Born in New York City, Gregory Corso had a volatile life and career. His childhood was spent in a series of foster homes and sometimes on the street. To survive, he took up petty theft and ended up in prison from 1947-1950. On release, he worked as a manual laborer, an employee of the San Francisco Examiner, and a merchant seaman. In the mid-1950s, he became linked with the Beat writers and achieved some fame through his energetic poetry readings. He traveled widely in Europe and Mexico, often writing his irreverent, histrionic poems on the wing. Primarily a figure of the 1950s and 1960s, he continued to publish into the 1980s.