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              Guest For  Thursday, JUNE 12, 2008



       Due to a mix up with the server the site may not display correctly.

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                    NORMAN MACAFEE


                         Norman MacAfee

                          Writer / Poet


          The Coming of Fascism to America

                  The Death of the Forest

              The Gospel According to RFK

       The Presidency of Al Gore, 2001-2009

One Class: Selected Poems 1965-2005



  The program can be viewed in its entirety by clicking the you tube link below:

      Norman MacAfee - Air date: 06-12-08 - NORMAN  MACAFEE





Welcome to Norman MacAfee’s website

Norman MacAfee
    Photograph Copyright © 2001 by Miguel Cervantes-Cervantes.
This website protected by U.S. and international copyright conventions and laws. 
Copyright © 1998, 2008 Norman MacAfee

The Death of the Forest

Curriculum vitae

Other Links

Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts (MIFA)

Beppie Blankert Dance Concerts

Cervena Barva Press Interview

Norman MacAfee’s Blog on
The Huffington Post

This site is called “Forest” because of Norman MacAfee’s opera, The Death of the Forest, set to music he has chosen by Charles Ives. The executive artistic director of the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts/MIFA, Donald T. Sanders, has written, “I think that The Death of the Forest can become an American cultural treasure produced by opera companies the world over.” Click here to see a drawing by Norman MacAfee for the cover of the libretto of The Death of the Forest

     Norman MacAfee is a writer, translator, visual artist and editor, who lives in Greenwich Village with Miguel Cervantes Cervantes, a plant biochemist. To read an interview about Norman MacAfee published in August 2006 click here

   The Gospel According to RFK: Why It Matters Now, Norman MacAfee outlines a vision for America inspired by the 1968 presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. You may buy the book from Amazon.

     Norman MacAfee’s books of poetry include One Class: Selected Poems, 1965-2005, A New Requiem, and The Coming of Fascism to America

     His translation (with Lee Fahnestock) of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is the only complete modern edition in English. Since its publication by Signet in 1988, it has sold more than 800,000 copies. The MacAfee-Fahnestock translation is the official tie-in edition for what has been called “the world’s most popular musical.” To buy Les Misérables from Amazon, click here.

     Norman MacAfee has translated (with Luciano Martinengo) the only edition of the major poems of the Italian filmmaker and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975). Though better known as a master filmmaker, Pasolini was an important writer, called by the American Book Review one of the three great poets of the twentieth century. Pier Paolo Pasolini: Poems is published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. See reviews for Pasolini: Poems and buy the book.

     Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) are two of the twentieth century’s greatest writers. Norman MacAfee and Lee Fahnestock have translated the only English edition of Sartre’s letters, edited by Simone de Beauvoir, in two volumes,  Witness to My Life and Quiet Moments in a War, published by Scribner in New York and Penguin in England. Click on the titles if you wish to buy the book. MacAfee’s screenplay, Life Begins Tomorrow, is based on events in the letters. 

     MacAfee’s poems and other writings have appeared in over 30 magazines. Click here for a list of his publications. 

     See his curriculum vitae for a list of future projects, including Life Begins Tomorrow, and The Ballad of Malcolm Macfie

Norman MacAfee’s E-mail address is: nsmacafee@earthlink.net

Last updated: May 26, 2008


Norman MacAfee
55 West 11th Street, #8d
New York, NY 10011
(212) 924-8247


Biographical entries in Who’s Who in America and Contemporary Authors

Click here for a printable PDF version

       “I think The Death of the Forest, Norman MacAfee’s  visionary opera to the music of Charles Ives, can become an American cultural treasure produced by opera companies the world over.”—Donald T. Sanders, executive artistic director, Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts/MIFA

       “Norman MacAfee is a new presence, a new energy in American writing”—James Purdy on A New Requiem

       “A badly needed corrective offering compassion, understanding, and optimism and providing an alternative way of dealing with the pessimism and despair fed to us daily by the present administration.”—Vine Deloria, Jr., about The Gospel According to RFK: Why It Matters Now

       “A challenging work of great originality. Not since John Dos Passos USA trilogy has a writer made such effective use of fugal techniques, interweaving what appear to be historically disparate themes into new coherence.”—Robert Giroux (on the novel ”Tolerance”)

       “Wonderful. Echt Zen.”—Guy Davenport on “The Song of the Earth”

       “One could listen forever, A New Requiem is so lovely.”—The Washington Review

       “A New Requiem is real poetry, much of it quite singable.”—Ned Rorem

       “Beautiful rhythms, important words and things to be said... to be read and read.”—William Allen on A New Requiem

       “It’s all quite wonderful. I like the expressiveness of the language and the encouraging freedom from poetic phrasing and tired grammar.”—Guy Davenport on A New Requiem

       “These are real love letters.... They live on in one’s mind.”—Stephen Spender in The Mail on Sunday (on Witness to My Life)

       “The publication of a volume of translations by Norman MacAfee of Pasolini’s best poems reminds us what an extraordinary man he was... Of his copious writings, his poems seem most likely to endure... translated now with clarity,ingenuity, and fidelity by Norman MacAfee.”—Edmund White, New York Times Book Review

       “...indisputably the most remarkable figure to have emerged in Italian arts and letters since the Second World War.”—Susan Sontag (on Pasolini Poems)

       “MacAfee has done his work with both responsibility and brilliance.”—William Arrowsmith (on Pasolini Poems)

       “Some of the most exhilarating days in American life occurred between March 16, 1968, when Robert Kennedy announced his presidential campaign and June 4, 1968, when he was assassinated. Both the hopes and fears of those 81 days are captured in this exhilarating book. Kennedy’s anger over hunger, his passion against the war in Vietnam and his faith in black Americans are recorded in 23 unforgettable chapters. Those who read this inspiring volume will acquire a deeper admiration and gratitude for Bobby Kennedy than they ever had before.”—Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, about The Gospel According to RFK: Why It Matters Now

  • One Class: Selected Poems, 1965-2005, Harbor Mountain Press, September 2008.
  • The Gospel According to RFK: Why It Matters Now, revised, expanded edition, Basic Books, 2008, 2004. A BuzzFlash premium.
  • I Am Astro Place,” Jacket magazine, Fall 2007.
  • The Coming of Fascism to America, Bowery Poetry Club, 2006.
  • Norman MacAfee spoke and read a new poem at the 80th birthday celebration for Robert Kennedy, at the U.S. Capitol, November 16, 2005. Other speakers included Senators Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton. The event was videotaped and is available from C-Span. The poem ”For Robert Kennedy’s 80th Birthday Celebration” appears in BuzzFlash.   
  • “The Coming of Fascism to America” and ”Life During the Coup,” two long poems, in Jacket 2006 and Omega 2006. The entire issue of Omega is titled “Life During the Coup,” inspired by the poem. The poem was  published in Cost of Freedom anthology, Howling Dog Press, 2007.
  • First publication in English of “Victory,” the last great poem by Pier Paolo Pasolini, translated by MacAfee, in Direland on the 30th anniversary, 2005, of Pasolini’s assassination on November 2, 1975.
  • The Death of the Forest, opera by Norman MacAfee to Music of Charles Ives, Amsterdam, Blankert, 2004. The Death of the Forest is in development with the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts/MIFA, and sponsored by The New York Foundation for the Arts. First readings of The Death of the Forest in Massachusetts and Manhattan. Being offered to opera companies in 2008.
  • Life Begins Tomorrow, play/screenplay about Jean-Paul Sartre during World War II, to be given readings by the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts/MIFA.
  • Conversation with Norman MacAfee: Hour-long television interview by Harold Channer about MacAfee’s books and performance works, NYC, July 2004.
  • “The Greatest Movie Ever Made,” poem in PEN America, 2005.
  • “This Is War,” long poem, originally published in The World magazine and Am Here Press anthology 1992, republished in Eidia’s Blurb on-line magazine, 2003.
  • More than 800,000 copies sold so far of MacAfee/Lee Fahnestock translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (Signet, 1987)—the first complete modern version, generally considered the best translation, of the classic 19th-century novel, and the official tie-in edition of what has been called ”the world’s most popular musical.”
  • Trash” (poem) and ”Bowery Rembrandt” (memoir), Hanging Loose magazine, 1999.
  • Heroines” by Claude Cahun, translation of legendary surrealist manuscript for Inverted Odysseys, Shelley Rice, ed. (MIT Press, Fall 1999). Staged reading of ”Heroines,” Maison Française, NYU.
  • Penguin publishes U.K. paperbacks of award-winning MacAfee/Fahnestock translation of Witness to My Life and Quiet Moments in a Wartwo volumes of letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir (NY: Scribner; London: Hamish Hamilton, 1993, 1994). Witness to My Life named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Distinguished Translation Award of American Literary Translators Association for Quiet Moments in a War.
  • The New York Foundation for the Arts sponsors the completion and production of The Death of the Forest and Life Begins Tomorrow.
  • Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York: Noonday 1996) reissues MacAfee’s award-winning translation of Italian master filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Poems (originally published in 1982 by Random House and in London by John Calder, 1984), selected and translated with Luciano Martinengo—the only English-language translation of the major poems of ”one of the three great poets of the [20th] century” (American Book Review, April 1985).
  • Hero Futura,” section of novel ”Tolerance” in Mandorla (Mexico City/NYC 1995) magazine.
  • MacAfee’s drawings for a production of Helen Adam’s ballad opera San Francisco’s Burning published in Hanging Loose magazine (six drawings inside; one each on front and back covers, 1994).
  • Wrestling–Lucha Libre,” section of novel ”Tolerance in Rouge magazine (UK-US-Canada-Australia, 1994).
  • Organizer/reader: Pier Paolo Pasolini: The Eyes of a Poet, a Reading of His Poetry,” with Isabella Rossellini, Judith Malina, Hanon Reznikov, Jennifer Beals, Laura Betti, Tomas Milian, William Allen. Museum of Modern Art, NY. The Gun in the Poem,” MacAfee essay in Museum of Modern Art Quarterly, 1990.
  • Text editor (uncredited) for newly discovered manuscripts of Ezra Pound’s translation of Sophocles’ Elektra. Published by New Directions, NY, 1990.
  • Screenplay Pasolini: A Documentary,” written for New York Center for Visual History, 1991.
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (under Lee Leggett Fahnestock, shared equally with NM) for Sartre’s Quiet Moments in a War. Wheatland Foundation grant awarded to Quiet Moments. Two Florence Gould Foundation/New York Foundation for the Arts grants for the Sartre volumes,1992.
  • Pasolini: Sex, Death, Political Passion,”course at the New School, 1993.
  • Telling Lives: Sartre and Beauvoir,” speech at New School, 1993.
  • Publication of chapbook of long poem A New Requiem, Cheap Review Press, 1988.
  • Featured long poems, Italy ‘76” and Pictures from Bosch,” The Little Magazine, 1988, 1987.
  • Editor, Sartre: A Life, by Annie Cohen-Solal (New York: Pantheon 1987).
  • Assistant director, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Opera Ensemble of New York, 1986.
  • Studies in directing at HB Studios, NY, 1986.
  • Featured poet, Words-Music-Words,” concert of new songs set to new poetry, Poetry Project, Saint Mark’s in the Bouwery, NY; and BargeMusic, Brooklyn, NY, 1985.
  • Director, Political Poetry Workshop, Saint Mark’s in the Bouwerie Poetry Project, 1984.
  • Arthur Maisel composes chamber opera on MacAfee poem ”John Paul II’s Mayday 1984 Address to New York Gay and Lesbian Socialists League at Cooper Union’s Great Hall” for Pierrot Lunaire ensemble, 1984.
  • Performance of sections of NM screenplay Astro Place, ABC No Rio, NY, 1984.
  • Assistant director/dramaturg: Creation Company (SoHo, NY), 1984.
  • Ballet libretto, The Re-Creation of the New World,” published in Salome magazine, 1984
  • Reading of first notes for The Death of the Forest and Tolerance, Yorkville Library, NY (1983).
  • Performance of MacAfee series Love Song to the Soviet Union,” No Sé No Café, Saint Mark’s in the Bouwerie Church Poetry Project, NY, 1983.
  • PEN American Center’s 1st annual Renato Poggioli Award to MacAfee for Pasolini poems, 1980.
  • Speaker, Pasolini: 5 Years After,” Yale University symposium with Umberto Eco, Alberto Moravia, William Weaver, 1980.
  • Columbia University Translation Center Grant 1978.
  • Poetry and fiction readings at New York’s Shakespeare Festival Public Theater, Museum of Modern Art, St. Marks Poetry Project, No Sé No Café, Cooper Union, ABC No Rio, New York Public Libraries, Columbia, Yale, and Temple Universities,  and through the British Film Institute at London’s National Film Theatre, Norwich (UK) Cinema City...
  • Freelance editorial work for Praeger, Knopf, Grove, Harcourt, Pantheon, New Directions, Counterpoint, Westview, Basic Books, Da Capo, PublicAffairs, Shoemaker & Hoard.


Publication of writings and drawings in over 30 journals.


Travel in England, Italy, Mexico, France, Scotland, Canada, USA.


Creative writing degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (BA, honors in the major) and the University of Iowa (Master of Fine Arts in English).


  • Gloucester’s Eyes, text with drawings: performance piece for actors, dancers, singers, and instrumental ensemble, using a scene from King Lear and an aria from Claudio Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo.
  • Tolerance, novel intercutting six stories.
  • The Song of the Earth, nine poem-drawings about life in China from 500 BCE to 2000 AD, and twenty pages of poetry and commentary; small book.
  • The Re-Creation Of The New World, script with drawings; to piano work, Vingt Regards Sur L’enfant Jésus,  by Olivier Messiaen.


  • The Ballad of Malcolm Macfie, book about the last medieval chieftain of the MacAfee clan, assassinated in 1623 on Colonsay island in the Inner Hebrides, and the clan’s resulting diaspora.
  • Whistling Corner, nonfiction novel of my first eleven years in Brookline, Pa, 1943-1954.
  • The Best Memory, nonfiction: sex and death, culture and politics in New York, London, Italy in the 1970s.
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Saint Matthew: A Reading. A shot-by-shot explication of what has been called ”the greatest movie ever made.”
  • Bowery Rembrandt, nonfiction novel about photographer Nancy Miller Elliott.
  • When I Was Rich: Stories.
  • Afghanistan and the Effects of War on Men, By Alice MacAfee; nonfiction novel; a reconstruction of my late sister’s life, 1939-1987, in her voice.
  • Operas about Joan of Arc, Charlemagne, Tamburlaine, and Ashurbanipal.
  • Man at The Crossroads, opera about the murals of Mexican painter Diego Rivera.


  • San Francisco’s Burning, ballad opera by Scots poet Helen Adam (1909-1993). I have made drawings for a production published in Hanging Loose magazine. Libretto published by Hanging Loose Press.
  • Two operas written by the poet Ezra Pound: Le Testament (Villon) and Cavalcanti.
  • A music-theatre-poetry piece about Pound.
  • Filmscript (by Samuel Hughes) about three poets in Philadelphia 1905, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and HD.
  • Gloucester’s Eyes, The Song of the Earth, The Re-Creation Of The New World, The Death of the Forest, Life Begins Tomorrow, The Gospel According to RFK.


                                     Thursday June 12, 2008 

                                 10:30 - 11:30 AM  / (NYC Time)

                 Channel 34 of the Time/Warner & Channel 83of the RCN 
                       Cable Television Systems in Manhattan, New York.

The Program can now be viewed on the internet at time of cable casting at


                  NOTE: You must adjust viewing to reflect NYC time

                                          & click on channel 34 at site