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Gregory Corso.

Bomb [1958?] Manuscript.

Florida Atlantic University. Special Collections Department, S. E. Wimberly Library. Boca Raton, Florida.

The University Libraries include the S. E. Wimberly Library in Boca Raton; a collection housed at the Broward County Public Library in Fort Lauderdale to serve the FAU Tower; a library in Palm Beach Gardens serving the North Palm Beach campus; and an additional library facility at Broward Community College in Davie to serve the University's new southeast campus.

The Wimberly Library is a 165,000-square-foot building in the heart of the Boca Raton campus. In addition to a large collection of government documents, maps and other specialized materials, the library and its branches contain half a million books and more than 1.5 million microforms. Special Collections include Floridiana; the Theodore Pratt Collection; a Civil War collection; pamphlets of the Socialist Labor movement; Vladimir Nabokov material; and manuscript material by Gregory Corso. The library also houses a large and impressive Judaica Collection, which includes the library furnishings of Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Gregory Corso's European Manuscripts.

In his introduction to Gasoline, Allen Ginsberg wrote of Gregory Corso, "He's probably the greatest poet in America, and he's starving in Europe." Ginsberg was writing from Amsterdam in October of 1957. At roughly the same time, Corso was kneeling in a garret in Paris, razoring typewritten lines on a hexagonal tiled floor. The manuscript beneath his coffee cup, glue, and rubber soled shoes was an early version of Bomb.

By 1958 Corso had despaired of French publishers understanding what he was trying to accomplish in the mushroom cloud-shaped poem. He recalls giving the manuscript and his notebooks to a friend upon leaving Paris, and thought no more about them. He was unaware that they had been returned to the United States, and had found their way into the contemporary American authors stock of a Fort Lauderdale rare books dealer approaching retirement. In December of 1965, this dealer, U. Grant Roman, at the prompting of Florida writer Theodore Pratt, donated a portion of his inventory to the newly established Florida Atlantic University.

The donation included the holograph of Bomb, eleven notebooks Corso kept during his European travels, and an oversized Village Voice envelope addressed to Allen Ginsberg c/o American Express, 11 Rue Scribe, Paris, containing Corso's drawings for American Express. The holograph poem, when received by the university, was folded in four and encased in a custom made quarter leather box with gold lettering. The notebooks, which cover Corso's European travels from 1958 to 1960, through France, Italy, and Greece, are as much sketchbooks and occasional address books as they are records of the earlier drafts of his poetry.

Roman's catalog specifically points out Corso's excellent draftsmanship in the sketches, and describes Bomb as "A magnificently unique manuscript showpiece of a poem destined to endure." This epic poem appears in The Happy Birthday of Death, the first book of Corso's poems published by James Laughlin of New Directions in 1960. First published as a City Lights broadside in 1958, the poem is constructed in the mushroom cloud shape of an atomic bomb blast. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan occurred in August 1945, and this poem pays homage to that event and reflects the Beat Generation's fascination with the specter of nuclear annihilation. In Bomb Corso creates "a state of intellectual and moral chaos out of which meaning and value are reconstituted, and the world is poetically restructured to become the Divine Kingdom." The use of a series of contradictory images underlies Corso's interpretation of the atomic bomb as the vehicle by which world society ends but is also regenerated as a new dominion.

Gregory Corso. Bomb. [1958?]

Recto: Holograph manuscript in pen and ink.

Signed in lower right corner: Gregory Corso/1958. This is the first assembly of mine [sic] poem Bomb/The process of trying to attain the mushroom shape/which was impossible to do at the typewriter -/Also this poem is early draft in that final draft/is very different - line changes, subject matter, etc. - Gregory Corso.

Verso:Typescript cut and pasted in shape of mushroom cloud.

In manuscript in lower right corner in ink: For Brian Aysion [?]/the belly button/of the ACE of SPADES/[rule]/The vestal Lady on Brattle/Cambridge - Bus [?]/[rule]/Mr [?] David Mandrilf [?]/then I lose my game of Death/to a pro. [rule]

Gregory Corso. Notebooks. Three holograph manuscripts with drawings. Pen and ink.

Volume 1: In manuscript: Gregory Corso, Venice, June 1959.

Volume 7: n.p., n.d.

Volume 9: n.p., n.d.

Gregory Corso Sketches for American Express. All the sketches are done in pen and ink and are signed by the artist. Various sizes. Number 23 has manuscript note: of this series, I was given [sic] to publisher, 2 were/misplaced - /g.c.

5. Harry.

6. Departure

7. A Thief from the Greek Past Stealing Daphne's watch.

8. Hinderov in Birdness.

10. Freece - Vatic.

14. Joel with a Dying Soldier.

16. American Express scene.

19. Death of General Eatson.

20. Hinderov watching Albie be sad.

21. Shiva and Joel before they kill the deer for food.

23. Carrol's dream of returning Lucifer back to heaven.