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.

Harold Norse 1917-2009. Portrait © Rink Foto. All rights reserved.

Harold Norse 1916-2009. Photo © Rink Foto. All rights reserved.

 

Gay Writers at Café Flore, San Francisco, April 1984. Left to right: Jim Holmes, Harold Norse, Phil Willkie, Bryan Monte & Steve Abbott. Photo copyright © 1984 by Rink Foto. All rights reserved.

Gay Writers at Café Flore, San Francisco, April 1984. Left to right: Jim Holmes, Harold Norse, Phil Willkie, Bryan R. Monte & Steve Abbott. Photo copyright © 1984 by Rink Foto. All rights reserved.

 

Five men at Café Flore, San Francisco, April 1984. Left to right: Phil Willkie, Jim Holmes, unidentified man, Steve Abbott and Harold Norse. Photo © 1984 by Bryan R. Monte. All rights reserved.

Five men at Café Flore, San Francisco, April 1984. Left to right: Phil Willkie, Jim Holmes, unidentified man, Steve Abbott and Harold Norse. Photo  copyright © 1984 by Bryan R. Monte. All rights reserved.

 

No Apologies #2 Reading, Newspace, San Francisco, May 1984. Harold Norse, front, Steve Abbott, left front. Photo copyright © 1984 by Bryan R. Monte. All rights reserved.

No Apologies #2 Reading, Newspace, San Francisco, May 1984. Harold Norse, front, Steve Abbott, left front. Photo copyright © 1984 by Bryan R. Monte. All rights reserved.