The only problem I have had with Gregory Corso’s poems is that there aren’t enough of them. Now, there are more. The Golden Dot poems, which have been reportedly extant in subterranean drawers, are now available. These are a hundred and fifty pages left unfinished or at least untitled at the time of the poet’s death, and have now been reassembled by George Scrivani and Corso’s friend and sometimes editor, Raymond Foye.

One of the surprises, at least to me, was how Corso turned to astronomy in these last poems.  Vast descriptions of the cosmos enter. This is unlike anything yet achieved by Corso.  Here is the ending to “Before Time Began”:

The sperm of Eternity

entered the egg of Infinity

The Space-Time continuum was born

in time the mind was born

and as it evolves

it makes time a measurement of eternity

and space various distances of the finite

The Big Bang was the birth of God


Infinity and the finite form a major reflection in the poems as he plays them back and forth. Corso is also reflective of his Christianity, which began in his childhood when he was adopted by six different Catholic families. 

You know I always believed in Godness

It’s just that I didn’t want people to know

it was something I had to work out

My belief was in a good God

one who knew and cared about me

I couldn’t let anyone know

about my special God

My confused relationship with Him


The poems seem half-finished at times with startling images and odd rhythms and at times the voice is purely internal as Corso has not polished them for export. Some of the best passages are descriptions of nature:

Don’t tell me crocodilians head for the hills

Wooly mammoths would trudge the Alpine heights

On the wayside belly up

an ibis lay

flat against the reeds

the howler monkey

is in sun-dried clay

The caiman smooths along the Nile


“Smooths” as a verb is quintessential Corso. He is oddly humorous but also serious as was Mercutio in Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. Transitory and protean, Corso’s odd ability to change direction on a dime is everywhere present in these mercurial verses.

The Golden Dot: Last Poems, 1997-2000 (Lithic Press, 2022)

ISBN 978-1946-583-666