TOUGH POETS PRESS

“Surely the world’s got to have tough poets too.”
— Haruki Murakami

OUT NOW

Beat poet Gregory Corso’s previously unpublished first play
July 1, 2016 / 36 pages / $5.99

“... a great funny Prometheus Unbound called Sarpedon, all in metre and rhyme, I can even do that!”
— Gregory Corso, 1959 letter to New Directions publisher James Laughlin

Prior to the publication of his first collection of poetry, The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems (1955), Beat poet Gregory Corso wrote three plays while living as a “stowaway” on the campus of Harvard University.

The first of these plays, written in 1954, was Sarpedon, which Corso described as “...an attempt to replicate Euripides, though the whole shot be an original.” Despite the ancient subject matter, his verse is infused with the street slang and Beat vernacular of the time in which it was written, and portends the irreverent humor that would become a hallmark of much of his later work.

The play comprises 17 pages of this volume. It is supplemented with a two-page introduction by Corso himself, taken from a transcript of his prefatory remarks at his 1978 reading of Sarpedon at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Also included are an editor’s introduction which provides information about the plays Corso wrote while at Harvard and describes the circumstances surrounding his brief residence in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The volume is footnoted as well.

Edited by Rick Schober / Foreword by Dick Brukenfeld
May 1, 2015 / 204 pages / $12.95

Thirteen interviews with Beat poet Gregory Corso (1930–2001) 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. Foreword by Dick Brukenfeld, publisher of Corso’s The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems (1955), that recounts the poet’s early days in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as a “stowaway” on the Harvard University campus.

Reviews:

“Gregory Corso has too long been marginalized and is deserving of greater recognition by Beat scholars. This book goes a long way towards repositioning him as a member of the core Beats. It is invaluable as a Beat resource and should have a place in any self-respecting Beat collection.”
— David S. Wills, Beatdom #16, Summer 2015

“Rick Schober has assembled an important collection of interviews that provide a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, writings and life of a Beat writer who deserves closer attention. The Whole Shot is nicely annotated and judiciously selected, capturing Corso in all his varied moods. The Corso that emerges in this collection is raconteur, provocateur, intellectual and Beat, but above all, a poet worth listening to.”
— Erik Mortenson, professor of English and Comparative Literature at Koç University and author of Capturing the Beat Moment: Cultural Politics and the Poetics of Presence

“In The Whole Shot, Rick Schober has assembled a fascinating collection of interviews with Gregory Corso, gathered from far-flung sources and dating from the mid 1950s to the mid 1980s. These are supplemented with a number of informative notes furnished by the editor, and the collection is further enriched with a foreword by Dick Brukenfeld who was an early friend and supporter of Corso as well as the publisher of the poet’s first collection, The Vestal Lady on Brattle. Casting light on Corso’s life and writing, these highly readable interviews hold much of interest. The Whole Shot makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of an original and vigorous poetic voice and will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in Gregory Corso, the Beat Generation or modern poetry.”
— Dr. Gregory Stephenson, Professor of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen and author of Exiled Angel: A Study of the Work of Gregory Corso

“Rick Schober’s dazzling anthology of interviews with Beat poet Gregory Corso provides a wealth of information about Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, even as it offers valuable insights into the rambunctious cultural movements that rocked the western world from the 1950s to the 1980s. Perhaps best of all, this volume brings Corso’s inimitable voice back to life as he moves from to New York to Paris to San Francisco rapping, reading, drinking, eating and living the life that he explored in words. The Whole Shot is essential reading for all students, scholars and aficionados of the work of that ‘wicked angel,’ Gregory Corso, who published his first book in 1955 and who is just now beginning to be appreciated as a major twentieth-century American writer.”
— Dr. Jonah Raskin, Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at Sonoma State University and author of American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation

IN THE WORKS

40th anniversary edition coming in 2016

Reviews of the 1976 Bobbs-Merrill edition:

“[Like] something out of the brain of a poetic trash compactor fed on ten years’ accumulation of The New York Review of Books and As the World Turns. Cohen is bewitched by the novelty of the novel. He uses plot and language not to tell a story, but to discover and utilize all the lavish possibilities and pleasures these provide. This book is a writer’s lark, yet also a benign ramble through the Disneyland of a literary man’s literature.”
— Ron Whyte, Soho Weekly News

“[Cohen] has put his sophisticated hand into the wiring of the language and twisted it impishly. ... The reward for your attention is that you hear a new voice and a new kind of surreal music.”
— Raymond Sokolov, The New York Times Book Review

“An appeal that lingers beyond the final page. ... A brilliantly interpretive mind.”
Houston Chronicle

“This book appeals to me so much that I do not want to make any careless quickie comments. Morstive Sternbump’s philosophy is congruent with my own.”
— R. Buckminster Fuller

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About

Tough Poets Press was founded in 2014 specifically to publish The Whole Shot: Collected Interviews with Gregory Corso, a book that was in the works since 2010. Thanks to the generosity of the Kickstarter crowdfunding community and a handful of Beat literature aficionados, we were able to raise enough money to publish the book in late April 2015.

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