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A collection of rare and out-of-print interviews with Gregory Corso, one of the founders of the Beat movement in American literature
A collection of rare and out-of-print interviews with Gregory Corso, one of the founders of the Beat movement in American literature
80 backers pledged $3,335 to help bring this project to life.

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The Whole Shot: Collected Interviews with Gregory Corso

We will end this Kickstarter campaign on what would have been the poet's 85th birthday: March 26.

A collection of 13 rare and out-of-print 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.

Corso was the youngest of the inner circle of writers (along with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs) who were responsible for launching and popularizing the Beat movement in American literature. Two of Corso's earlier collections of poetry, Gasoline (1958) and The Happy Birthday of Death (1960), are considered to be groundbreaking works of twentieth-century American literature and yet, unlike the other major Beat writers, both he and his poetry are relatively unknown today.

View a 12-page preview of the book here:
http://issuu.com/toughpoets/docs/whole_shot_preview


Why I Need Your Help

I started work on The Whole Shot about five years ago and now it’s finally done – ready to be published. All the design, formatting, editing, annotations, indexing, and proofreading are done. The copyright holders of all the original interviews have been tracked down and have granted me permission to reprint the works in this new collection.

Now, before I can legally publish the book, I need to pay some of the contributors for the use of their intellectual property, and pay licensing fees to the original publishers of the poems quoted in some of the interviews. There are also printer setup costs, and I’ll need to pay for an ISBN number and a bar code. And I’ll also be sending a few complimentary copies of the book to each of the contributors. And then Kickstarter will take its cut, of course, if this fundraising campaign is successful.

Ideally, I would just shell out $3,000, get a few hundred copies of the book printed, market them, and hope for the best. However, I have personal financial obligations (i.e., four daughters, two in braces and one starting college in the fall) that preclude me from investing anything but time and effort in something as speculative as an independent publishing venture right now. Needless to say, if this book is going to see the light of day anytime soon, it will require a little OBLAM – Other Beat Literature Aficionados' Money.

I’m not looking to get rich on this project. I just want to get this book out there and, hopefully, break even. Your generous support will help me achieve my modest goal. Not only will a $15 pledge get you a copy of the book, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you were instrumental in bringing to life this important addition to the collective history of Beat Generation poetry and American literary biography.


Advance Reviews

"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


Table of Contents

Foreword / Dick Brukenfeld

Gregory Sends Us Poems That We Don't Get / 1955 / Murray Robinson

Two Poets in Paris / 1958 / Art Buchwald

The Upbeat Beatnik / 1960 / Art Buchwald

From an Interview: On the "Beat Movement" / 1962 / Anselm Hollo

Some of My Beginning ... and What I Feel Right Now / 1964 / Gregory Corso

Conversation with Allen Ginsberg & Gregory Corso / 1965 / David Widgery

An Interview with Gregory Corso / 1972 / Michael Andre

Humor, the Butcher: An Interview with Gregory Corso / 1973 / Victor Bockris

I'm Poor Simple Human Bones: An Interview with Gregory Corso / 1974 / Robert King

Interview: Gregory Corso / 1976 / Fred Misurella

Poetry Power for a Bloodless Coup: An Interview with Gregory Corso / 1977 / Tom Plante

The Riverside Interviews: 3 Gregory Corso / 1980 / Gavin Selerie

What Happened to Kerouac? The Corso Transcript / 1982 / Lewis MacAdams

The book also includes an editor's introduction, notes, brief biographical information of the literary figures mentioned in the interviews, acknowledgments, and an index.

Cover photo: "Gregory Corso, New York City, May 11, 1986" courtesy of Hank O'Neal.

Book Specifications: 202 pages, paperback, 8.3" x 5.8" x 0.4"


The Rewards

$5 / BE MY FRIEND

Any pledge, no matter how pathetic, will help me achieve my goal. For a pittance, I will accept your Facebook friend request and mail you a physical Christmas card this year whether you celebrate the holiday or not.

“There is some self-interest behind every friendship.” 
Chanakya (371 - 283 BC), Indian philosopher

$15 / GET THE BOOK

Now we’re talking. $15 will get you a real paper and ink paperback copy of "The Whole Shot" when it’s published. Think of it like pre-ordering an upcoming title on Amazon – you don't get charged until the book is ready. If you live in the United States, I’ll even pay for the shipping. If you don’t, it will cost you an additional $5.

$25 / IMMORTALIZE YOURSELF

Not only will get you a copy of the printed book, but I’ll also add your name to the acknowledgments section. How cool will it be when one of your grandkids stumbles across "The Whole Shot" in a library (assuming that such places exist in the future) or landfill and sees your name handsomely typeset on one of the back pages? Again, free shipping for Americans. All others will pay an extra $5.

$35 / PLEASURE MY WIFE

Years ago, I ran an indie record label called Skipping Discs specializing in compilations of cover songs. Our biggest seller was a CD called Saturday Night Hay Fever: Bluegrass Artists Perform Disco Hits. For two weeks straight in 2002, it was number 11 on the U.S. bluegrass radio airplay charts. (Yes, there really is such a thing.) Unfortunately, I had way too many copies pressed and I’ve been carting boxes of these CDs around for years. Nothing would make my wife happier than to get them out of the basement. So, basically, this is the same as the previous reward – a copy of the book with your name in the acknowledgements section – plus a new, unopened copy of the CD. Worth it for the cover art alone. Same deal on shipping as the previous two rewards.

Saturday Night Hay Fever CD
Saturday Night Hay Fever CD
 

OWN A PIECE OF BEAT HISTORY

Dick Brukenfeld, publisher of Corso's first collection of poetry, The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems (1955), has graciously donated two copies of the first edition of this extremely rare book from his dwindling personal stash to help fund this project. A pledge of $850 will get you ONE of these copies along with a copy of The Whole Shot (with your name added to the acknowledgments section, of course). These copies are unread and are in the best condition you are likely to find. As Dick told me, they were stored in a box in his closet for decades.

First editions of Corso's Vestal Lady on Brattle (1955)
First editions of Corso's Vestal Lady on Brattle (1955)
As you can see, these are not the facsimile editions published by City Lights in 1969
As you can see, these are not the facsimile editions published by City Lights in 1969

Don't Read Books? You Can Still Support Us.

Tough Poets Press logo t-shirt
Tough Poets Press logo t-shirt

Your purchase of a Tough Poets logo t-shirt will help fund this book project. The shirts are made in the U.S.A. and printed by SKREENED Ethical Custom Apparel. They are available for only $20 each plus shipping. Click here for ordering information.

Risks and challenges

This is a book. Risks? A paper cut, maybe?

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    BE MY FRIEND

    Any pledge, no matter how small, will help me achieve my goal. For a pittance, I will accept your Facebook friend request and mail you a physical Christmas card this year whether you celebrate the holiday or not.

    “There is some self-interest behind every friendship.”
    Chanakya (371 - 283 BC), Indian philosopher

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    GET THE BOOK

    Now we’re talking. $15 will get you a real paper and ink paperback copy of "The Whole Shot" when it’s published. If you live in the United States, I’ll even pay for the shipping. If you don’t, it will cost you an additional $5.

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    22 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    IMMORTALIZE YOURSELF

    Not only will get you a copy of the printed book, but I’ll also add your name to the acknowledgments section. How cool will it be when one of your grandkids stumbles across "The Whole Shot" in a library (assuming that such places exist in the future) or landfill and sees your name handsomely typeset on one of the back pages? Again, free shipping for Americans. All others will pay an extra $5.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    41 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    PLEASURE MY WIFE

    Years ago, I ran an indie record label called Skipping Discs specializing in compilations of cover songs. Our biggest seller was a CD called “Saturday Night Hay Fever: Bluegrass Artists Perform Disco Hits.” For two weeks straight in 2002, it was number 11 on the U.S. bluegrass radio airplay charts. (Yes, there really is such a thing.) Unfortunately, I had way too many copies pressed and I’ve been carting boxes of these CDs around for years. Nothing would make my wife happier than to get them out of the basement. So, basically, this is the same as the previous reward – a copy of the book with your name in the acknowledgements section – plus a new, unopened copy of the CD. Worth it for the cover art alone. Same deal on shipping as the previous two rewards.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 12 backers
    $
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    GET THE V.I.P. TREATMENT

    The next time you are within a 25-mile radius of Arlington, MA, I will take you out for a pizza dinner on a mutually agreed-upon date, where I will present you with a signed (by me) copy of the book with your name in the acknowledgments section and a copy of the Saturday Night Hay Fever CD. I’ll pick up the tab – including the tip! I’ll even throw in a Tough Poets Press logo T-shirt. We can take numerous selfies that I will post on the Tough Poets website, and we discuss literature, the Beats, current events … you name it. Or maybe we’ll just stare awkwardly at each other while we chew our food when we realize that we have nothing in common other than an appreciation of the works of Gregory Corso.

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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $850 or more About $850

    OWN A PIECE OF BEAT HISTORY

    Dick Brukenfeld, publisher of Corso's first collection of poetry, The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other Poems (1955), has graciously donated two copies of the first edition of this extremely rare book from his dwindling personal stash to help fund this project. A pledge of $850 will get you ONE of these copies along with a copy of The Whole Shot (with your name added to the acknowledgments section, of course). These copies are unread and are in the best condition you are likely to find. As Dick told me, they were stored in a box in his closet for decades.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (50 days)