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Indybay Feature

Queer Beat Poet Harold Norse's North Beach Reading

Sunday, March 16, 2008
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Event Type:
Tate Swindell
Location Details:
The Beat Museum
540 Broadway (at Columbus)
North Beach, San Francisco

Harold Norse, the legendary queer beat poet, political activist and writer, will make a rare public appearance this Sunday, March 16, starting at 2:00 pm at the Beat Museum, 540 Broadway, in North Beach. He will be introduced by his good friend and fellow poet Neeli Cherkovski.

When Harold spoke last July at the Beat Museum, so many of his admirers came out to hear him that it was a standing room only occasion. I was there and the reading was truly a unique "only in San Francisco" event, brimming with colorful local characters proud of our off-beat culture and writers.

Come out this Sunday and join the special celebration of Harold's long life and many books. This icon of the queer community and literary world is a spry 91-years-old. He's also an entertaining story-teller and he deserves the veneration of an appreciative audience.

Here are excerpts from the Beat Museum's biography of Harold:

Born 1916, New York City. 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, cited by scholar/critic Nicholas Jenkins in The New Yorker, April 1, 1996. 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. [...]

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, published in German by Maro Verlag, Augsburg 1973, now in its 30th printing. [...]

With Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976, Gay Sunshine Press 1977, Norse became the leading gay liberation poet. His Memoirs of a Bastard Angel (William Morrow), 1989, preface by James Baldwin, further established his reputation. [...]

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.
Added to the calendar on Fri, Mar 14, 2008 10:03AM
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