The Country I Come From
142 pp. Original Paperback
5 ½" x 8 ½" ISBN 1-931122-05-9
Trade edition - $15.00
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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.
Praise for the work of Norbert Krapf
In half a lifetime of writing history
and poetry about the Catholic communities of the Jasper [Indiana] area and their
German antecedents, Krapf has shown a sense of place and ethnic identity that
radiates out to universal brotherhood. In [Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany],
he reminds us of the all-American Walt Whitman, who remained "a part of all
that I have met"; and of Wendell Berry, who sings of his beloved Kentucky
that he has seen the worst and best of humankind there.
—The Indianapolis Star
With its emphasis on the specificities
of a place and its people, Krapf’s poetry has deep affinities with the local
color tradition of American literature. But like Kentucky poet Wendell Berry,
Krapf’s forte is in recognizing the spiritual interaction between a people and
their place. . . . For Krapf, the relationship is that of a son who has been
much blessed through the sacredness of place and familial love.
"One place comprehended can make
us understand other places better," Eudora Welty writes in one of her
essays. Welty’s statement finds ample support in Norbert Krapf’s Somewhere
in Southern Indiana. Although these poems are deeply rooted in the landscape
of southern Indiana and the lives of Krapf’s German-Catholic ancestors, their
ultimate concerns are what Faulkner called "the old universal truths"
of "love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice."
Norbert Krapf grew up in Jasper, Indiana, a German community, moved to Long Island in 1970, and has since taught at Long Island University, where he directs the C.W. Post Poetry Center. A graduate of St. Joseph’s College, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American Literature from the University of Notre Dame. His poetry volumes include the trilogy Somewhere in Southern Indiana, Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany, and Bittersweet Along the Expressway: Poems of Long Island. He has been a U.S. Exchange Teacher at West Oxon Technical College, England, and Fulbright Professor of American Poetry at the Universities of Freiburg and Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.
For more information on Norbert Krapf and his writings, visit his web site by clicking here.