Norman Pritchard (poet)

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Norman Henry Pritchard, or N. H. Pritchard (October 22, 1939 – February 8, 1996),[1] was an American poet. He was a member of the Umbra poets, a collective of Black writers in Manhattan's Lower East Side founded in 1962.[2] Pritchard's poetry is considered avant-garde. His poems often include unconventional typography and spacing, as in "Harbour," or lack sentences entirely, as in " " ".


Pritchard was born in New York City. He studied for a B.A. degree at New York University, where he was president of his campus Fine Arts Society and an active contributor to his college's literary magazine.[1] He did graduate work at Columbia University, and taught briefly at the New School for Social Research and was a poet-in-residence at Friends Seminary.[1] During the years he was a member of the Umbra poets, his work appeared in magazines and journals such as Athanor, Liberator, Season, Negro Digest, Sail, Poetry Northwest, the East Village Other, and Gathering, as well as in several anthologies of African-American writing, including Walter Lowenfels's In a Time of Revolution (1969)[1] and Natural Process, edited by Ted Wilentz and Tom Weatherly.[3]

Pritchard's work was published in two books and three journals: The Matrix: Poems, 1960-1970 (Doubleday, 1970) and Eecchhooeess (New York University Press, 1971) New Jazz Poet(1967), The New Black Poetry(1969), and In a Time of Revolution: Poems from Our Third World(1969).[4] As Richard Kostelanetz states: "Only one one-man collection of visual poetry, for instance, has ever been commercially published in the United States, even though 'concrete' is reportedly 'faddish'; and since that single book, N. H. Pritchard’s The Matrix (1970), was neither reviewed nor touted, it seemed unlikely that any others would ever appear—another example of how the rule of precedent in literary commerce produces de facto censorship."[5]

Pritchard “stopped publishing in the early 1970s, and before his early death from cancer was residing in eastern Pennsylvania.”[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Black Chant: Languages of African-American Postmodernism, Cambridge University Press, pp. 130-133, 136.
  2. ^ Mentioned by James Hill writing about "Thomas Covington Dench", in Emmanuel Sampath Nelson (ed.), African American Dramatists: An A-To-Z Guide, Greenwood Press, 2004, p. 135.
  3. ^ "Pride And Militancy Reflected In Poems", review in The Virgin Islands Daily News - February 26, 1971.
  4. ^ "N. H. Pritchard". Poetry Foundation. Poetry Magazine. Retrieved February 16, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Why Assembling (1973)", Richard
  6. ^ The Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes. Kostelanetz, Richard. Hoboken. May 13, 2013. ISBN 978-1136806193. OCLC 864290887.CS1 maint: others (link)

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