Harold Norse  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Harold Norse (born July 6, 1916, in New York City, died June 8, 2009 in San Francisco) was an openly gay American writer, who created a body of work using the American idiom of everyday language and images. One of the expatriate artists of the Beat generation, Norse was widely published and anthologized.


Norse became a part of W. H. Auden's "inner circle" at the age of 22, but soon found himself allied with William Carlos Williams, who rated Norse the 'best poet of [his] generation.' From 1954-59 he lived in Italy. He penned the experimental cut-up novel Beat Hotel in 1960 while living in Paris with William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. He returned to live in the U.S. in 1969.

Memoirs of a Bastard Angel traces Norse's life and literary career with W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, E. E. Cummings, Tennessee Williams, William Carlos Williams, James Baldwin, Dylan Thomas, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Paul Bowles, Charles Bukowski, Robert Graves, and Anais Nin. With Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976 Norse became a leading gay liberation poet. His collected poems, In the Hub of the Fiery Force, appeared in 2003.

Norse is a two-time NEA grant recipient, and National Poetry Association award winner. He has lived in the Mission District of San Francisco for the last 35 years.


  • Beat Hotel German tr. Maro Verlag, Augsburg, West Germany (1975); (in original English), Atticus Press (1983),
    Preface by William S. Burroughs; Italian tr. Giulio Saponaro, Stamperia della Frontiera, Caneggio, Switzerland (1985).
  • The Dancing Beasts (New York: Macmillan, 1962)
  • The Roman Sonnets of Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, Preface by William Carlos Williams and Introduction by Alberto Moravia, Highlands, NC, Jargon (1960); London, Villiers (1974); Van Nuys, CA, Perivale, 1974


  • New Directions 13, ed. James Laughlin, 1951
  • New World Writing 13, ed. Reed Whittemore
  • Mentor, New American Library, 1958
  • City Lights Journal, ed. L. Ferlinghetti, #1, 1963
  • #4 1978
  • Best Poems of 1968: Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards, ed. Hildegarde Flanner, 1969
  • Poems from Italy, translations, ed. William Jay Smith, Crowell, 1972
  • City Lights Anthology, ed. Ferlinghetti, City Lights 1974
  • A Geography of Poets, ed. Edward Field, Bantam 1979
  • The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse, ed. Stephen Coote, Penguin 1983
  • An Ear to the Ground, ed. Harris & Aguero, University of Chicago Press, 1989
  • Big Sky Mind: Buddhism & the Beat Generation, ed. Carole Tonkinson, Riverhead Books, NY, 1995
  • City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, City Lights, 1995
  • Mondadori (in Italian), 1997.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Harold Norse" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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