Norbert Krapf | The Country I Come From | Gazelle Books

The Country I Come From

Author: Norbert Krapf | ISBN: 1931122059 : 9781931122054 | Format: Paperback | Size: 140x215mm | Pages: 142 | Weight: .2 Kg. | Published: Midpoint Trade Books (Archer Books) – July 2002 | Availability: In Print | Subjects: Poetry texts & anthologies

In this collection, which includes ‘Fire and Ice,’

winner of the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Norbert Krapf returns to the settings and themes of his highly regarded Somewhere in Southern Indiana. A writer for whom place has been a major inspiration, Krapf continues his exploration of family history, relationships between people of different ethnic backgrounds, nature, and the passage of time. He extends his meditations on the Holocaust that conclude Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany to the treatment of the Miami Indians of his native region and a racial incident from his college years.

The title echoes a line from Midwestern songwriter Bob Dylan, the subject of a tribute; refers to the poet’s native Indiana, the American Heartland, the United States as a whole; and evokes a mythic homeland. The prologue, ‘A Whiff of Fresh Sheets,’ describes a spiritual return from the East Coast to a childhood scene triggered by the reading of a Native American poem. Section I, ‘The Language of Place,’ recreates the landscape of the Indiana wilderness before Krapf’s German-Catholic ancestors arrived and concludes with ‘One Voice From Many,’ a sequence combining personal narrative and meditation on past, present and future generations. Section II, ‘When the House Was New,’ begins with a tribute to Walt Whitman and describes the poet’s childhood experiences on the farm where his mother grew up, the streets, vacant lots, and pioneer church of his hometown, and the woods and fields he once hunted. Section III, ‘Odysseus in Indiana,’ is a series of returns decades later to the mythic landscape and characters of his youth culminating in memories of his late father and the death of his mother. In the epilogue, ‘Places,’ he foresees his spirit’s return to Indiana hill country.

Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf

was born in 1943 in Jasper, Indiana, a German community. He graduated from Jasper High School and received a B.A. in English from St. Joseph’s College, Rensselaer, IN. He received his M.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame and also his Ph.D. in English and American Literature, with a concentration in American Poetry. He taught at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University 1970-2004, where he is now emeritus Professor of English, was Poet Laureate 2003-2007, and directed the C. W. Post Poetry Center. He twice served in Germany as a Senior Fulbright Professor of American Poetry, at the Universities of Freiburg and Erlangen-Nuremberg. He was also a U.S. Exchange Teacher at West Oxon Technical College, England. In June of 2008, he was appointed to a two-year term as Indiana Poet Laureate, in which capacity he plans to continue his efforts to reunite poetry and music, try to bring Indiana poetry to TV and radio, give readings and talks in libraries and other venues, and visit schools to share with students his enthusiasm for reading and writing poetry and prose memoir.

Since 1976 Norbert Krapf has written or edited 21 books, two of which are his translations from the German. His most recent poetry publication, a full-color hardcover coffee-table book, from Indiana University Press, is a collaboration with Darryl Jones, Invisible Presence: A Walk through Indiana in Photographs and Poems (2006). Sixteen of these books are collections of his own poetry, including Somewhere in Southern Indiana: Poems of Midwestern Origins (1993), Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany (1997), and Looking for God’s Country (2005), all available from Time Being Books, and Bittersweet Along the Expressway: Poems of Long Island (2000) and The Country I Come From (2002), sixty poems set in Indiana. He is the editor/translator of Beneath the Cherry Sapling: Legends from Franconia (1988), a collection of folktales set in his ancestral region, and Shadows on the Sundial: Selected Early Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke (1990). He is also the editor of a book of writings about the first important American nature poet, Under Open Sky: Poets on William Cullen Bryant (1986).

In December, 2007, Acme Records of Bloomington, IN released Norbert Krapf and jazz pianist-composer Monika Herzig’s CD Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words, which includes a 20-page booklet with texts of all 14 poems and performance photo collages in color. In April, 2008, The Indiana Historical Society Press released his prose memoir, The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood (275 pp. hardcover, with ca. 70 black and white photographs, $15.95); and in early fall, 2008, under the Quarry Books imprint, Indiana University Press will release Bloodroot: Indiana Poems, a selection of 175 Norbert Krapf poems about Indiana written 1971-2007, with 60+ black and white photographs by David Pierini…

Much more on Norbert Krapf can be found here…


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