Harold Norse

Harold Norse by Allen Ginsberg We received word that Harold Norse passed away on Monday. He was 92. 

The Beat Museum will be hosting a Memorial for Harold Norse on Sunday, July 12th, time TBA.

From the Beat Museum: "In 1951, Norse's talent was recognized by William Carlos Williams, who invited him to read at the Museum of Modern Art in early 1952. Williams remarked on Norse's ability to "use the direct image on its own," and became an important mentor to Harold. Williams would later call Norse "the best poet of his generation," a profound accolade considering Williams was mentor to such figures as Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, and Allen Ginsberg. Following the 1953 publication of his first book of poetry, The Undersea Mountain, which was reviewed in The New York Times and Poetry magazine, Norse left America for Italy.

"In 1957, Norse was nearly deported from Italy when the Italian government deemed his poem "Victor Emmanuel Monument (Rome)," political fodder for the Communists.

"Norse moved to Paris in 1960, on a tip from Williams and, at the Beat Hotel, met Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and others, drawn by their interest in Buddhist meditation, which Norse had recently taken up. Using the cut-up technique devised by Gysin and Burroughs, Norse wrote his experimental novel, Beat Hotel. Originally titled Sniffing Keyholes, the first chapter—which he describes as "a sex/dope scene between a muscular black youth called Melo and a blond Russian princess called Z.Z."— made even the often stoic Burroughs laugh. During his time at the Beat Hotel, Norse began creating his 'random paintings' or Cosmographs (using the hotel's bidet).

"Norse returned to America in 1969 and, with Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976, became a leading gay liberation poet. For the last 35 years he lived in San Francisco’s Mission District."

Friends have created a memorial website http://haroldnorse.com/ But apparently the bandwidth has been exceeded and you may have difficulty reaching the site.

One thought on “Harold Norse”

  1. Scenes from my play about Harold Norse–
    “Future Sanskrit” will happen for the Howl Festival in Manhattan Sept 4 5 or 6

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