Anyone who’s ever switched off an old television, watched the picture collapse into a single point of light in the middle of the screen, lingering there for a moment before disappearing, knows to what The Golden Dot refers. The title of what Gregory Corso knew would be his final collection of poems is a profoundly apt one for a poet whose work frequently explored themes of apocalypse and cataclysm, death and rebirth, and then nearing the end of his life. Like the universe itself collapsing into a singularity before the next Big Bang.
Corso toiled over the manuscript for the last twenty years of his life, through innumerable revisions and continual frustration. But the critical catalyst came in 1997, after the death of Allen Ginsberg, one of Corso’s oldest and closest friends. Returning home from the funeral, Corso wrote “Elegium Catullus/Corso, for Allen Ginsberg,” after Catullus’ funeral ode to the ashes of his brother. The poem prompted Corso to spend the next three and a half years rewriting all 200+ pages of The Golden Dot. Amidst much other material, Corso weaves the story of his and Ginsberg’s friendship, along with the strange events of the latter part of his life, including being reunited with his mother and father after 67 years an orphan.
After Corso died on January 17, 2001, the rights to the manuscript went to Roger and Irvyne Richards, at the behest of his will. In their possession it remained for nearly twenty years, until the passing of Irvyne Richards in September of 2020. Now The Golden Dot: Final Poems is finally being published by Lithic Press, edited by Raymond Foye and George Scrivani.
“Place this book in your survival kit.
Let Gregory Corso, the youngest,
most high-spirited of the beat poets
guide you through the hallowed
days, as he did for my generation.
He will steer you through the
minefields of existence, poem by
poem, drawn from his irreverent,
benevolent revolutionary heart.”