Ann Charters: On "Bomb"

City Lights published his long poem Bomb as a multiple-paged broadside, with the text shaped as a mushroom cloud. Bomb was the poet's powerful address to the atomic bomb, cataloging the evolution of mankind's destructive tendencies, culminating in the bomb as "Death’s extravagance."

Budger of history Brake of time You Bomb

Toy of universe Grandest of all snatched-sky I cannot hate you

Do I hate the mischievous thunderbolt the jawbone of an ass

The bumpy club of One Million B.C. the mace the flail the axe

Catapult Da Vinci tomahawk Conchise flintlock Kidd dagger

Reining in his apocalyptic vision in "Bomb," Corso found a brief respite in humor:

There is a hell for bombs

They’re there I see them there

They sit in bits and sing songs

mostly German songs

and two very long American songs

He continues the joke:

... they wish there were more songs

especially Russian and Chinese songs

and some more very long American songs

Poor little Bomb that’ll never be

an Eskimo song

The menace of the bomb was never far distant, and Corso faced the horror squarely in his poem:

You are a paean an acme of scream

a lyric hat of Mister Thunder

O resound thy tanky knees

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM

BOOM ye skies and BOOM ye suns

..............................

nights ye BOOM ye days ye BOOM

BOOM BOOM ye winds ye clouds ye rains

go BANG ye lakes ye oceans BING ...

Yes Yes into our midst a bomb will fall.

From The Columbia History of American Poetry. Ed. Jay Parini. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Copyright © 1993 by Columbia University Press.

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Criticism Overview
Title Ann Charters: On "Bomb" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Ann Charters Criticism Target Gregory Corso
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 05 Jul 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication The Columbia History of American Poetry
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