Corso Makes The Cover

1. Beat poet Gregory Corso has made the cover of this week’s Economist. Some clever illustrator has formatted the opening of a recent Barack Obama speech about nuclear disarmament as an homage to Corso’s great 1958 poem Bomb (though I couldn’t find a Gregory Corso credit anywhere in the magazine). Also, I bet you anything the Economist illustrator cribbed the layout from this LitKicks page, though I couldn’t prove this in court. Via Stop Smiling.

2. made a really stupid decision to de-rank books with gay/lesbian content, and suffered through an Easter Sunday twitter tornado for it. Can you imagine what our great literary legacy would look like if all gay/lesbian-related books were subtracted? Forget about it. Amazon has apologized for the “glitch”, but the success of the spontaneous #amazonfail movement on Twitter will certainly inspire other protests to come.

3. The unforgettable Beverly Cleary just celebrated her 93rd birthday!

4. When the Flock Changed is an excerpt from Maud Newton’s upcoming novel.

5. Jay Thompson on Marcus Aurelius and Stanley Kunitz at Kenyon Review blog.

6. Mike Shatzkin on a racial showdown at circa-1950s Doubleday.

7. Yeah, I post about John Updike a lot. More to come. Via Books Inq, here’s
On Easter and Updike by David E. Anderson.

8. The Onion on Beckett.

9. Bill Ectric attempts to singlehandedly resurrect the career of Charles Wadsworth Camp, author (and father of Madeleine L’Engle).

10. A celebration of the chapbook.

11. Carolyn Kellogg on John Fante.

12. City Lights (a bookstore that would never de-rank books with gay/lesbian content) has published Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds, the record of a creative writing program for “juvenile detention facilities, homeless shelters, inner-city schools and centers for newly arrived immigrants” (more here).

13. Okay, real quick, here are a few things I don’t like about The Beats: A Graphic History by Harvey Pekar, Paul Buhle and Ed Piskor. Pekar’s drawings are rather ugly; I yearn instead for the affectionate emotional shadings of Robert Crumb. The section on Jack Kerouac seems to be based on a close reading of Ellis Amburn’s biography Subterranean Kerouac, the only major biography that claims to find closeted homosexuality at the center of Kerouac’s life and work. As I wrote when Amburn’s book was published, this interpretation really doesn’t illuminate the work very well at all. Conversely, the biographical section on Allen Ginsberg all but ignores the crisis Ginsberg endured as a child when his mother went insane, which actually does illuminate the poet’s work considerably. The book also suffers from chronological problems and all-out mistakes, as when the book claims that the Jewish Torah is equivalent to the Christian Old Testament (actually the Torah is only the first five books, the books of Moses). However, The Beats: A Graphic History does have some excellent material on lesser-known Beats towards the end.

14. What the hell is up with a cheezy-looking book called City of Glass (by Cassandra Clare)? We already had a perfectly good City of Glass.

10 Responses

  1. LA:

    Also some complaints

    Also some complaints about sexism and a lack of coverage of the women of the Beats in “The Beats: a Graphic History.” Not the sexism of the Beats themselves, but sexism in the coverage in this book.


  2. I think Amburn worked
    I think Amburn worked for/with Kerouac around ’65, around the time Satori in Paris was published. Kerouac, who only had four drunken years to go, for some reason, said he was going to stuff a “pineapple” up Amburn’s ass.

    Crumb’s drawings are nice. But I got my own pictures in my head

  3. The illustration in the NYTBR
    The illustration in the NYTBR of the Beat graphic history book did look pretty ugly I thought as well.

    The Beckett find is fascinating. I can’t wait to read this magnificent sounding work.

    Yeah, the Torah is called the Pentateuch in Christian jargon, which as the pent implies refers to the first five books of the Old Testament.

  4. What if the Amazon thing was
    What if the Amazon thing was actually a glitch? Does everything have to be a conspiracy when it comes to GLBT issues?

  5. Jo, I don’t know if your
    Jo, I don’t know if your remark about Amazon’s glitch is directed at me or not, but I agree with you. Some of the #amazonfail participants are demanding answers as to exactly why this happened, but I think the only important question is whether or not they have reversed the mistake, and it appears that they are trying to do so.

  6. I disagree with anything to
    I disagree with anything to do with a ‘glitch’ excuse for Amazon’s action. I think that we are seeing a test of something they are actually very interested in doing. They may have underestimated the degree of outraged reaction to it, but they fully intended to do it. I mean, consider the fact that they have a structure in place that is capable of doing this. An entry into a field causes this delisting? One should be asking what that entry was.

    I think this action from Amazon is far more nefarious than it looks when viewed as a ‘glitch.’ I think they are very serious about filtering what they consider to be ‘adult’ content.

  7. I can see what you mean about
    I can see what you mean about Corso, but it looks like a doorknob to me.
    If Corso wrote about doorknobs…

  8. I’d bet that the designer of
    I’d bet that the designer of this cover thought he was the first person who ever had the idea to put words into the shape of the mushroom cloud. I doubt that Economist graphic artists have much knowledge of beat writers.

  9. Actually, Larry, it’s
    Actually, Larry, it’s definitely a Corso homage, because the shape of the cloud almost exactly mirrors that of Corso’s poem.

  10. Are they actually Pekar’s
    Are they actually Pekar’s drawings for the Beat book? Didn’t he usually script his comics and make stick figures and then collaborate with artists on the actual renderings?

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