Saturday, June 13, 2009
Harold Norse dies at 92; Beat poet was a literary beacon in the gay community
Harold Norse never attained the recognition that he and others felt was his due. His mentor, poet William Carlos Williams, called him “the best poet of your generation.”
A pioneer of poetry written in plain American English, Norse was mentor or peer to great talents in 20th century American literature, including Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin and Allen Ginsberg.
Norse died of natural causes Monday at an assisted-living facility in San Francisco, according to his conservator, attorney Mark Vermeulen. He was 92.
A literary beacon in the gay community who risked ostracism by writing openly of his sexual adventures in the 1940s and '50s, Norse exiled himself to Europe for 15 years before returning to the United States and publishing such volumes as "Hotel Nirvana" (1974), which was nominated for a National Book Award, "Carnivorous Saint" (1977) and "In the Hub of the Fiery Force: Collected Poems" (2003).
I am sorry to say I didn't know his work. But I will defintely check it out now.