May 19, 2008

IMAGINE

NORBERT KRAPF

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.

Since 1976 Norbert Krapf has written or edited 20 books, two of which are his translations from the German. His most recent 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). Fifteen 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 will release his prose memoir, The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood (275 pp. hardcover, with ca. 70 black and white photographs, $15.95); and in October, 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.

In April of 2005, Time Being Books released his collection Looking for God's Country, 85 poems set in Indiana and Germany. Included is a cycle of 26 poems inspired by the black-and-white photographs of Franconian photographer Andreas Riedel. Poet Helmut Haberkamm, who wrote the script for a 2001 Radio Bavaria feature on Norbert Krapf's search for his Franconian roots, has translated many of Krapf's poems into German.

The revised, expanded edition of Finding the Grain: Pioneer German Journals and Letters from Dubois County, Indiana, which includes the letters of Joseph Kundek, the Croatian missionary who colonized Dubois County with German Catholics, was published in 1996 by the Max Kade German-American Center, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. In 1998, Rain Crow Publications of Chicago published The Sunday Before Thanksgiving: Two Prose Memoirs, nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is working on a book of essays about poetry, place, and ethnic heritage, Where It All Began, and a young adult novel about an old German immigrant in southern Indiana, The Bells of St. Michael's.

In 1999 Norbert Krapf received the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America for the poem "Fire and Ice". He has received an honorary doctorate of letters from his alma mater, St. Joseph's College, the David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching from Long Island University, and a Trustees Award for Scholarly Achievement from LIU. English artist Martin Donlin selected his poem "Back Home" to be part of a large stained-glass panel for the new Indianapolis Airport, scheduled to open in late 2008.

At the beginning of 2006, Norbert Krapf became a board member of Etheridge Knight, Inc., which promotes the arts for youth, youth at risk, adults, seniors, disabled and incarcerated individuals, and residents traditionally underserved by the arts community. EK Inc. pays tribute to the arts community and the legacy of the late African American Indianapolis poet Etheridge Knight by providing a diverse artistic environment in the interdisiplinary arts for people of all cultures. Guests at the annual Etheridge Knight Festival, begun in 1992 by the poet's sister Eunice Knight-Bowen, have included Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Toi Derricotte, Kevin Young, Allison Joseph, Martmn Espada, and many others.

On Long Island, the C. W. Post Campus Bookstore (Barnes & Noble) has the best selection of his publications, but Barnes & Noble, Manhasset; Borders, Westbury; the Book Revue, Huntington; and Canio's Books, Sag Harbor also carry his books. In Jasper, IN., Flower Stall Hearth and Home (Southgate) and the Dubois County Museum have a generous selection of his titles. Barnsandnoble.com carries his books as do Borders.com and Amazon.com, which lists reviews and includes an author interview. Individuals may order Somewhere in Southern Indiana, Blue-Eyed Grass and Looking for God's Country (2005) from Time Being Books (866-840-4344) at a discount. The Country I Come From is available at a discount price from Archer Books. Invisible Presence is available at most bookstores and is substantially discounted by Amazon.com.

Norbert Krapf's papers, including his literary correspondence and manuscripts, are housed mainly in the Rush Rhees Library, Univ. of Rochester, but also in the special collections at IUPUI, Univ. of California San Diego, Stanford Univ., and the Univ. of New Hampshire. The Indiana Historical Society has a collection of audio- and videocassettes of his radio and TV and other readings and interviews that are being converted to CD, and the Dubois County Museum holds his collection of family history materials and documents, including memorabilia from grade school, Boy Scouts, high school, and college.

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