Harold Norse was a seminal figure in San Francisco’s poetry scene from the early 1970s to his death in 2009. In New York in the 1940s he befriended W.H. Auden and William Carlos Williams. In the 1950s, he lived for five years in Italy. In the early 1960s, he worked with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs on his “cut-up” technique in Paris. He became engaged in the gay liberation scene in the late ’60s and early ’70s when he moved to San Francisco.
Norse’s most important books include Carnivorous Saints: Gay Poems 1941-1976 (Gay Sunshine Press, 1977), Beat Hotel, (Atticus Press, 1983), Memoirs of a Bastard Angel (William Morrow, 1989) and collected poems, In the Hub of the Fiery Force, Collected Poems of Harold Norse 1934-2003, (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003).
Below are photos by Rink Foto and Bryan R. Monte which captured Norse in San Francisco at cafes and readings during the ’70 & ’80s.