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Elegiac Feelings American

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Gregory Corso's collection of poems, the first in eight years, contains works of major proportions. The title poem is a tribute to Jack Kerouac, fusing a memorial to the poet's dead friend with a bitter lament for the present state of America. Reproduced in facsimile from Corso's handwritten sheets, his marginal decorations, drawings and glyphs are included. The balance of ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published January 17th 1970 by New Directions Publishing Corporation
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On the Road by Jack KerouacHowl and Other Poems by Allen GinsbergThe Dharma Bums by Jack KerouacNaked Lunch by William S. BurroughsJunky by William S. Burroughs
Beat Lit
133rd out of 148 books — 116 voters

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Feb 01, 2014 Mat rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: beat
It was very hard to rate this one.

On the one hand, I wanted to 'punish' Corso by only giving a rating of three stars due to all the deliberately obscure, esoteric and sometimes pretentious style, employing a vocabulary that would even be challenging for English literature doctorate students. I am aware that Corso read through the whole Oxford English Dictionary while in prison, waiting for someone to pay the $50 to bail him out, but that gives him no excuse to show off his exceptional and exemp
Stephen Bird
This is my first time reading Corso. Although I have never been a dedicated admirer of poetry as a literary style -- in this case -- I was inspired. And I hope this work will influence my own writing. The impressions conveyed by these poems are visual-visceral; sometimes raw, but rarely disgusting à la W. S. Burroughs. Corso's compound-word-creations and word-play-deconstructions provide great embellishment to his unique style. At first, Corso's stream of consciousness reminded me of Kerouac, bu ...more
This was the third Corso book I've read. The impression I've gotten is that the older Corso got, the more willing he was to sacrifice clarity and intelligibility for rambling freedom and experimentation. His more straightforward poems offer beautiful observations and expressions, but the obscure poems are just frustrating.

This collection has three parts. The first has longer poems, including the title work, which is an elegy to Jack Kerouac, but which at times digresses mightily from the subject
Feb 21, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: beat poetry, Corso, death, crazy man
"Elegiac Feelings American" is Gregory Corso's poetic farewell to Jack Kerouac ("so like Clark Gable your hands"), there's a poem about the Kennedy Assassination, the overall tone of the collection is one of mourning ( "they are Frankensteining Christ in America"), the death of Errol Flynn, the death of the Fifties, a poem about marijuana ("pot is the needle in God's haystack"), and more political commentary ("great yawn of youth"), and more death ("Body Fished from the Seine"). Corso was goth b ...more
I admire accessible poetry, and the language in Corso's collection was certainly accessible, but the style left something to be desired for me. I always think that the beauty of poetry is in the economy of the form: how much can be conveyed in a single stanza, a single word. This poetry took advantage of the flexibility of beat poetry not to convey the complex in a simple way, but to ramble at length, unfettered by conventions of punctuation, paragraph breaks and narrative structure.

Bottom line
Sarah Surratt
Due to the fact that I was completely obsessed with Jack Kerouac the failure, mess and genius angel, Elegiac Feelings American was always a sympathetic home for both my love and frustration. When the parts of my brain and heart that are dedicated to the "Memory Babe" come active, Corso's elegy is always there as a gateway to understanding. Corso is a poet -- visual, visceral, unusual and banal. He is vision and action -- nothing 'meta'-- an artist.
Jeffrey Tigchelaar
Sep 08, 2007 Jeffrey Tigchelaar rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: you, my friends
i found this at the bottom of a box of used\unwanted books at a local laundromat. It was the diamond.
(and very timely: title poem is a Kerouac tribute. Kerouac, the "embodiment of all humanity, young and free": "And what has happened to our dream of beauteous America, Jack? ...
a dream nightmared; a youth armied...
...the clamorous sadly desperate planet now one voice less...")
Corso at his very best.
Mills College Library
811.54 C826e 1970
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Gregory Nunzio Corso was an American poet, youngest of the inner circle of Beat Generation writers (with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs).
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