Edward Field, born June 7, 1924, is a prolific, award-winning, American poet and author, a significant voice in LGBT literature and a World War ll veteran who lives in the West Village, New York, where he still writes. He has been involved in every step of this short film.
Field grew up in Lynbrook, Long Island with his five siblings. His father, Louis Field, was an art director for MGM Studios in the 1930s and 40s. He played cello, with his two older sisters on piano and violin, as the Field Family Trio, which appeared on the Horn and Hardart Amateur Hour on WNYC, and had a weekly radio program “The Field Family Trio and Their Romantic Melodies” on radio station WGBB Freeport.
Growing up, Field faced crippling anti-semitism in school and in the community. He has said when he joined the Army Air Force during WWII, he had no problem with his fellow soldiers as a Jew. Likewise, being gay was never an issue.
Field served in the war as a navigator on heavy bombers and flew 27 missions over Germany.
It was during the war that Field began writing poetry after a Red Cross worker handed him an anthology of poetry.
In 1963, his first book, “Stand Up, Friend, With Me” won the prestigious Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and was published by Grove Press. The same year he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for poetry.
In 1965, "To Be Alive," a short documentary by Francis Thompson for which he wrote the voiceover narration, won an Academy Award.
In 1999, he received a Lambda Award for “A Frieze for a Temple of Love,” published by Black Sparrow Press.
Field and his partner of 58 years, Neil Derrick (who passed away in 2018), collaborated together on fiction after Derrick lost his sight. They wrote the best-selling novel, “Village,” later reprinted as "The Villagers," which was a Book of the Month Club offering. Some of Field’s other published work includes “Variety Photoplays,” “A Full Heart,” “New and Selected Poems, From the Book of My Life,” “Counting Myself Lucky,” “The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag: And Other Intimate Portraits of the Bohemian Era,” “Kabuli Days: Travels in Old Afghanistan.” His papers are held by the University of Delaware.
Field has appeared on Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, and was featured on NPR. In 2018, Field was inducted into the New York Veteran’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding veterans who have distinguished military and civilian lives. He was also honored by SAGE, the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults. Michael Adams, the CEO, said this about Field:
"Edward Field is a hero. His dedication to his country illustrates how valuable LGBT service members are to our military."
EDWARD FIELD CREDITS
Stand Up, Friend, With Me (Grove Press, l963)
Variety Photoplays (Grove Press, l967)
Eskimo Songs and Stories (Delacorte, l973)
A Full Heart (Sheep Meadow Press, l977)
Stars In My Eyes The Lost, Dancing (Watershed Tapes, l984)
New And Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, l987)
Counting Myself Lucky, Selected Poems l963-l992 (Black Sparrow, l992)
A Frieze for a Temple of Love (Black Sparrow, 1998)
Magic Words (Harcourt Brace, 1998)
After the Fall, Poems Old and New (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 2007)
Fiction (with Neil Derrick)
The Potency Clinic (Bleecker Street Press, l978)
Die PotenzKlinik (Albino Verlag, Berlin, l982)
Village (by Bruce Elliot, pseud.)(Avon Books, l982)
The Office (Ballantine Books, l987)
The Villagers (Painted Leaf Press, 2000)
The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag, and Other Intimate Literary Portraits of the Bohemian Era (U. of Wisconsin Press 2006, paperback edition 2007)
Kabuli Days, Travels in Old Afghanistan (World Parade Books 2008)
Anthologies and Editorial
A Geography of Poets (Bantam Books l979)
(with C. Stetler/G. Locklin) A New Geography of Poets (U. of Arkansas Press, l992)
Ed., Head Of A Sad Angel, Stories by Alfred Chester (Black Sparrow l990). Introduction by Gore Vidal.
Ed., Looking For Genet, Essays by Alfred Chester (Black Sparrow Press l992)
Ed., Dancing With A Tiger, Selected Poems by Robert Friend (Spuyten Duyvil 2003)
Poetry and essays in The New Yorker, NY Review of Books, Gay & Lesbian Review, Partisan Review, Nation, NY Times Book Review, Michigan Quarterly, Raritan, Parnassus, Kenyon Review, etc.
Awards and Honors
Lamont Award (Academy of American Poets), l962; Guggenheim Fellowship, l963; Shelley Memorial Award (Poetry Society of America), l974; Prix de Rome (American Academy of Arts & Letters), l98l; Lambda Literary Award, l991; Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award (Publishing Triangle); W.H. Auden Award (Sheep Meadow Foundation); NY Veterans Hall of Fame
Wrote narration for documentary film, "To Be Alive", which won Academy Award l965
Readings at the Library of Congress, Poetry Center-YMHA, and hundreds of colleges and universities
DVD “Ack van Rooyen Invites Edward Field” (Regentenkamer 2010)