Gasoline – Gregory Corso

After years of having only a few poems here and there it’s great to have finally gotten my hands on Gasoline (including The Vestal Lady on Brattle, his first, written in 1955 3 years prior to Gasoline) by youngest of the Beat Poets, Gregory Corso.

It’s energetic prose, full of the kind of abandon and invention that can be expected from the movement, though I’m struck by the more direct moments too, like here where the narrator offers no judgement of events:


Greenwish Village Suicide


Arms outstretched

hands flat against the windowsides

She looks down

Thinks of Bartok, Van Gogh

And New Yorker cartoons

She falls


They take her away with a Daily News on her face

And a storekeeper throws hot water on the sidewalk


Required reading if you’re a fan of the Beat poets and don’t already have any Corso.

8 thoughts on “Gasoline – Gregory Corso

    • Me too, it’s taken me years longer than it ought to have! What’s your favourite one that you do have? ‘Howl’ for me is hard to pass up, but I might have to tip ‘A Coney Island of the Mind.’

  1. Corso is my favourite of the Beats, he has an anger in documentaries when he talks about the big three. One of my favourite lines, if I remember correctly, is “poor caveman, so afeared of the outside, so afraid of the unknown, that he created a limit, and called that limit God’.

  2. “A Coney Island of the Mind” is by far Ferlinghetti’s best collection and possibly the best of the Beats, but I agree, i couldn’t go past “Howl” and I’ve always had an unhealthy obsession with “Kaddish” since I first stumbled upon it.

    • It’s a magical collection – ‘number 8’ in particular is wonderful.
      I haven’t got ‘Kaddish’ though I have the title poem anthologised somewhere, have also been meaning to add it to my collection

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