barbecues and picnic tables— assigned to the influential prisoners. Clinton also had a ski run right in the middle of "the yards" and Corso learned to downhill ski and taught the Mafiosi. He entertained his mobster elders as a court jester, quick with ripostes and jokes. Corso would often cite the three propositions given him by a Mafia capo: "1) Don't serve time, let time serve you. 2) Don't take your shoes off because with a 2 -3 you're walking right out of here. 3) When you're in the yard talking to three guys, see four. See yourself. Dig yourself."
Interestingly, Corso was jailed in the very cell just months before vacated by Charles "Lucky" Luciano. While imprisoned, Luciano had donated an extensive library to the prison[citation needed]. The cell was also equipped with a phone and self controlled lighting as Luciano was, from prison, cooperating with the U.S. Government's wartime effort, providing Mafia aid in policing the New York waterfront, and later helping in Naples, Italy through his control of the Camorra. In this special cell, Corso read after lights-out thanks to a light specially positioned for Luciano to work late. Corso was encouraged to read and study by his Cosa Nostra mentors, who recognized his genius.
There, Corso began writing poetry. He studied the Greek and Roman classics, and consumed encyclopedias and dictionaries. He credited the "Story of Civilization", Will and Ariel Durant's ground-breaking compendium of history and philosophy for his general education and philosophical sophistication.

Release and return to New York City

In 1951, twenty-one-year-old Gregory Corso worked in the garment center by day, and at night was a mascot yet again, this time at one of Greenwich Village's first Lesbian bars, the Pony Stable Inn. The women gave Corso a table at which he wrote poetry. One night a Columbia College student, Allen Ginsberg, happened into the Pony Stable and saw Corso... "he was good looking, and wondered if he was gay, or what." Corso, who was definitely not gay, was not uncomfortable with same sex come-ons after his time in prison, and thought he could score a beer off Ginsberg. He showed Ginsberg some of the poems he was writing, and some from prison, and Ginsberg immediately recognized Corso as "spiritually gifted". One poem described a woman who sunbathed in a window bay across the street from Corso's room on 12th Street. Astonishingly, the woman happened to be Ginsberg's erstwhile girl friend, with whom he lived in one of his rare forays into heterosexuality. Ginsberg invited Corso back to their apartment and asked the woman if she would satisfy Corso's sexual curiosity. She agreed, but Corso, still a virgin, got too nervous as she disrobed and he ran from the apartment, struggling with his pants. Ginsberg and Corso became fast friends. All his life, Ginsberg had a sexual attraction to Corso, which remained unrequited.
Corso joined the Beat circle and was adopted by its co-leaders, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, who saw in the young street-wise writer a potential for expressing the poetic insights of a generation wholly separate from those preceding it. At this time he developed a crude and fragmented mastery of Shelley, Marlowe, and Chatterton. Shelley's "A Defence of Poetry" (1840), with its emphasis on the ability of genuine poetic impulse to stimulate "unapprehended combinations of thought" that led to the "moral improvement of man", prompted Corso to develop a theory of poetry roughly consistent with that of the developing principles of the Beat poets. For Corso, poetry became a vehicle for change, a way to redirect the course of society by stimulating individual will.[9] He referred to Shelley often as a "Revolutionary of Spirit", which he considered Ginsberg and himself to be.

Cambridge

In 1954, Corso moved to Cambridge, where several important poets, including Edward Marshall and John Wieners, were experimenting with the poetics of voice. The center for Corso's life there was not "the School of Boston", as these poets were called, but Harvard University's Widner Library, where he spent his days reading the great works of poetry and also auditing classes in the Greek and Roman Classics. Corso's appreciation of the classics had come from the Durants' books which he had read in prison. At Harvard he considered becoming a classics scholar. Corso, penniless, lived on a dorm room floor in Elliott house, welcomed by students Peter Sourian, John Sedgwick (brother of Edie), and Paul Grand. He would dress up for dinner and not be noticed. Members of the elite Porcellian Club reported Corso to the Harvard administration as an interloper. Dean Archibald MacLeish met with Corso intending to expel him, but Corso showed him his poems and MacLeish relented and allowed Corso to be a non-matriculating student— a poet in residence. Corso's first published poems appeared in the Harvard Advocate in 1954, and his play In This Hung-up Age—concerning a group of Americans who, after their bus breaks down midway across the continent, are trampled by buffalo— was performed by the esteemed Poets' Theater the following year, along with T.S. Eliot's "Murder in the Cathedral".
Harvard and Radcliffe students, notably Grand, Sourian and Sedgewick, underwrote the printing expenses of Corso's first book, The Vestal Lady on Brattle, and Other Poems. The poems featured in the volume are usually considered apprentice works heavily indebted to Corso's reading. They are, however, unique in their innovative use of jazz rhythms— most notably in "Requiem for 'Bird' Parker, Musician", which many call the strongest poem in the book— cadences of spoken English, and hipster jargon. Corso once explained his use of rhythm and meter in an interview with Gavin Selerie for Riverside Interviews: "My music is built in— it's already natural. I don't play with the meter." In other words, Corso believes the meter must arise naturally from the poet's voice; it is never consciously chosen.
In a review of The Vestal Lady on Brattle for Poetry, Reuel Denney asked whether "a small group jargon" such as bop language would "sound interesting" to those who were not part of that culture. Corso, he concluded, "cannot balance the richness of the bebop group jargon... with the clarity he needs to make his work meaningful to a wider-than-clique audience." Ironically, within a few years, that "small group jargon", the Beat lingo, became a national idiom: featuring words such as "man", "cool", "dig", "chick", "hung up", etc.
Despite Corso's reliance on traditional forms and archaic diction, he remained a street-wise poet, described by Bruce Cook in The Beat Generation as "an urchin Shelley". Gaiser suggested that Corso adopted "the mask of the sophisticated child whose every display of mad spontaneity and bizarre perception is consciously and effectively designed"— as if he is in some way deceiving his audience. But the poems at their best are controlled by an authentic, distinctive, and enormously effective voice that can range from sentimental affection and pathos to exuberance and dadaist irreverence toward almost anything except poetry itself.[10]

San Francisco, Howl and the Beat Phenomenon

Corso and Ginsberg decided to head to San Francisco, separately. Corso wound up temporarily in Los Angeles and worked at the L.A. Examiner news morgue. Ginsberg was delayed in Denver. They were drawn by reports of an iconoclast circle of poets, including Gary SnyderLawrence FerlinghettiMichael McClurePhilip Whalen and Lew Welch. An older literary mentor, the socialist writer Kenneth Rexroth, lent his apartment as a Friday night literary salon (Ginsberg's mentor William Carlos Williams, an old friend of Rexroth's, had given him an introductory letter).
Wally Hedrick [13] wanted to organize the famous Six Gallery reading, and Ginsberg wanted Rexroth to serve as master of ceremonies, in a sense to bridge generations. Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder read on October 7, 1955 before 100 people (including Kerouac, up from Mexico City). Lamantia read poems of his late friend John Hoffman. At his first public reading Ginsberg performed the just finished first part of "Howl". Gregory Corso arrived late the next day, missing the historical reading, at which he had been scheduled to read.
The Six Gallery was a success and the evening led to many more readings by the now locally famous Six Gallery poets. It was also a marker of the beginning of the West Coast Beat movement, since the 1956 publication of "Howl" (City Lights Pocket Poets, no. 4) and its obscenity trial in 1957 brought it to nationwide attention.
Ginsberg and Corso hitchhiked from San Francisco, visiting Henry Miller in Big Sur, and stopped off in Los Angeles. As guests of Anaïs Nin and writer Lawrence Lipton, Corso and Ginsberg gave a reading to a gathering of LA literati. Ginsberg took the audience off-guard, by proclaiming himself and Corso as poets of absolute honesty, and they both proceeded to strip bare naked of clothes, shocking even the most avant guard of the audience.
Corso and Ginsberg then hitchhiked to Mexico City to visit Kerouac who was holed up in a room above a whorehouse, writing a novel, "Tristessa". After a three-week stay in Mexico City, Ginsberg left, and Corso waited for a plane ticket. His lover, Hope Savage, convinced her father, mayor of Charleston, S.C., to send Corso a plane ticket to Washington, D.C. Corso had been invited by Library of Congress poet (precursor to U.S. Poet Laureate) Randall Jarrell and his wife Mary, to live with them, and become Jarrell's poetic protege. Jarrell, unimpressed with the other Beats, found Corso's work to be original and believed he held great promise. Corso stayed with the Jarrells' for two months, enjoyed the first taste of family life ever. However Kerouac showed up and crashed at the Jarrells', often drunk and loud, and tempted Corso to carousing. Corso was disinvited by the Jarrells and returned to New York.

To Paris and the 'Beat Hotel'

In 1957, Allen Ginsberg voyaged with Peter Orlovsky to visit Williams S. Burroughs in Morocco. They were joined by Kerouac, who was researching the French origins of his family. Corso, already in Europe, joined them in Tangiers and as a group, they made an ill fated attempt to take Burroughs' fragmented writings and organize them into a text (which later would become "Naked Lunch"). Burroughs was strung out on heroin and became jealous of Ginsberg's unrequited attraction for Corso, who left Tangiers for Paris. In Paris, Corso introduced Ginsberg and Orlovsky to a Left Bank lodging house above a bar at 9 rue Gît-le-Coeur, that he named the Beat Hotel. They were soon joined by William Burroughs and others. It was a haven for young expatriate painters, writers and musicians. There, Ginsberg began his epic poem Kaddish, Corso composed his poems Bomb and Marriage, and Burroughs (with Brion Gysin's help) put together Naked Lunch from previous writings. This period was documented by the photographer Harold Chapman, who moved in at about the same time, and took pictures of the residents of the hotel until it closed in 1963.[11]
Corso's Paris sojurn resulted in his third volume of Poetry, :"The Happy Birthday of Death" (1960), "Minutes to Go (1960, visual poetry deemed "cut ups") with William S. Burroughs, Sinclair Beiles, and Brion Gysin, "The American Express " (1961, an Olympia Press novel), and Long Live Man (1962, poetry). Corso fell out with his publisher of Gasoline, Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Bookstore, who objected to "Bomb", a position Ferlinghetti later rued and for which he apologized. Corso's work found a strong reception at New Directions Publishing, founded by James Laughlin who heard of Corso through Harvard connections. New Directions was considered the premier publisher of poetry with Ezra PoundDylan ThomasMarianne MooreWallace StevensThomas MertonDenise LevertovJames Agee, and ironically, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
While in Europe Corso searched for his lover, Hope Savage, who had disappeared from New York, saying she was headed to Paris. He visited Rome and Greece, sold encyclopedias in Germany, hung out with jazz trumpeter Chet Baker in Amsterdam, and with Ginsberg set the staid Oxford Union in turmoil with his reading of "Bomb", which Oxford students mistakenly believed was pro-nuclear war (as had Ferlinghetti), while they and other campuses were engaged in "ban the bomb" demonstrations. A student threw a shoe at Corso, and both he and Ginsberg left before Ginsberg could read "Howl".
Corso returned to New York in 1958, amazed that he and his compatriots had become famous, or notorious, emerging literary figures.

Return to New York - The "Beatniks"

In late 1958, Corso reunited with Ginsberg and Orlovsky. They were astonished that before they left for Europe they had sparked a social movement, which San Francisco columnist Herb Caen called, "Beat-nik", combining "beat" with the Russian "Sputnik", as if to suggest that the Beat writers were both "out there" and vaguely Communist.
San Francisco's obscenity trial of Lawrence Ferlinghetti for publishing Ginsberg's "Howl" had ended in an acquittal and the national notoriety made "The Beats" famous, adored and ridiculed.
Upon their return, Ginsberg, Corso, Kerouac and Burroughs were published in the venerable "Chicago Review" but before the volume was sold, University of Chicago President Robert Hutchins deemed it pornographic and had all copies confiscated. The Chicago editors promptly resigned and started an alternative literary magazine, "The Big Table". Ginsberg and Corso took a bus from New York for the "Big Table" launch, which again propelled them into the national spotlight. Studs Terkel's interview of the two was a madcap romp which set off a wave of publicity. Controversy followed them and they relished making the most of their outlaw and pariah image. Time and Life Magazine had a particular dislike of the two, hurling invective and insult that Corso and Ginsberg hoped they could bootstrap into yet more publicity. The Beat Generation (so named by Kerouac) was galvanized and young people began dressing with berets, toreador pants, and beards and carrying bongos. Corso would quip that he never grew a beard, didn't own a beret, and couldn't fathom bongos.
Corso and Ginsberg traveled widely to college campuses, reading together. Ginsberg's "Howl" provided the serious fare and Corso's "Bomb" and "Marriage" provided the humor and bonhomie. New York's Beat scene erupted and spilled over to the burgeoning folk music craze in the Village, Corso's and Ginsberg's home ground. An early participant was a newly arrived Bob Dylan: “I came out of the wilderness and just fell in with the Beat scene, the Bohemian, the Be Bop crowd. It was all pretty connected”. “It was Jack Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, Ferlinghetti... I got in at the tail end of that and it was magic." ~Bob Dylan in America.
During the early 1960s Corso married Sally November, an English teacher who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Shaker High School, and graduated from the University of Michigan. At first, Corso mimicked "Marriage" and moved to Cleveland to work in Sally's father's florist shop. Then the couple lived in Manhattan and Sally was known to Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Larry Rivers and others in the beat circle at that time. The marriage, while a failure, did create a child, Miranda Corso. Corso did maintain contact with Sally and his daughter sporadically during his lifetime. Sally, who subsequently remarried, resides on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and has kept contact with one of the iconic females associated with the Beat movement, Hettie Jones.
Corso married two other times and had a son Nile, and daughter Cybelle and later a son Max. Throughout his life, Corso remained in touch with his children, and was fiercely protective of them, forbidding any access to journalists, writers and later his film biographer, Gustave Reininger.
As the Beats were supplanted in the 1960s by the Hippies and other youth movements, Corso experienced his own wilderness years. He struggled with alcohol and drugs. He later would comment that his addictions masked the pain of having been abandoned and emotionally deprived and abused. Poetry was his purest means of transcending his traumas but substance abuse threatened his poetic output. He lived in Rome for many years, and later married in Paris and taught in Greece, all the while traveling widely. He strangely remained close to the Catholic Church as critic and a loose identification as a lapsed Catholic. His collection, "Dear Fathers" was several letters commenting on needed reforms in the Vatican.
In 1969, Corso published a volume "Elegiac Feelings American", whose lead poem dedicated to the recently deceased Jack Kerouac is regarded by some critics as Corso's best poem. In 1981 he published poems mostly written while residing in Europe, titled "Herald of the Autochthonic Spirit".

Later years

In later years, Corso disliked public appearances and became irritated with his own "Beat" celebrity. He never allowed a biographer to work in any "authorized" fashion, and only posthumously was a volume of letters published under the specious artifice of "An Accidental Autobiography". He did however agree to allow filmmaker Gustave Reininger to make a cinema verite documentary, Corso: The Last Beat, about him.
After Allen Ginsberg's death, Corso was depressed and despondent. Gustave Reininger convinced him to go "on the road" to Europe and retrace the early days of "the Beats" in Paris, Italy and Greece. While in Venice, Corso expressed on film his lifelong concerns about not having a mother, and living such an uprooted childhood. Corso became curious about where in Italy his mother, Michelina Colonna, might be buried. His father's family had always told him that his mother had returned to Italy, a disgraced woman, a whore. Filmmaker Gustave Reininger quietly launched a search for Corso's mother's Italian burial place. In an astonishing turn of events, Reininger found Corso's mother Michelina not dead, but alive; and not in Italy, but in Trenton, New Jersey. Corso was reunited with his mother on film. He discovered that she at age 17 had been almost fatally brutalized (all her front teeth punched out) and was sexually abused by her teenage husband, his father. On film, Michelina explained that at the height of the Depression, with no trade or job, she had no choice but to give her son to the care of Catholic Charities. After she had established a new life working in a restaurant in New Jersey, she had attempted to find him, to no avail. The father, Sam Corso, had blocked even Catholic Charities from disclosing the boy's whereabouts. Living modestly, she lacked the means to hire a lawyer to find her son. She worked as a waitress in a sandwich shop in the New Jersey State Office building in Trenton. She eventually married the cook, Paul Davita, and started a new family. Her child Gregory remained a secret between Michelina and her mother and sisters, until Reininger found them.
Corso and his mother quickly developed a relationship which lasted until his death, which preceded hers. They both spent hours on the phone and the initial forgiveness displayed in the film became a living reality. Corso and Michelina loved to gamble and on several occasions took vacations to Atlantic City for black jack at the casinos. Corso always lost while Michelina fared better and would stake him with her winnings.

In Corso: The Last Beat, Corso claimed that he was healed in many ways by meeting his mother and saw his life coming full circle. He began to work productively on a new, long delayed volume of poetry, "The Golden Egg". Shortly thereafter, Corso discovered he had irreversible prostate cancer. He died of the disease in Minnesota on January 17, 2001. In the film, "Corso: The Last Beat" a dramatic scene was shot in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, at the grave of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Off camera, Corso showed Reininger a small patch of open ground and said that this is where he wished to be buried. He had always sought good company and felt he couldn't top Shelley and Keats. Reininger was discouraging as the Cemetery had been closed to newcomers since the mid-century. After Corso's death, a Roman friend Vittorio Terracini and Reininger lobbied the Roman authorities for special permission. Corso's ashes were deposited, just as he wanted, at the foot of the grave of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in the Cimitero Acattolico, the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. He wrote his own epitaph:
Spirit
is Life
It flows thru
the death of me
endlessly
like a river
unafraid
of becoming
the sea

Quotes

"… a tough young kid from the Lower East Side who rose like an angel over the roof tops and sang Italian song as sweet as Caruso and Sinatra, but in words… Amazing and beautiful, Gregory Corso, the one and only Gregory, the Herald." — Jack Kerouac – Introduction to Gasoline
"Corso's a poet's Poet, a poet much superior to me. Pure velvet... whose wild fame's extended for decades around the world from France to China, World Poet. — Allen Ginsberg "On Corso's Virtues"
"Gregory's voice echoes through a precarious future.... His vitality and resilience always shine through, with a light this is more than human: the immortal light of his Muse. ... Gregory is indeed one of the Daddies." — William S. Burroughs
"The most important of the beat poets... a really true poet with an original voice" — Nancy Peters, editor of City Lights
"Other than Mr. Corso, Gregory was all you ever needed to know. He defined the name by his every word or act. Always succinct, he never tried. Once he called you 'My Ira' or 'My Janine' or 'My Allen'. he was forever 'Your Gregory'." — Ira Cohen
"...It comes, I tell you, immense with gasolined rags and bits of wire and old bent nails, a dark arriviste, from a dark river within." — Gregory Corso, How Poetry Comes to Me (epigraph of Gasoline)
"They, that unnamed "they", they've knocked me down but I got up. I always get up-and I swear when I went down quite often I took the fall; nothing moves a mountain but itself. They, I've long ago named them me." — Gregory Corso

References

^ Corso, Gregory. "Marriage." Nelson, Cary. Anthology of Modern American Poetry. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. 960. Print.
^ Cook, Bruce. The Beat Generation. New York: Scribner, 1971. Print.
^ Intoxication: Heathcliff on Powell Street, 2nd Ed., Hedwig Gorski, Slough Press, 2009.
^ Morgan, Ted. Literary Outlaw, the Life and Times of William S. Burroughs
^ "Gregory Corso: A Poet, the Beat Way". Carolyn Gaiser. A Casebook on the Beat. Ed. Thomas Parkinson. University of California Press, 1961. p266-275. Rpt. in Poetry Criticism. Ed. Elisabeth Gellert and Ellen McGeagh. Vol. 33. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001.
^ "American Poets Since World War II". Ed. Donald J. Greiner. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale Research, 1980.
^ (Nunzio) Gregory Corso. Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2004.

Other sources

Charters, Ann (ed.). The Portable Beat Reader. Penguin Books. New York. 1992. ISBN 0140151028 (hc);
[edit]Bibliography
The Vestal Lady and Other Poems (1955, poetry)
This Hung-Up Age (1955, play)
Gasoline (1958, poetry)
Bomb (1958, poetry)
The Happy Birthday of Death (1960, poetry)
Minutes to Go (1960, visual poetry) with Sinclair BeilesWilliam S. Burroughs, and Brion Gysin.
The American Express (1961, novel)
Long Live Man (1962, poetry)
There is Yet Time to Run Back through Life and Expiate All That's been Sadly Done (1965, poetry)
Elegiac Feelings American (1970, poetry)
The Night Last Night was at its Nightest (1972, poetry)
Earth Egg (1974, poetry)
Writings from OX (1979, with interview by Michael Andre)
Herald of the Autochthonic Spirit (1981, poetry)
Mind Field (1989, poetry)
Mindfield: New and Selected Poems (1989, poetry)

External links


Works by or about Gregory Corso in libraries (WorldCat catalog)


GREGORY CORSO from FRIED CHOES COOKED DIAMONDS