elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Howard Moss (January 22, 1922 – September 16, 1987)

Howard Moss (January 22, 1922–September 16, 1987) was an American poet, dramatist and critic, who was poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine from 1948 until his death.

Moss was born in New York City. He attended the University of Michigan, where he won a Hopwood Award. He is credited with discovering a number of major American poets, including Anne Sexton and Amy Clampitt. He was a closeted homosexual.

W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman co-wrote a famously concise clerihew in his honor:
Is Robert Lowell
Better than Noel
His books are The Wound and the Weather (1946), The Toy Fair (1954), A Swimmer in the Air (1957), A Winter Come, A Summer Gone: Poems, 1946-1960 (1960), Finding Them Lost and Other Poems (1965), Second Nature (1968), and Selected Poems (1971), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Moss
Through Richard I met Howard Moss, the poetry editor of the New Yorker, who had a dry sense of humor and looked like Mr. Magoo, the nearsighted cartoon character with poached eyes and folds in his face. Howard lived on Tenth Street off Fifth Avenue in an apartment in a brownstone with a bright red door. He said he was “allergic” to cigarettes. In fact, he probably just didn’t like the smell of smoke, but in those days the smoker had such unquestioned rights that people who objected had to invent a medical excuse. Howard had stopped smoking two years earlier but still sucked a plastic cigarette all the time, a sort of pacifier. I, who smoked three packs a day, would become so desperate that I’d have to lean out his window – and pull the guillotine-style sash down to my knees, so that no smoke would leak back in his room. Even on freezing nights at midnight I’d be hanging out his window; now smokers would have to go down to the street.
Howard was a New Yorker born and bred and seemed a holdover from the 1950s. I never saw him out of a coat and tie, but not the sumptuous Italian suits men wear now. No, he always had on those pinched, buttoned-up, pin-striped Brooks Brothers “sack suits” writers and profs wore in the fifties with the skinny rep ties. He had a creased, unhappy face with a crooked smile on his lips and a little baritone, muted chuckle. He’d say something funny and despairing and chuckle and pull a long face. He had the famous New York humor that someone once defined as mordant Jewish wit strained through a martini. He was a Jew but never mentioned that. Howard actually drank martinis, which had largely been replaced by white wine by the time I came along. They didn’t seem to affect him any more than a glass of water would affect me.
It was always evening in Howard’s mind, but in the midst of these lengthening shadows ran his jaunty humor, which really was adorable and improbable as a puppy, a golden retriever, say. He was an addict of the wisecrack, an aficionado of the parting shot. No matter how sad his creased face might look, he could always, at some unexpected moment, wedge it open with a little smile. Or more often his eyes would become the crudest of stars (one horizontal line and one vertical), and he’d avert his gaze, turn his mouth down in a circumflex, nurse his invisible prop cigarette, then laugh at his own expense. –Edmund White, City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s
Further Readings :

City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s by Edmund White
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608192342
ISBN-13: 978-1608192342
Amazon: City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s

Groundbreaking literary icon Edmund White reflects on his remarkable life in New York in an era when the city was economically devastated but incandescent with art and ideas. White struggles to gain literary recognition, witnesses the rise of the gay rights movement, and has memorable encounters with luminaries from Elizabeth Bishop to William Burroughs, Susan Sontag to Jasper Johns. Recording his ambitions and desires, recalling lovers and literary heroes, White displays the wit, candor, and generosity that have defined his unique voice over the decades.

Art and Sex in Greenwich Village: A Memoir of Gay Literary Life After Stonewall by Felice Picano
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Basic Books (June 28, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786718137
ISBN-13: 978-0786718139
Amazon: Art and Sex in Greenwich Village: A Memoir of Gay Literary Life After Stonewall

A decade after the Stonewall rebellions, a small, all-gay press named Seahorse began along with Calamus Books and JH Press, which all came together to form Gay Presses of New York. Gay Presses of New York was not only the most successful gay press of its day, but the founders had made their move at the right time and place. Gay Presses of New York also played apart in the growth of what is now gay culture, consisting of bookstores, magazines, newspapers, theater companies, and art galleries. Many aspects of the arts, as they swirled around New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco during the 1970s through 1991 were connected to Gay Presses of New York.

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Tags: author: howard moss, gay classics

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