Spanish Language Translation of Harold Norse

Though it’s been a while since any new posts to this website, there are exciting new developments around the work and legacy of Harold Norse that will be shared in the coming weeks. First among them is a series of Spanish language translations out of Sevilla, Spain where an energized group of young writers have launched Hojas de Hierba Editorial. A passion project of the young poetry aficionado Javier Romero and his comrades at Bukowski & Co. who are on the move with making the work of writers from the 20th century’s counter-culture accessible to a new generation of Spanish readers.

They recently published the second issue of their flag ship underground art magazine Big Sur that’s described as exploring new discursive and aesthetic territories. It’s packed with 300 + pages of poetry and photography, painting and illustrations, essays and interviews on cinema, music and dance. The section Ars Poetica features Romero’s translation of an essay I wrote about my friendship with Harold Norse and his influence as a mentor along with my ongoing work at preserving his legacy. The splashy layout includes two photos of myself and Harold around the time of his last poetry reading in 2008.

The issue begins with an essay “¿La otra generación Beat? Retazos de las sin ‘sombrero’ de America” that highlights women Beat writers including Hettie Jones, Joyce Johnson and Elise Cowen along with memorial tributes for recently departed ruth wiess and Diane di Prima. Hojas de Hierba Editorial translates as “leaves of grass” in reference to Walt Whitman who was an inspiration to fellow Brooklyn-native Norse. Big Sur also spotlights an essay by poet Eduardo Moga titled “Whitman: en los suburbs de la poesía” about Leaves of Grass. Morga’s translation of the great gay poet’s seminal collection was recently published by Galaxia Gutenberg.

Hojas de Hierba Editorial will publish the first foreign language translation of I Am Going to Fly Through Glass: Selected Poems of Harold Norse, translated by Moga, to be released in 2022. This marks the first time that Norse’s poems will be published in an entirely Spanish language edition. Previously his work has been printed in Greek and German translations. Five poems from the collection are featured in Big Sur accompanied by Ira Nowinski’s iconic 1978 black-and-white photograph of Norse sitting, with cigarette in hand, in North Beach’s Caffé Trieste.

With cutting-edge design and brimming with pages of full color photos, the second issue of Big Sur can be purchased online, but with only 1,000 issues printed, copies are certain to sell out, as happened with the premier issue shown below. Harold Norse’s love of language led him to fluency in French, German, Italian and Spanish. It’s inspiring to see a new generation of readers moved by the strength of Norse’s writing to ensure his poetry reaches readers who would otherwise miss out on the opportunity to explore his life and work.

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