Memoirs of a Bastard Angel

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9780688067045: Memoirs of a Bastard Angel

Harold Norse has spent half a century simultaneously at the center and in the vanguard of literary and homosexual subcultures. His career began in 1939, when W. H. Auden seduced and “married” Norse’s college lover, Chester Kallman. In Greenwich Village Norse became an intimate of James Baldwin (then working on his first novel) and in Provincetown lived with Tennessee Williams, who was completing The Glass Menagerie. In 1952, William Carlos Williams presented Norse at his reading debut calling Norse “the best poet of your generation.” Other admirers included Anais Nin, Dylan Thomas, Christopher Isherwood, and e.e. Cummings. In the 1960s in Paris, Norse codeveloped the innovative Cut-up method while living in the Beat Hotel with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Gregory Corso. In North Africa, Greece, and Spain Norse befriended Robert Graves, Leonard Cohen, and Paul and Jane Bowles. Repatriating to Venice, California, in 1968, Norse formed a literary alliance with Charles Bukowski (who called him “one of the great ones”) and lifted weights with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Under any circumstances this book would be a major social document, but because he is a superb, evocative stylist, Harold Norse’s candid autobiography is an engrossing classic of its kind. “Harold Norse’s beautiful Memoirs (are) going to be right by my bedside with Flaubert and Marquez. It’s an exalted work!”—Andrei Codrescu, “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio “Magically evocative and visual, Memoirs of a Bastard Angel literally reads itself. ”—William Burroughs “Harold Norse has lived a life beyond my powers of imagination.”—Armistead Maupin

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Product Description:

By the author of 12 volumes of poetry and the novel "Beat Hotel", this autobiography describes the life of a man who was for over 50 years at the centre of creative culture and homosexual subculture in three continents. Friend and secretary of W.H.Auden in 1939, he became an intimate friend of James Baldwin and lived with Tennessee Williams during the writing of "The Glass Menagerie". He spent time at the Beat Hotel with William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, in Tangier with Paul and Jane Bowles, in Spain with Robert Graves, and in Greece with Leonard Cohen. In the late 1960s he moved to California, where he formed a literary alliance with Charles Bukowski and did bodybuilding with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He presents vivid portraits of the great writers of his time.

From Publishers Weekly:

Norse ( Beat Hotels ) immerses the reader in bohemian and gay subcultures in this freewheeling, name-dropping autobiography. In the early, slightly acrimonious chapters, W. H. Auden steals his lover, Chester Kallman, who became Auden's lifelong companion. Norse dispenses an abundance of stories: he read James Baldwin's first novel in an early draft; he shared a cabin with Tennessee Williams in Massachusetts; William Carlos Williams was a mentor of sorts; Jackson Pollock and Dylan Thomas were his drinking buddies. He spent time in Paris with William Burroughs; lived in Rome; practiced Buddhist meditation in Spain; made the Venice, Calif., "scene" in the late 1960s. Among the friends and acquaintances here are Anais Nin, Ezra Pound, Charles Bukowski, Paul Bowles and John Cage. Yet some of this memoir's most powerful scenes occur far from the glitter, as when Norse recounts his squalid Brooklyn childhood or describes how, while working in a WW II shipyard, he witnessed a black man beaten to death. Photos.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Harold Norse
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