Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
|Died||February 3, 1981
New York City, New York, United States
|Occupation||Essayist, journalist, newspaper editor.|
Normand Poirier was born to French Canadian parents Raoul Rene Poirier and Therese LaPointe Poirier in Worcester, Massachusetts. Poirier graduated from Cornell University, where he played straight rail billiards.
Over the course of his lifetime, Poirier wrote for the Pottstown Mercury, the New York Post, Esquire, Newsday, Life, and The Saturday Evening Post. Having joined the New York Post in 1959, Poirier was considered "a star" reporter of "razor-sharp intellect and acute powers of observation." Poirier's sense of humor as a journalist also led him openly travel and tour Pottstown, Pennsylvania in 1955, while impersonating a Russian officer (the city was off-limits to Russian nationals at the time).
In August 1969, three months before news of the My Lai Massacre broke, Poirier's article An American Atrocity was published by Esquire magazine. The story was one of the first journalistic accounts of an American massacre and gang-rape of Vietnamese civilians. Although the magazine sent proofs to major news outlets, it was not picked up by the mainstream media.
Death and legacy
Poirier died on February 3, 1981, at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, New York. Credited as one of the first journalists to uncover American soldiers' atrocities during the Vietnam War, Poirier is also noted as the popularizer of and regular at The Lion's Head, an after-hours hangout among New York City writers (including many New Journalism writers)., In Pete Hamill's infamous eulogy to Poirier in the New York Times, he recognizes Poirier as an early influence.
Famous essays and articles
- "Normand Poirier." New York Times. February 4, 1981
- "Jean Poirier, M.D.." Stauffer Funeral Homes Obituary.
- "1951:Sports." As they saw it.
- "Story stirs memories of a real pro." The Prescott Courier. March 1, 1981.
- "Reporter Poses Unhindered as Red in Off-Limit Town." The Free-Lance Star. January 25, 1955.
- Grace Sevy, American Experience in Vietnam (1991) p 130
- "Years After Last Call, Keeping a Bar’s History Alive." New York Times. April 4, 2011
- "Roar of the Lion's Head!." Dennis Duggan. February 22, 1981
- "Between the Deadlines and Booze, A Life Slips Away." Prescott Courier. February 22, 1981
- "An American Atrocity." Esquire. August 1969