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Norse Who?

Joe Holley

Emily Dickinson, arguably the greatest American poet of the 19th century, wrote hundreds and hundreds of poems, squirrelled them away in her dresser drawer and wasn't "discovered" until after her death. Harold Norse may have been one of the best 20th-century poets most people have never heard of. Norse, who died June 8 in San Francisco, said he labored in the shadows because he did nothing to publicize himself or his work.

"I had a big ego," he said in a 2000 interview, "but I always said -- and it was a stupid thing that I lived by -- 'I won't lift a finger to publicize my work. It has to come from the outside.' So in a way I buried myself."

Here's a sampling of Norse's work. Did he deserve to be better known?

By Joe Holley  |  June 14, 2009; 4:56 PM ET
Categories:  Joe Holley  
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