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Tough poet: Arlington publisher renews Beat poet's voice

Rick SchoberSchober

After five years of research and editing, Rick Schober, publisher of Arlington-based Tough Poets Press has announced the completion of The Whole Shot: Collected Interviews with Gregory Corso.

The 202-page book is a collection of 13 rare and out-of-print interviews with the Beat poet, who lived from 1930 to 2001, that span the most productive years of his career -- from 1955, when his first collection of poems was published, to 1982, the year following the publication of his last book of all new poetry.

The foreword was written by Dick Brukenfeld, publisher of Corso's The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems (1955), and recounts the poet's early days in Cambridge and as a "stowaway" on the Harvard University campus.

Corso was the youngest of the inner circle of writers -- with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs -- who were responsible for launching and popularizing the Beat movement in American literature.

Two of Corso's earlier collections of poetry, Gasoline (1958) and The Happy Birthday of Death (1960), are considered groundbreaking works of 20-century American literature and yet, unlike the other major Beat writers, both he and his poetry remain relatively unknown.

Among the works in this collection are two pieces by humorist and syndicated newspaper columnist Art Buchwald, as well as an early interview by Victor Bockris, biographer of Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Blondie and Muhammad Ali.

Advance reviews from Beat literature scholars have praised The Whole Shot as "an important collection of interviews that provide a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, writings and life of a Beat writer who deserves closer attention."

To help defray the costs associated with self-publishing The Whole Shot, Schober launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, which ran through March 26. That would have been Corso’s 85th birthday.

Visit www.kickstarter.com for information about how to support this book project by preordering a copy for as little as $15.


This extended announcement was published Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, and updated April 6.

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