An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 3 – Saints and Self-Destruction

Art by Rob Goldstein

Part 3  of the interview begins where part 2 ends, with the question
of what drives Norse to write his kind of poetry.

Norse discusses his abusive father, the pain of his isolation as a
writer, and the years he spent in the closet.

He feels like a man without category.

He is not from the élite and he is not entirely of the poor.

He is not working class but he is not rich.

Norse was 53 in 1969, the year of the Stonewall Riots.

He was 60 when he published Carnivorous Saint and became
the poetic voice of the gay liberation movement.

Norse discusses recently published letters he received as a
young writer from W.H. Auden.

Auden advised Norse to accept the locked doors of the
literary world as a sign of his true calling in life as a saint.

Screenshot of an of W.H. Auden's letter to Harold Norse from the Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series in which Auden tells Harold Norse to accept locked doors ihn the literary world as a sign of his true callling as a saint A section of W.H. Auden’s…

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