An Interview With Harold Norse, Part One, Section One: The Art of Teaching

In 1992, I interviewed my friend and literary mentor, Harold Norse.

I moved in with Norse in July of 1984 and moved out in August of 1989 .

Scan of the Harold Norses Signature in my copy of Carnivous Saint
Norse signed my copy of Carnivorous Saint a few months after I moved in with him.

I spent two years in Los Angeles where I did some free-lance writing
for the gay press.

I moved back to San Francisco in the spring of 1992 and invited Norse
over to see my new digs in the Tenderloin.

Norse and I spontaneously decided to do an interview that turned into a
frank discussion of the work we did together as student and teacher.

Most people in San Francisco’s gay lit scene thought my relationship
with Harold Norse was sexual; it wasn’t.

We had a passion for each other, but it was not sexual.

In retrospect, we had an affair of the intellect.

There is a rhythm to the interview as Norse and I adjust to our relationship
as equals.

In this first section, we discuss who I was when we met and how Norse approached the task of being a teacher.

There is a moment of silence as Norse reads a short poem by someone
I was teaching.

I open this section of the interview by mentioning the power of his poems
Karma Circuit and Addio.

Scan of Addio from Karma Circuit, 1965, by Harold Norse
Addio by Harold Norse

When Norse and I mention ‘The Cottage’, we are discussing a two-bedroom cottage on Albion Street in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Photograph of Fall leaves on Albion Street
“Get the unconscious going without fear of criticism.” Harold Norse, 1992, on writing.

An interview with Harold Norse Part 1, Section 1, The Art of Teaching

To hear part two click here.

Interview and photograph of Albion Street (c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved










17 thoughts on “An Interview With Harold Norse, Part One, Section One: The Art of Teaching

  1. What an amazing recording of an exceptional and neglected poet! I, too, was a friend of Harold Norse. Since his death in 2009, I have been keeping his legacy accessible and would love to include your posts on Please contact me if you’re interested in granting such permission via poet/at/ Kind regards, Todd Swindell

  2. Awesome. I like how you introduce the first part of the interview in your text on the post so we know more what to expect. The best line in the interview: “I can bring out verse from a stone.” I look forward to hearing the other parts!

    1. Thanks Christy. I loved that line too. I’ve puzzled over how to edit and present this interview because because it’s more like a conversation between a father and a son than it is a literary interview.

      1. It’s true that I could tell there was quite the bond between the two of you as I listened to the audio. A family-like vibe. Not everyone forms that kind of relationship in adulthood (or ever) so it’s wonderful you had that xx

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