The Outer Gate: The Collected Poems of Nora May French


  • Edited by Donald Sidney-Fryer and Alan Gullette
  • October 2009
  • ISBN 978-0-9824296-6-2
  • 259 pp

 “The new edition of Nora May French is a major addition to the study of California literature. I have always believed that it is of paramount importance for a newly rediscovered poet to be introduced by good biographical and critical prose. Your edition is exemplary in this regard which is so often a failing in such projects. You have made her now permanently available to readers.”

Dana Gioia, poet, author and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts



Nora May French (1881-1907) is an enigmatic and ethereal figure in American poetry and in the poetry of California. Born in Aurora, New York, she came to Los Angeles with her family when she was a little girl, and in the course of her brief and tragic life she lived and wrote more intensely than many who live a full span of years. Her poetry possesses its own kind of cosmic consciousness, aligning it with the work of Clark Ashton Smith and her friend George Sterling. Its delicacy and pathos render it an imperishable monument to the throbbing emotions and aesthetic sensitivity of the woman who, although beloved by all in Sterling's Bohemian circle, suffered keenly from her own love affairs and committed suicide in November 1907. Now, more than a hundred years after her passing, her poems have been gathered in this volume for the first time. The book includes an extensive biographical and critical introduction by Donald Sidney-Fryer, tributes to French by her contemporaries and by later admirers, and a selection of reviews.

Nora May French published no books in her lifetime, but her Poems were assembled in 1910 by George Sterling and others. That volume, however, was incomplete, and many fugitive poems have been added by Donald Sidney-Fryer and Alan Gullette, two of the leading authorities on California poetry and the poetry of fantasy and terror.

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This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 03 April, 2010.