Memoirs of a Bastard Angel

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9780688067045: Memoirs of a Bastard Angel

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.

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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.

From Library Journal:

Norse, author of Beat Hotel (1983) and over a dozen book of poetry, has written a gossipy, bawdy memoir recounting an adventurous life on three continents. Although he describes himself as an outsider, Norse was friendly with some of the most important writers of his time, and his book includes anecdotes on a host of literary lions, among them W.H. Auden, James Baldwin, William Carlos Williams, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs. The discrimination Norse encountered as a homosexual and a Jew is a central theme in this memoir celebrating tolerance and love over prejudice and hatred. While the book may not win Norse many new readers, it will be welcomed by those already familiar with his work.
- William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Harold Norse, James Baldwin (Foreword)
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