Roadside Press Unveils Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet, an Unprecedented Tribute


Roadside Press Unveils Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet, an Unprecedented Tribute

Release Date: June 20, 2024

Available via, Amazon, Ingram, and Major Online Book Retailers

In the annals of American literature, the Beat Generation remains a luminous chapter, resonating with the harmonious blend of rebellion and creativity that defined an era. After Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs, Gregory Corso emerges as the fourth “Daddy” of this socio-literary movement. His life, like his poetry, was a tempestuous journey, marked by resilience, defiance, and an insatiable thirst for expression.

Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet, published by Roadside Press, stands as a monumental homage to this enigmatic figure of American letters. Authored by luminaries of the Beat Generation including Anne Waldman, Gerald Nicosia, and Neeli Cherkovski, among others, this book transcends mere biography, offering a kaleidoscopic view of Corso’s life and legacy. Edited by Leon Horton, this collection weaves together the diverse voices of those who knew Corso and his work intimately.

From his turbulent childhood in New York to his sojourns in Clinton Prison, Greece, and Rome, Corso’s odyssey is chronicled in vivid detail. With contributions ranging from memoirs and interviews to literary criticism and poetry, Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet provides a multifaceted exploration of Corso’s enduring influence.

Douglas Field, author of Walking in the Dark: James Baldwin, My Father, and Me, reads the book as a celebration and exploration of “the contradictions and brilliance” of Corso. Victor Bockris, acclaimed author of The Burroughs-Warhol Connection, hails it as a testament to Corso’s dual nature as both a wild man and a serious intellect.

Critics and scholars alike have lauded the book’s comprehensive portrayal of Corso’s life, from its gritty realism to its transcendent beauty. Jim Burns, contributor to Beat Scene, praises its unflinching honesty, while Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, heralds it as the most significant contribution to Corso scholarship to date.

Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet arrives as a long-overdue tribute to a poet who, despite his towering influence, remains a perennial outsider.

For media inquiries, review copies, or interview requests, please contact Michele McDannold at

About the Author: Roadside Press is a leading publisher dedicated to preserving and celebrating the legacy of the American literary underground. With a diverse catalog spanning poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, Roadside Press is committed to honoring the voices that shape our cultural landscape.

Excerpt from THE DEAD AND THE DESPERATE by Dan Denton


I never intended to live in Ohio again in the first place. After my first divorce, and all the ensuing debacles; a rehab here, probation there, a dab or two of homelessness, or years of barely clinging to a roof over my head, and I found myself drunk and alone a lot, watching the free PBS channel in a shitty apartment, in a shitty southern town that had grown just as tired of me as I was of it. I’d been banned from three of the five dive bars that lived in my desperate subdivision of rotting trailer park, slum lord haven, and the other two bars weren’t making me feel like I belonged anymore. Sometimes when the moon is full, or when Mercury is in retrograde or some shit, just sometimes I can be hard to get along with I guess. I always seem to get tired of somewhere just as they’re getting tired of me, and I was feeling the urge to move again. Seven states in seven years. Might as well find another one.

I was staying home. Drinking alone. So I got the internet in my shitty apartment. I came up with enough scratch to get my phone line turned on, and downloaded one of those 100 hours free CDs.

I was supposed to be a writer someday, and I’d just gotten through 21 of 30 days in another rehab before I had to split. I was working and staying away from the hard shit, and laying low and drinking at home.

I was supposed to be a writer someday, so I’d called this guy some other guy told me about, and that guy came over, and for $20 and an old printer I had, that guy fixed my computer tower up, and debugged it, and got it limping back along again.

I could never afford to keep buying the ink cartridges for the printer, and I hadn’t written shit in a long goddamn time, so there wasn’t shit ever to print.

I planned to write, and save it on these hard plastic disks, and if I wrote anything worth much, I planned to take the hard disk over to the town library, and use their computer, and print it for a quarter a page.

I don’t know what I was going to do with it then, and it didn’t matter much. I had the internet in my rat trap apartment, and I was working and keeping my head down. Plenty of money for 12 packs and half decent whiskey once in a while. Plenty of evening time to listen to music on the radio, and write a little, except I never did write much.

The internet then wasn’t the internet now. It ran through the phone line, and was slow. There were a lot of naked pictures on the internet, but never any videos. Porn then wasn’t like porn now. But there were naked pictures and there were chat rooms. I never wrote much, I just listened to music every night, and looked at naked pictures, and jacked off, and talked dirty in chat rooms, or argued with people in chat rooms, or tried to get women to email me naked pictures if they had a digital camera.

I remember once in high school, this girl I knew sent me a Polaroid picture of her titties in a card once. I had that picture for a long time. But I had the internet in my kitchen-sink-has-been-dripping-since-Reagan was president apartment, and girls could send me naked photos in a matter of minutes to my email, if I could get them to, and sometimes I could.

But jacking off to an unlimited library of nude photos is not the same as fucking, and I could only ever lay low and drink at home for so long before I got bored, and started running around town looking for a good time in all the bad places. I was getting stir crazy.

One weekend I was drunk and bored, and I stayed up all night talking to this chick in a Midwest singles chat room I’d found, and we’d exchanged some emails, and I didn’t have a digital camera, but I could type 50 words per minute and I’d spent a lifetime reading books, and you’d be surprised about how far a Neruda stanza can take you in a chat room. Already into the 21st century and most everyone I knew had never heard about ole Pablo Neruda. Quoting poets no one ever heard of makes you seem learned in a 2am internet chat room, and wait til they have a rough day, and you drop some Bukowski on them.

One thing leads to another and I’d just gotten a cell phone for the first time, because I had some money in my pocket and everyone was getting cell phones. Cell phones then were not cell phones now, and mine was about the size of half a brick and didn’t send text messages or have a high def screen. It just made phone calls, and those phone calls were free after 7pm and on weekends, so me and this late night chat room girl started calling each other and talking every night, sometimes for hours.

She’d had a few long-term relationships, but nothing had ever come of them, and she’d been single for a while. She was back in college and living at home, and she was fierce and independent, but she was lonely, too, and she didn’t really know how to meet people. She was mid 20s and older than most of the college kids in her classes, and her job as an activities coordinator at a local nursing home offered nary a bed warmer, either.

She’d had a few Friday night one-night stands, from going to one of the half-assed dance clubs cities in the Midwest they’re always trying to keep open, but that wasn’t enough.

She liked to fuck she said, and I told her I did, too.

Next thing you know she’s driving down south, and I’m taking a four-day weekend. We drove around to different places to eat every evening, but mostly we drank and we fucked. We fucked and fucked all weekend, like you do when you just meet somebody that likes to fuck in all the same ways you like to fuck, and neither of you have fucked much lately. If you don’t understand that last sentence, I hope you figure it out before you die. It is one of the most magical things I have experienced in my sad ass life, and chasing those weekends has nearly ruined me, and killed me a dozen times over.

Lover girl goes home, and we keep talking late at night, me half drunk all the time, and her just lonely. She drinks, but she doesn’t understand why I need to drink every day, and all the time, but I work hard, and “I miss you” and “I miss you, too” and the fucking, that was some of the best fucking ever, and maybe I’ll just drive up to Ohio one weekend and we can fuck six times a day again for four days. See how quick I forgot about hating Ohio? That’s how women have always worked for me.

I can’t fully explain it, except for the obvious, being a fucked up dude trying to survive a fucked up life. It’s what we do. We drink and fuck and fight. You see us on Cops and Jerry Springer every day.

Before I could get back up there to do all that fucking again, lover girl calls me and says she’s pregnant.

The Dead and the Desperate is coming out in hardcover. Reserve your copy at

Step into a world of grit and survival in The Dead & The Desperate by Dan Denton. This poignant novel takes you on a raw and unflinching journey through the life of its main character, who becomes an accidental father while grappling with untreated mental illness, addiction, and the grueling reality of low-paying factory jobs in the heart of the Midwest. Denton’s evocative prose paints a vivid picture of a life under the poverty line, where desperation and resilience coexist in a landscape of broken dreams and shattered hopes.

Amidst the chaos of a struggling existence, the protagonist navigates the shadowy corners of dive bars, forges unlikely friendships with a diverse cast of characters, and grapples with the weight of homelessness, divorce, and the specter of overdose. The Dead & The Desperate is a haunting portrayal of the challenges faced by those on the margins, offering a unique and unvarnished perspective on a world often overlooked.

This book has garnered praise from literary voices and readers alike, heralded as a return to authentic proletarian literature. Critics acknowledge Dan Danton’s unapologetic honesty and courage in baring his soul through this harrowing yet beautiful narrative. The novel’s exploration of life’s struggles and the quest for love and connection resonates deeply, making it an unforgettable read that lingers in the mind long after the final page is turned.

If you’re seeking a powerful and moving tale that delves into the depths of human experience, The Dead & The Desperate is a must-read. It’s a story that gives voice to the voiceless, offers solace to the desperate, and reminds us all of the strength to keep going, even when faced with the darkest of circumstances.


Parallel Lives

Every city has one, a block God
forgot, some unofficial war zone,
demilitarized, but alive and active
with all the usual suspects cops roust
on periodic missions to clean up after
some particularly rowdy disturbance,
something so embarrassing, around
election day, even the mayor is moved
to act. After the votes have been counted,
results confirmed, the war goes on as before.
911 calls come in and cars are dispatched,
later rather than sooner, except, in cases
of extreme cruelty, events that make
front page news or, on occasion, CNN;
‘Fraternity hazing involved terrorist
techniques, pledges for unchartered
frat subjected to punishments, not unlike
water boarding, until they were forced
to beg for mercy.’
The cries from basement/ dungeon so loud,
so horrific, even cowed neighbors
could no longer endure the noise, could
only imagine what must be happening inside.
University officials assert they had
‘suspicions banned fraternity was still
accepting new members,’ as they had been,
banding and disbanding time and time
again, for fifty years, only the names
and faces changed.
Over time, the block is modified,
buildings burned out, abandoned,
strafed in territorial feuds, boarded up
or razed, salt sprinkled on the mounds left
behind, for sale signs riddled with bullet
holes, gang graffiti ornamented, relics
no one cares to recall or revisit.
All the former denizens, drug dealers,
and their whores moved on, occupying
new digs that soon resemble the old:
from Odell to Kelton, from Elberon to
Quail to Washington; forsaken places,
reclamation projects so far past due
only those with no future go there.
Time Has Come Today

“You don’t know what pain is.”
Buffalo Bill

Somewhere along the line,
someone had put him in a metal cell,
a kind of prefab hurt locker,
and forgot to let him out. Maybe,
pounded on the sides to like, rattle
his cage every now and then,
never letting any unnecessary light in,
no food, no water, no human contact,
nada for days, so that when the family
business, literally, went up in smoke,
a mobile home, meth lab, defoliation
death trap, only he would survive
the fast-burning fireball suffused with
strange colors, sick smells of chemicals
and bad meat, a black hole where
the concrete pad had been.
He’d feel no remorse for confederate
flag ensemble wearing dad, a former
weightlifting skinhead gone to fat,
not completely weaned yet from his
Rebel Yell and his emaciated, toothless
straw haired, unwashed, skank of a woman,
something like thirty-nine going on
seventy, maybe his mother, maybe not.
Where he was going time was measured
in scorched spoonful’s of street, ampoules
and syringes, black market product mined
from god’s black earth.

Another Saturday Night in Jukebox Hell by Alan Catlin is now available at

The smartass bartender, narrator, is locked in a bar with thousands of uninvited guests. The jukebox is virtual which means it is practically infinite and people can and will play music Loud for hours while the hapless, somewhat hard of hearing bartender tries to make the best of this “disco inferno” ( though the music is rarely if ever remotely disco like). Our bartender refers to the jukebox as the infernal machine and the guests are demons with unlimited credit. Snarky, irreverent and based on actual firsthand experience.

Alan Catlin worked for the better part of 34 years in his unchosen profession as a barman in and around the greater Albany, NY area. He has published dozens of chapbooks and full-length books focusing on his work and the people he met while laboring in the trenches of bar warfare.

“Like a sequel to his previous collection of bar poems, Bar Guide for the Seriously Deranged, Alan Catlin’s new collection begins, appropriately, in Hell, among those condemned to short, sad, violent lives of pain, humiliation, and self-destruction. There are many doors to Hell, he confides. “The one you choose is always / the wrong one.” The whores, the drug addicts, the gang members, the “karaoke killers”: they’ve all walked in through different entrances but wound up in the same place. Fate? In “Maybe it was meant,” Catlin philosophizes: “to be, to end this way, / a life spent on the edge / always playing a loser’s / hand but pretending /otherwise, and fooling / no one.” Another Saturday Night in Jukebox Hell has moments of humor and scenes of poignance, all so familiar, all so human, all so doomed, all so damned. Belly up to the bar, have a seat. Drink it all in!”—Charles Rammelkamp, author of The Trapeze of Your Flesh

“This the kind of place the children and grandchildren of the Dead-End Kids would go. They’d call themselves something like the Wild Bunch or the Wrecking Crew and the bartender, good to his word, would be taking notes and writing it all down. If you see yourself in these poems, it’s your own fault.”—Elenora Fagan, poet, lyricist

“If hell opened up all its’ gates, gave every good citizens a couple of hundred bucks to spend at happy hour; they’d end up at this bar, super-charged and ready to go, making up for lost time.”—Patrick Allen, occasional poet

Review by Alan Catlin: How to Play House by Heather Dorn

Heather Dorn, How to Play House, Roadside Press, 2023, 116 pages $15

“Heather Dorn is a real mom with real life issues. She’s more Journal of a Mad Housewife than Kate Middleton, though she’s not a stuck at home mom going crazy with her kids but a PhD in English Literature who teaches at the University in Binghamton. She has real health issues (a pacemaker to cope with heart failure) whose wild days of youth are way, way back in the past and can never be, even remotely, repeated. She (and no doubt most of us) reveled in crazy, bad choices who made total fools of ourselves during them and Dorn recounts them convincingly with wit and humor. Most of all, Dorn has a strong, readily identifiable voice; a mother we’d like to know, voice.

“Drawing a contrast between herself and the aforementioned Kate Middleton, Dorn is the mom with spaghetti-o’s on her blouse, coffee stains too, no doubt, while Kate looks beauty parlor fresh after giving birth. Heather confesses she looked like, well, she just gave birth after all three of her children. As Dorn says, Kate doesn’t give interviews. She doesn’t speak. She’s not a real person. Heather Dorn is most definitely a real person and it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, a real poet.”—Alan Catlin

first published in Misfit Magazine

Excerpt from Unknowable Things by Kerry Trautman

Because, Brian

I liked you at first, because your dad fixed a flat on my mom’s Pontiac in his robe, and because of your black jelly bean eyes and big-toothed laugh, and because you almost almost rubbed my thigh. But I bought off-the-shoulder homecoming velvet for someone else, because of your seaweed smell, because of the taste of our one kiss—wet with salts of sweat and Fritos, because it was October and you were nothing, because we were sixteen.


Was it cruel to have lured the stray cat
these weeks closer to my fingertips,
to teach him petting?

It was a new thing—involuntary
joy on skin terms.
Fur can’t help that it’s reached-for.

When I had asked the older boy’s sister
for his number
she warned
he’s sometimes not nice to girls.

The cat cries at the door now
for more than just a bowl of food.

The boy was patient with me,
clasping my button fly.
It was a new thing—him hearing wait.
It was a new thing—me being clambered-upon.

Small bodies should be born
knowing what
love feels like on skin terms.

Nights are long
with only wind smoothing haunches.
Is it worth it to crouch,
inch forward toward the dish of a palm?

If this doesn’t work,
he warned himself and me and unknown others,
I’ll go back to the way I was.

Purring is involuntary, internal.
Claws are internal except
when they are externalized.

What rule did I break by ending it?
What reward did I owe his try at patience?
What continuance do fingertips owe other skin?

Is heartbreak more or less
humane than starvation?

Body as Bird as Body

As a wren, she shrunk into shrubbery.
But not as wren—
no brief wings to shudder skyward.

As a starling, she insinuates herself
into murmurations, a lost-ness of black
on blue on black on blue.

As a barn owl, imperceptible
shadows in rafters.
But not as owl—not sparing the meat.

As a heron, twiggy stillness
sculpturing, obvious above
duckweed and cattails.

As a peahen, beige
full of eggs
behind blue fans of eyes.

As a wren, air barely
exerts beneath.
But not as a wren—of soil.

Store-bought Cookies

She ate oversweet cookies enough
to be ashamed of, thinking,
Damn him. Him just one more thing
to be unsure of—like the false
alarm of foreboding clouds,
the symmetry or not of butterflies’ wings,
the doneness of a baking
breadloaf’s deepest soft insides.

These cookies, she knew.
These crumbs sanding her cleavage,
these chocolate chips re-softened
by her lips’ heat,
these sweet starches brittle
between her teeth,
these things she knew
when confronted with them,

with their uniform rows
nestled in their plastic tray.
She knew how to slit open the wrapping,
knew how many would satisfy,
how many would make her feel ill,
how they felt inside her—
the same each
and every time.

Now available at

Ohio born and raised, Kerry Trautman is a founder of and the “Toledo Poetry Museum” page on Facebook, which promote Northwest Ohio poetry. Her work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and journals, including Slippery Elm, Free State Review, Mock Turtle Zine, Paper & Ink, Disappointed Housewife, Limp Wrist, Midwestern Gothic, and Gasconade Review. Kerry’s books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) To be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020,) and Marilyn: Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas (Gutter Snob Books 2022.)

Unknowable Things is a breathtaking collection of poetry by Kerry Trautman that explores the depths of the human experience with stark honesty and unflinching candor. Through evocative and powerful language, Trautman masterfully crafts the weight of human existence into poetry that is universal, self-reflective, and sincerely beautiful.

Each poem in this collection is a testament to Trautman’s skill at pulling deeper meaning out of the everyday ordinary, and her words are written with a smooth, polished, and tender touch. From start to finish, “Unknowable Things” is seamless, with not a word wasted or misplaced.

This collection is perfect for readers who are looking for poetry that speaks to the human condition in a powerful and relatable way. Whether you are an avid reader of poetry or new to the genre, we hope that these words will resonate with you and leave a lasting impression on your heart. So take a moment to slow down and savor each verse, allowing the rhythm and imagery to transport you to a world of introspection and self-discovery. We hope you will find solace and inspiration in these pages, and that you will return to them again and again as you navigate your own journey through the mysteries of the human experience.

Unknowable Things is seamless start to finish. Not a word wasted, or misplaced. No splinters. Each poem written with stark honesty, unflinching, yet smooth, polished and tender. Trautman masters the art of pulling deeper meaning out of the everyday ordinary, and effortlessly crafts the weight of human existence into poetry that is universal, self-reflective and outright beautiful.”—Dan Denton, author of Finding Jesus & Prayers to my Saints

Unknowable Things reads as if you’re holding a personal notebook that has somehow accidently been misplaced, only to wind up in your hands. Should you be reading Kerry Trautman’s personal notebook? Yes? No? You know, they say that there is excitement and enjoyment that comes from doing things that you know you shouldn’t do…so do it…get excited and enjoy how Trautman writes with a laid bare honesty that’s crafted and at times sharp enough to cut deep to the bone, like a sliver of a broken mirror that we can all see small pieces of our own reflections in. Trust me, it’s a beautiful thing.”—Victor Clevenger, author of 47 Poems

Excerpt from Abandoned By All Things by Karl Koweski

abandoned by all things

my brother phones
late at night,
he’s been drinking again,
asking if I might write
a few poetic lines
in honor of
our dead father
so Richie G can
temporarily immortalize
the words on
his forearm below
the half-finished angel,
a tribute to a dad
he vaguely remembers
from his early youth.

I haven’t written
in nearly a year.
not sure I want
to start now
with this.

no angel of the
heavenly variety
ever gazed favorably
upon the actions
of our father.
his prayers
never extended beyond
the patron saint of
fast women
and slow horses.

thirty years dead, now,
he lorded over nothing
more regal than
a push broom
and mop bucket.

his navy blue shadow
and watchmen cap halo
have receded into
a dull oblivion
of purposefully
forgotten memories.

I have nothing
more to offer
as eulogy.
he lived and died
as we live and die,
abandoned by all things.

there is no money in coloring for the flipper-armed masses

I learned the correlation
between art and commerce
at the age of seven years
when, having crayoned
through an entire Black Hole
movie tie-in coloring book
I showed my work to Dad
for his artistic critique.

a day later, he gave
a dollar to me, saying
he sold the coloring book
to a lady at his job site.

even so young, my father’s
words struck me as implausible.
why would anyone want
to buy a coloring book that
had already been colored?

my father furrowed his brow,
said something about the
woman’s son having been born
with flippers for arms
unable to color his own.
the explanation was
good enough for me.

I rifled through my room
gathering all my old coloring
books and during a hand
cramping Crayola marathon,
managed to fill every
blank page within.

I presented the eight book trove
to my father the next evening
estimating enough capital
represented by that artwork
to purchase three Star Wars figures.

he returned home from work
empty-handed, citing
market saturation and
an increase in supply
versus a decrease in demand,
there being only so many mothers
raising flipper-armed children.

but I figured he just
took the money he earned
from my artistic endeavors
and spent it on booze,
and I vowed from that moment
on, never again to use an
intermediary to sell any
of my masterpieces, again.

Now available at

Karl Koweski is a displaced Region Rat now living in rural Alabama. He writes when his pen allows it. He’s a husband to a lovely wife and father to some fantastic kids. He collects pop culture ephemera. On most days he prefers Flash Gordon to Luke Skywalker and Neil Diamond to Elvis Presley.

“Unless you’re Charles Bukowski (dead) or Billy Collins (alive) the world doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your poetry. Instagram and TikTok poets may be taking the world by storm but I don’t know about it. Karl Koweski gets it. I adore the lack of pretension in this collection. No pretense, no bullshit, no pulpit. These are not the holier than thou words of some hipster poet speaking down to you from the heights of an overturned craft beer crate but the real words of a writer who has fucking lived and loved. A lot of poetry collections I’ve read in recent years have ended up in the free library at the duck park. I’ll hold onto Under Normal Conditions and Abandoned By All Things because several of the poems made me laugh until I cried and as I read I thought, “I have got to share these with my son.””—Misti Rainwater-Lites, Author of Clown Gravy and others

“Karl Koweski’s latest book Abandoned By All Things is Karl at his best. It reads as a poetry memoir, maybe embellished or maybe just fact the way he remembers it. It doesn’t matter it is written with a poet’s eye and it will have you turning the page, wanting more from the very first poem about coming of age with rolled up socks to burning hipsters alive to of course the Cubs losing to the true mission of all cub scouts. It is not always politically correct and that is what makes it good. It is every boy growing up and reflecting back on what was lost and found. It is being honest about the dumb things we did growing up, about being a father. It is the origin, the birth of the Polish Hammer. But most of all, it is without a doubt a great collection of poems that you will be happy to read more than once.”—Scot Young, author of They Said I Wasn’t College Material and others

Review by Lori Howe: Ain’t These Sorrows Sweet by Lauren Scharhag

In Ain’t These Sorrows Sweet, Lauren Scharhag invites readers into her hand, lifts us across space and time, and offers us the nourishment of memory cached in beans and light, in tomatoes and rosaries and barbacoa. She illuminates the crossroads of time and history and inheritance as they culminate in our own mouths and are stitched into our skins. In an elegant handful of words, she invites us inside her life: “I tasted time in each umami bite. I tasted 15,000 years…and though I am not full-blooded,/ I am full.” (“Sorting the Beans,” p. 3)

These are the poems of a woman who feels the weight of the past and the urgency of the now. As she reminds us in the fine poem, “Two Inches,” “We pass through the days like a funnel, not realizing/how it gets smaller and smaller towards the end,” and with this call to living our precious, fragrant lives, urges us to enjoy the treasure of love and intimacy in “Snow, Frost, Moon”: “We must not/waste these long nights./Silver dawn will find the thrash/of the snow angels we’ve left behind.”

This book is a feast replete with cilantro and the ache of women’s laughter, enough to sustain us through any unexpected bleakness, and back into the light, eyes afire, hungry.

—Lori Howe, author of Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains (Sastrugi Press, 2015) and Voices at Twilight (Sastrugi, 2016). Founding Editor in Chief, Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor.

Review by Linnet Phoenix: Ain’t These Sorrows Sweet by Lauren Scharhag

Today, I finished reading Ain’t These Sorrows Sweet and what a journey we have been on, through dark places, wonderfully described: “Burned out encampments in railroad yards give no scent of myrrh.” This book contains beautiful, heart-wrenching narrative poems which it has been a tearstained pleasure to read. I realised that the book was a tour of grief in all its many forms. But it was deeply personal & equally universal. Who of us hasn’t felt: “I want to whisper to this broken bouquet it’s all right, darlings, I wasn’t good enough either.” In-between starting to read this book and finishing today, I suddenly, tragically, lost a very dear friend of mine. Someone who was so part of the furniture of my day-to-day world that it felt like the world had tilted off its axis. I found, as I moved further on in this book, that there came soothing tones: “I wonder what it’s like to live on sweetness and air, to have every branch and sprig a suitable bed for spinning dreams.” But, without a doubt, I was left with overriding feelings that were visceral and clear. I caught Covid for a second time just after the bereavement, and currently am struggling with if I will regain my senses of taste and smell. So, imagine my sense of synchronicity when I found a poem containing that same fear. These poems are indeed as the writer describes: “Now, when I think of poetry, I think it should be like that: hot, gleaming steel.” I would recommend this book to those who have known grief landing as it does, with clawed feet & black feathers. Creaking as it does, with black canine pad-foot and rancid breath; for, in the open, vulnerable, humanity of the writer sharing her personal history and world, you may find comfort and a hand to hold.

—Linnet Phoenix, author of Urban Mustang

Ain’t These Sorrows Sweet can be ordered at

Review by Anthony Mangos: INNOCENT POSTCARDS by John Pietaro

‘Innocent Postcards’: Progressive poetry reflects 20th-century politics and culture

by Anthony Mangos, People’s World

Author-poet-musician John Pietaro has been a constant, positive force in the ongoing progressive culture of New York City. Hailing from Brooklyn, Pietaro’s passions are equal parts literature, music, workers’ rights, and social activism. He founded the Dissident Arts and Brecht Lives! festivals, and fronts the poetry/punk jazz ensemble the Red Microphone, who regularly record and perform in the New York City area. Pietaro’s latest project, Innocent Postcards: Poetry, Ciphers, Verse, is a collection of poems and verse recalling the 20th-century era of Cold War, cool jazz, and American pop culture.

The collection is thought-provoking, influenced by mid-century jazz and politics…read the full review here

Interview with Leon Horton, editor of GREGORY CORSO: TEN TIMES A POET

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Interview by Michael Limnios

Q&A with countercultural writer, interviewer, and editor Leon Horton; editor of book Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet


“Where would we be without it? Literature helps us to understand the world, to see and feel and empathise with other cultural values, other points of view. It stimulates our thinking and, on a very basic level, entertains us.”

Leon Horton: Under the Counterculture

Leon Horton is a countercultural writer, interviewer, and editor. A regular contributor to International Times and Beatdom, his essays and interviews include “Hunter S. Thompson: Fear and Loathing in utero”; “Keeper of the Sacred Scrolls: An Interview with Bill Morgan”; “Charles Bukowski: Only Tough Guys Shit Themselves in Public”; and Gerald Nicosia: Jack Kerouac in the Bleak Inhuman Loneliness”. He is the editor of a forthcoming book Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet, a collection of essays, memoirs, poetry, photography, and artwork in celebration of the legendary Beat poet. His new book Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet (Roadside Press) will be available from Amazon in June 2024 or can be pre-ordered at

(Photo: Leon Horton, a countercultural writer, interviewer, and editor)

He has written several feature articles on Beat-related subjects, most recently a piece on the English artist Jeff Nuttall for Beat Scene Magazine. Leon says: “For me, it all started when a friend lent me a copy of Naked Lunch, sometime back in 1991/92. I’d never even heard of William Burroughs or the Beat Generation at that time. I read Naked Lunch in one sitting, coming down from an acid trip, and I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, let alone that it was written and published in the late 1950s / early 60s. I haven’t looked at the world in the same way since.”


Interview by Michael Limnios

How has underground literature and the counterculture influenced your views of the world?

For me, it all started when a friend lent me a copy of Naked Lunch, sometime back in 1991/92. I’d never even heard of William Burroughs or the Beat Generation at that time. I read Naked Lunch in one sitting, coming down from an acid trip, and I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, let alone that it was written and published in the late 1950s / early 60s. I haven’t looked at the world in the same way since.

How did the idea for Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet come about?

It was on a trip to Athens. I was standing on the Acropolis, staring out across the city, lost in some sort of spiritual moment, when it dawned on me that I was standing where Gregory himself once stood. I determined there and then I was going to write something about his adventures in Greece. That essay, which is included in Ten Times a Poet, was subsequently published in the literary journal Beatdom in 2022. Shortly after, I made a throwaway comment on Twitter to a publisher about doing a Chapbook in celebration of Corso. The publisher (who shall remain nameless) was very keen but turned out to be a complete crook and the whole thing collapsed. Thankfully, Michele McDannold at Roadside Press was interested and wanted to develop the project into a full-length book. It’s down to her hard work, diligence, and patience with me that the book is going to be published. It’s taken a long time, with more and more brilliant writers, photographers, and artists coming on board – Anne Waldman, Ed Sanders, Neeli Cherkovski to name but three – and I think the result is a testament to Corso’s legacy.

What was it about Gregory’s life and work that touched you?

It’s curious, but I was quite dismissive of Gregory when I first read about him in the biographies of the other Beats or saw him in documentaries. I thought he was just a bitter hangover. It wasn’t until I started to read his poetry and learn about the trauma he faced in childhood and beyond that I realized what a remarkable survivor, what an incredible poet he was; capable of great humour and beautiful insight into the human condition.

He could be a nightmare to deal with, I know, but the outpouring of love for Gregory in Ten Times a Poet from those who knew, worked and lived with him just astounded me. Allen Ginsberg said Gregory was a better poet than himself. He was damn right.

Why do you think the Beat Generation continues to generate such a devoted following?

Well, we all love a rebel, don’t we? On some fundamental level, we need voices of dissent – especially in these shit-storm days we are currently living through. I don’t know; this is actually a difficult question to answer. I guess much of what the Beats said and did and wrote about in their time remains as pertinent, as true today, as it was back then – that need and willingness to cry out, “No, I won’t do as you say, go fuck yourself!”

How important is music to you? Does music affect your mood and inspiration?

Music has been hugely important throughout my entire life. My mother was (and still is) a huge fan of The Rolling Stones – I was listening to them in the womb. Growing up, I got to hear mum’s favourites: Rock ’N’ Roll, Motown, Soul, Blues… When I moved to Manchester in the late 1980s, I became friends with a lot of people, many of them musicians, who introduced me to so many different kinds of music and just opened up my world.

Does music affect my mood and inspiration? Even though I know nothing about it, I sometimes have jazz playing on the radio when I’m working. There’s something in those (wordless) beats and rhythms that I find conducive to writing.

What has been the most interesting period in your life?

Well, moving to Manchester in 1989 was precipitous – just in time to experience the so-called “Madchester” scene. It was like an explosion, with the legendary Factory Records and bands such as The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, and – my all time personal favourite – The Fall. There was no other band like The Fall. And two or three times a week we’d be popping pills and dancing our nuts off in the Hacienda. For a while there, albeit briefly, the Hacienda was the most famous nightclub on the planet and Manchester seemed like the centre of the universe. I didn’t see it at the time, of course, but when I think about it now I realise we were living through cultural history.

“Well, we all love a rebel, don’t we? On some fundamental level, we need voices of dissent – especially in these shit-storm days we are currently living through. I don’t know; this is actually a difficult question to answer. I guess much of what the Beats said and did and wrote about in their time remains as pertinent, as true today, as it was back then – that need and willingness to cry out, “No, I won’t do as you say, go fuck yourself!”” (Photo: Leon Horton, editor of book Gregory Corso: Ten Times a Poet)

Do you have a dream project you’d most like to accomplish?

Oh, yes. I’m working on a book about the 1965 International Poetry Incarnation that took place at the Royal Albert Hall. Seventeen poets performed that night, including Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Gregory Corso – but it was more than just a “Beats in Britain” thing. It was the event that is widely regarded as kick-starting the whole countercultural scene in the UK. Just before he passed away in 2023, I was lucky enough to interview poet and musician Pete Brown, who performed that night. Pete, as I’m sure you know, started out as a jazz poet and went on to write the lyrics for Cream’s “I Feel Free” and “White Room”. He was a remarkable man and a brilliant raconteur.

What socio-cultural impact does literature have today?

Where would we be without it? Literature helps us to understand the world, to see and feel and empathise with other cultural values, other points of view. It stimulates our thinking and, on a very basic level, entertains us. The mediums and the modes have changed with the rise of social media and other platforms – but that isn’t always a bad thing. I tend to look at it as similar to the mimeograph revolution and all the “little magazines” of the 1950s / 60s that helped democratise literature and give new writing a voice.

Let’s take a trip in a time machine. Where and when would you like to go? And what memorabilia / music would you take with you?

Oh, that’s easy. I’d go back to five minutes before Elton John’s parents were about to get down to it, with a copy of his greatest hits, and I’d say, “Oi! You two! No!” And then I’d play them the album and show them what the future will be if they don’t just stop what they’re doing.

What meetings / interviews have been the most important to you? Are there any memories you’d like to share?

Writing for International Times and Beatdom, I’ve had the honour and great fortune to interview some important names in Beat studies: Bill Morgan (author of The Typewriter is Holy and I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg), Gerald Nicosia (author of the superb Kerouac biography Memory Babe).

The one that stands out for me, however, was an interview with Victor Bockris for his forthcoming book, The Burroughs-Warhol Connection. Victor is an interviewer’s wet dream. The stories he told me, of the incredible artists he has either interviewed or written about – William Burroughs, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry… Pure gold! The dinner party he threw for Burroughs, Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol was nothing short of a disaster. I was crying with laughter when he told me about it.