(July 6, 1916 - June 8, 2009) U.S.A.
Born in New York City, Harold Norse got his B.A., Brooklyn College 1938; M.A., New York University 1951. At age 22 in 1939 he became a member of W. H. Auden's inner circle. William Carlos Williams called him "the best poet of your generation".
The 10-year correspondence between Norse and Williams (1951-1961) was published by Bright Tyger, San Francisco 1990. Williams wrote the Preface to Norse's translations of G. G. Belli, the 19th-century Roman dialect poet, published by Jargon Books, 1960; then by Villiers Ltd. London, 1974 and a second US edition Perivale Press 1974. That year City Lights published Norse's Hotel Nirvana: Selected Poems, establishing him among the leading Beat poets. He was nominated for the 1974 National Book Award.
Norse lived in the "Beat Hotel" in Paris, 1960-63, with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. There he wrote his experimental cut-up novel, Beat Hotel. With Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976, Norse became the leading gay liberation poet. His Memoirs of a Bastard Angel (1989), further established his reputation.
The book documents his relationships with W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, e.e. cummings, Tennessee Williams, William Carlos Williams, James Baldwin, Dylan Thomas, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Bukowski, Robert Graves, Anais Nin, Paul and Jane Bowles and many more. Love Poems, Crossing Press 1986, received wide critical acclaim.
Norse has produced 12 books of poetry and 3 of prose. He has received 2 NEA poetry grants and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poetry Association. His work has been praised by major writers including Robert Graves, James Baldwin, Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Anaïs Nin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti et al.
Harold Norse has spent half a century simultaneously at the center and in the vanguard of literary and homosexual subcultures - among W.H. Auden and James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams and Dylan Thomas, William Burroughs and Charles Bukowski, among many others.
He has been translated into German, French, Italian, Greek, Dutch, Tamil, Japanese, Arabic, etc., and has appeared in many anthologies.
Harold Norse died in San Francisco, California, of complications of old age. at 92.