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CHARLES NORMAN, PROLIFIC POET.

Byline: William Grimes The New York Times

Charles Norman, a poet and the author of biographies of E.E. Cummings, Ezra Pound and other literary figures, died Tuesday at Newport Hospital in Newport, R.I. He was 92 and lived in Newport.

Norman was born in Russia and in 1910 was brought by his parents, whose surname was Bloom, to the United States.

He attended New York University from 1921 to 1924, and in 1922 sailed to South America as a seaman on a freighter, an experience that furnished the material for his first volumes of verse, ``The Far Harbor: a Sea Narrative'' (1924) and ``Tragic Beaches: a Book of Narrative Poems About the Sea'' (1925).

In the late 1920s, he turned to journalism. He wrote for The Paris Times and was an assistant night editor for the North American Newspaper Alliance. He later worked for the Associated Press, United Press International, Time and P.M. He also continued to write poetry. Alfred A. Knopf published ``Poems'' in 1929, and ``The Bright World and Other Poems'' appeared the next year.

After serving in the infantry in World War II, Norman returned to his job at P.M. and published two volumes of war poetry, ``The Savage Century'' (1942) and ``A Soldier's Diary'' (1944). He also wrote his first biography, ``The Muses' Darling'' (1946), a life of Christopher Marlowe.

From 1947 to 1950, he taught Shakespeare at New York University, an interest reflected in his second book, ``So Worthy a Friend: William Shakespeare'' (1947). Many literary biographies followed, including ``Mr. Oddity: Samuel Johnson, LL.D.'' (1951) and ``Rake Rochester'' (1954). He was best known for ``The Magic-Maker: E.E. Cummings'' (1958) and ``Ezra Pound'' (1960).

Norman also wrote many works for young readers, notably a series of books about a quirky family called the Jonquils. ``Mr. Upstairs and Mr. Downstairs'' (1950) was the first in the series, followed by ``The Crumb That Walked'' (1951) and ``Hunch, Munch and Crunch'' (1952). He also wrote several biographies for young readers.

Norman's other poetry collections included ``Selected Poems'' (1963), ``The Portents of the Air and Other Poems'' (1973) and ``The Hornbeam Tree and Other Poems'' (1988).

His verse trilogy, ``A Fall of Brightness,'' won the first Drama Award of the National Arts Club in 1964. He exhibited his paintings at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1940.

He is survived by his daughter, Anne Rose Morton, of Wilmington, N.C., and a grandson.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Sep 15, 1996
Words:411
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