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4.4 out of 5 stars8
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on November 22, 2012
Some months ago I took this book off the bookshelf when I wanted something to read at the laundromat, and I didn't know that whenever I go out, to coffee house or again to laundromat, that subsequently this is the book that I always would take. From beginning to end it is delightful - I can't begin to say what a wonderful poet Corso is. He does things with words that are special - for example, the first line of his poem "Paris": "Childcity, Aprilcity . . . ." A joy.
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on February 6, 2014
Gasoline was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti 's City Lights Books in 1958 when Ferlinghetti and Corso were still on the same page as celebrity Beat Poets along with Alan Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. It is considered by critics as an undistinguished work, and deservedly so. Corso lived a romantic and heroic life, abandoned as a child, brought up in a Catholic orphanage, occasionally visited by his abusive father, was frequently arrested as a juvenile for petty theft and thrown into a notorious New York prison, Clinton Prison, where he was befriended by Mafioso kingpin Lucky Luciano after a conviction for stealing a suit he wanted to wear on a date. He met Ginsberg at a lesbian bar in Boston and Ginsberg befriended him . Ginsberg reportedly carried a romantic crush for Corso, who was straight. He then met Archibald Macleish at Cambridge and spent the rest of his life carousing around Europe with his Beat friends and giving poetry readings with them. He capitalized on two of his poems which had become well-known: Marriage and The Bomb (written in the form of a mushroom cloud). He wrote one other notable poem, Elegiac Feelings American, dedicated to Kerouac. Otherwise he was savaged by the critics and Life and Time magazines ,which made him a celebrity. (That and a reading in Los Angeles where he and Ginsberg did their reading in the nude, shocking the audience as well as the critics!) He died at the age of 70 from prostate cancer in 2001. While Gasoline is of historic importance to Corso and the Beats, it has no significant poems. In fact most of them -- as Burroughs subtly noted in his back page endorsement-- "suffer reverses." One poem-- In Requiem for Bird Parker"-- is somewhat interesting because of its use of "be-bop" language, such as "cool," "man" and "crazy" which become part of the Beatnik vocabulary. But if you are looking for lyrical or well-crafted poetry that resonates, this is not where you will find it. His best poems can be found in other anthologies.
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on March 17, 2016
A top-five favorite poet for me, this purchase didn't disappoint.
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on November 25, 2014
Cranks the gears - like it should and more than most
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on March 5, 2009
Excellent poems. full of wit. I too at times take it with me. Great gasoline for the mind.
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on November 13, 2014
Not as great as it was cracked up to be.
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on December 13, 2000
I bring this book with me when I travel. I keep it next to the bed at night. I have spare copies.

Update 11 years later: this book lays open the soul of the Beats. On these pages the author staples the despair, joy, pain, and confusion of his unwilled existence in our glorious, frightening, maddening world. You can see and feel with him, your skin will catch fire and the heat will burn and scar your lungs.

What is the Gasoline? Read it. Corso will show you, intimately.
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on July 11, 2010
I'm not going to wax poetic about this book, but I enjoyed it. It had a bizarro aspect to it that I enjoyed. Mexicans sure were mentioned a lot. I guess Corso likes Mexicans.

...Wait, I think Corso is a Hispanic name. That might explain it.
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