1924-06-07

EDWARD FIELD, American poet, born; Edward Field recounts his life in his poetry. He portrays himself as an aging New York Jewish Gay poet who likes plants, traveling, and popular culture and never got enough sex and companionship though he now gets more of the latter. The short version of his life is told in “Bio” (Counting Myself Lucky, 1992); the long version is the sum of all of his poems.

The critical discussion of Field centers on two issues, his diction and the confessional nature of his poetry. Field’s diction is straightforward and “unpoetic.” He does not seem to force the language into producing special effects, nor does he require his readers to have arcane knowledge. Field’s development as a Gay poet can be traced throughout his volumes. Apart from a sexually explicit version of the Ruth and Naomi story, which has not appeared in either of his collections of selected poems, and “Ode to Fidel Castro,” there are few explicit references to homosexuality in his first book Stand Up Friend With Me (1963), which won the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1962. Field’s life partner, Neil Derrick, with who he had spent 58 years, died in January 2018. His memoir The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag. For more: http://www.edwardfield.com