Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RE: The "New York School"

Part I.

I think, in the long run, two poets will remain as most representative of 20/21 century NYC poetics, so called.

Gregory Corso and Barbara Guest....not necessarily in that order. But those are the results of an interior poll taken recently here.

Well what about, ummm, FOH? Sorry...buried by twitter. Paul know that makes me sad too...he was Frankie's equal, straight but equal. Alice Notley...well she sure deserves it...who knows...all best luck. Jimmy and Allen and Sir John and Kenny and all the rest....ah........well nope. Not gonna happen. Why? No legs. Period.


  1. Corso is certainly one of the two. I'd replace the other (Guest) with Marianne Moore, but getting one right is good, I think.

    The writer Paul Stubbs does make one big outlandish mistake in his reading of Corso's poems, when he describes "Ulanova" as "a distant friend."

    Ulanova was the star of the Russian ballet that was in Mexico City at the time that Corso was there with his friends Ginsberg and Burroughs. He's saying that the puma in the Mexican zoo has a kind of pent-up grace like Ulanova's. The puma's pacing, in other words, is like the ballet star's. Ulanova was superannuated but had continued on as the star of the ballet. Somehow ballerinas were able to get along in Stalin's universe because they didn't have to open their mouths as writers do.

    In the Letters, Corso talks about seeing Ulanova at about the same time he composed the poem, I seem to recall.

    I wrote a book on Corso called Doubting Thomist, and said in one of the last lines that he was the greatest poet in American literary history. A lot of critics laughed at me for that line. I still, however, think it's true. His only equal is Marianne Moore.

    She's even crazier than he was, but kept it better hidden.

    Not that being crazy helps a poet be a poet, but if there is a corresponding logic, it can help make fascinating reading.

  2. Michael McClure is the best Beat poet.
    Had I time to expatiate on that pronunciamento, I would. Suffice it to say, for now, that I'm partial to McClure's beatific vision. But maybe I've just never had the laughing sickness you guys have had.

  3. david...i would cast a vote for McClure as he is a native of Kansas.