Edward Field (poet)

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Edward Field (born June 7, 1924) is an American poet and author.


Field was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to a family of Ashkenazi immigrants. He grew up in Lynbrook, Long Island, New York, and, being Jewish,[1][2] he and his family faced antisemitism and discrimination. He played cello in the Field Family Trio, which had a weekly radio program on WGBB Freeport. He served in World War II in the 8th Air Force in England and France, as a navigator in heavy bombers, and flew 25 missions over Germany. In February 1945 he took part in a raid on Berlin with his B-17. His bomber was crippled by flak and crash-landed in the North Sea. All ten crew members made it into the plane’s life rafts, but only seven of them managed to resist till the moment they were rescued by a British air-sea boat hours later.

He began writing poetry during World War II, after a Red Cross worker handed him an anthology of poetry. In 1963 his book Stand Up, Friend, With Me was awarded the prestigious Lamont Poetry Prize and was published. In 1992, he received a Lambda Award for Counting Myself Lucky, Selected Poems 1963–1992.[3]

Other honors include the Shelley Memorial Award, a Rome Prize, and an Academy Award for the documentary film To Be Alive, for which he wrote the narration. He received the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle in 2005.

In 1979, he edited the anthology A Geography of Poets, and in 1992, with Gerald Locklin and Charles Stetler, brought out a sequel, A New Geography of Poets.

He and his partner Neil Derrick (1931–2018),[4] long-time residents of Greenwich Village, wrote a best-selling historical novel about the Village, The Villagers. They were both artists in residence at Westbeth Artists Community since 1972.[5] Derrick died on January 5, 2018. As of 2018, Field continued to reside at Westbeth.[6] Field's narrative poem "World War II" is part of "Poets of World War II" anthology, published by the Library of America and edited by Harvey Shapiro.

In 2005 the University of Wisconsin Press published his literary memoirs The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag and Other Intimate Literary Portraits of the Bohemian Era, the title of which refers to the writer Alfred Chester.[7] His most recent book After the Fall: Poems Old and New was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2007.

British editor Diana Athill's Instead of a Book: Letters to a Friend (Granta Books, 2011) is a collection of letters from her to Field chronicling their intimate correspondence spanning more than 30 years.[8][9]

In 2019, Field's niece Diane Weishe produced the animated film "Minor Accident of War", inspired by his memories of survival during the World War II. Designed by Piotr Kabat, the film is narrated by Field.[10]



  • Icarus (1963)
  • Stand Up, Friend, With Me (Grove Press, 1963)
  • Variety Photoplays (Grove Press, 1967)
  • Eskimo Songs and Stories (Delacorte Press, 1973)
  • A Full Heart (Sheep Meadow Press, 1977)
  • Stars in My Eyes (Sheep Meadow Press, 1978)
  • The Lost, Dancing (Watershed Tapes, 1984)
  • New And Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 1987)
  • Counting Myself Lucky, Selected Poems 1963–1992 (Black Sparrow, 1992)
  • A Frieze for a Temple of Love (Black Sparrow Books, 1998)
  • Magic Words (Harcourt Brace, 1998)
  • After The Fall: Poems Old and New (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007)

Fiction (with Neil Derrick)[edit]

  • The Potency Clinic (Bleecker Street Press, 1978)
  • Die PotenzKlinik (Berlin: Albino Verlag, 1982)
  • Village (Avon Books, 1982)
  • The Office (Ballantine Books, 1987)
  • The Villagers (Painted Leaf Press, 2000)


  • The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag, and Other Intimate Literary Portraits of the Bohemian Era (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006, paperback edition, 2007)
  • Kabuli Days: Travels in Old Afghanistan (World Parade Books, 2008)
  • Voyage to Destruction: The Moroccan Letters of Alfred Chester (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022)

Anthologies and editorial[edit]

  • A Geography of Poets (Bantam Books, 1979)
  • (with C. Stetler/G. Locklin) A New Geography of Poets (University of Arkansas Press, 1992)
  • Editor, Head of a Sad Angel, Stories by Alfred Chester (Black Sparrow, 1990). Introduction by Gore Vidal.
  • Editor, Looking For Genet, Essays by Alfred Chester (Black Sparrow Press, 1992)
  • Editor, Dancing with a Tiger, Selected Poems by Robert Friend (Spuyten Duyvil, 2003)


Poetry and essays in The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Gay & Lesbian Review, Partisan Review, The Nation, Evergreen Review, New York Times Book Review, Michigan Quarterly, Raritan Quarterly Review, Parnassus, and Kenyon Review.


  • Wrote narration for documentary film To Be Alive, which won Academy Award, 1965
  • Readings at the Library of Congress, Poetry Center, YMHA, and hundreds of colleges and universities
  • Taught poetry workshops at the Poetry Center, YMHA, Sarah Lawrence, Hofstra U.
  • Editor of The Alfred Chester Society Newsletter

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "Edward Field Part 1".
  2. ^ "Edward Field Part 2".
  3. ^ "Previous Lammy Award Winners". Lambda Literary Foundation. Archived from the original on May 6, 2007. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
  4. ^ "Edward Field Papers: 1943 – 1994". University of Delaware Special Collections Department. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
  5. ^ "Edward Field: Poet". Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  6. ^ "Writer and Greenwich Village Mainstay Neil Derrick has Died". Lambda Literary. March 19, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  7. ^ Field, Edward (2005), The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, ISBN 0-299-21320-X
  8. ^ "Diana Athill introduces Instead of a Book: Letters to a Friend", YouTube, November 3, 2011.
  9. ^ "Diana Athill's letters: Dear Edward – Missives about everything, including the kitchen sink", The Economist, October 29, 2011.
  10. ^ New animated film honors Edward Field, WWII veteran and a hero on several fronts

External links[edit]