Poet Laureate Activity Photos Part Three

January - June 2009

Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.

On January 9, 2009, the Hoosier Dylan show resurrected and took place at the Ricks Center for the Arts, Greenfield, Indiana. Described as “gloriously ragged, like the Rolling Thunder Revue” by one member of the audience and as “a religious revival” by another, the show featured the same performers as it did in Columbus and Danville, Indiana on Nov. 7 and 8, 2008. The Indiana Poet Laureate recited two blues poems with backing by bluesman Gordon Bonham, two with backing by folksinger Tim Grimm, and read two poems solo.


Photos will be added here as they come in from people who saw the performance, either from the audience or from backstage revelers. The IPL, whose wife was sick, forgot his camera and disappeared into his poems and the music that lifted them to another level.  He promises that next time around, not a single poem will be allowed to come to the party without the escort of music. The PBS series “Across Indiana” sent a cameraman to film NK’s  part of the program so they would have some live footage to include in a possible IPL feature.


On January 10, 2009, Greg Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett, who moved to Madison, the historic Ohio River town, return to the Boulevard Place Café, their favorite Indy performance venue for several years. Norbert, who performed there several times with Monika Herzig, read poems during the second set.

Greg solos during a break.

Kriss sings a new song.

Chuck, the stage manager, and his young assistant are happy to hear Greg and Kriss in their old home, the Boulevard Place Café.

Greg and Kriss with Norbert, who was delighted to read poems having to do with a mother and son and the birth of a child during the second set. Greg and Kriss were the first musicians Norbert collaborated with, at the 10/05 Indiana Poetry Festival at the Indy Art Center.

Greg and Kriss, who are now man and wife, open presents that anticipate the birth of their coming child. 


While in the Orlando, Florida area to visit Norbert’s sister, on January 26, we visited the nearby Jack Kerouac House in College Park, where Jack and his mother lived in 1957 when On the Road appeared and Jack was writing The Dharma Bums.

The Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, seen from the back, where Jack and his mother lived in 1957.
Sign on the front door. Writers are awarded residencies to do their work in the Kerouac House.

NK and fiction writer Phil Deaver (Rollins College), a fellow graduate of St. Joseph’s College, Indiana, in front of the house.

Jack’s bedroom.

Phil Deaver and NK in Jack’s bedroom.

Jack at work.
Jack looks on.
With Phil Deaver at a favorite local eatery, The College Park Café.

On Feb. 28, in the Basile Theatre of the Central Library Branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, IPL NK was one of the judges for the Indiana finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition begun by The National Endowment for the Humanities, when poet Dana Gioia was the Director. This year a dozen students from as many high schools competed for first place and the chance to represent Indiana in the national finals to take place in Washington, D.C.

This year’s winner was   Derek Kaellner of Broad Ripple High School, Indianapolis, in the blue shirt. Lewis Ricci, Director of the Indiana Arts Commission, to the left of the winner, was the emcee.  Monika Herzig, far left, provided musical interludes.
On March 8, Norbert, Monika Herzig, and Peter Kienle performed jazz and poetry at the Creative Arts Center in Bluffton, near Fort Wayne, on the bank of the Wabash River.  This event, part of “Series on the Ouabache,” was organized by Maureen Butler.

 A flier for the event.

The flooding Wabash outside the Creative Arts Center.

Peter (baritone guitar) and Monika rehearse.

The audience gathers.
Set up to sell books and CDs, Katherine reads the program.
Norbert recites a poem.
Peter and Monika perform an instrumental.
With Monika and sculptor Norbert Ploetz, a native of Göttingen, during reception.
On March 11, Norbert read at the Shepherd’s Center, a senior citizen group that meets at United North Methodist, Meridian and 38th Streets, Indianapolis . When he arrived to set up in the room, a circle of about fifteen members, with one playing banjo, were singing songs vigorously. As soon as the reading and discussion were over, another speaker came in to talk about the Indy Cultural Trail, and the book table was moved out into the hall. The show must go on!

With Marian Kleinsasser Towne, the fellow author who organized the event.

Marian’s memoir of growing up on a farm in the Hutterite Mennonite community of near Freeman, South Dakota.
The reading and activities room at the Shepherd’s Center.
Marian and two other members of the audience, in the hall after the reading.

At the book and CD table after the reading.

On  March 12, artists, arts administrators, state representatives and senators, and students of the arts from around the state gathered in the Rotunda of the Indiana Statehouse to voice their support of the arts as essential to the economic, emotional, and spiritual well being of all Hoosiers. Sally Gaskill of the Indiana Coalition for the Arts organized the stimulating event.

A view of the Indiana Statehouse from Monument Circle as Norbert and Katherine walked from Firehouse Square to the Arts Advocacy Day celebration.

The Statehouse Rotunda before the program began.

With Sally Gaskill, President of the Indiana Coalition for the Arts.

Indiana Coalition for the Arts placard on the front of the lectern.

Norbert speaking with Lewis Ricci, guitarist, songwriter, and Executive Director of the Indiana Arts Commission.

With April Blevins and Laura Frank, staff members at IAC.

With Stephanie Young, theatre specialist for the Wells County Arts Council, and Kit Miracle , director of Jasper Community Arts, in Norbert’s hometown.

Young student arts lovers gave the gathering energy and hope.
Jazz vocalist Wendy Reed and husband Jeff.
Jeanne Miro of Fort Wayne , board member of the IAC, received the Arts Volunteer Award.

Norbert read two poems, “The Forefather Arrives,” which he insisted includes a family of eight maternal ancestors who support the arts, and “Back in Indiana ,” the second part of which is etched into a stained-glass panel by Martin Donlin at Gate 22 of the new Indianapolis International Airport .

Sally Gaskill presented the Arts Advocate Award to Indiana State Representative Sheila Klinker of West Lafayette . To the far left is Tina Mahern, Pres. of the Indiana Coalition for the Arts Foundation. Sheila sang part of “Back Home in Indiana ” to celebrate Norbert’s return in 2004 to his native state.
On March 14, Norbert read from Bloodroot, The Ripest Moments, and Invisible Presence at the new Village Lights Bookshop in historic Madison, on the Ohio River.  Formerly professional dancers, Nathan Montoya and Ann Vestuto restored the interior of their nineteenth-century building for two years before opening in November, 2008. Friends and Madison residents Greg Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett -Ziesemer performed two sets of songs while Norbert signed books after two reading segments.
The sign on the front of the Main Street building.

A one-author display window.

A sign in the window near copies of a coffee-table book of Indiana photos and poems.

A familiar woman at the counter near a display of familiar recent books.

A display of familiar CDs.

In one room, below a Clemens/Twain print, stands an 1880s Steinway piano.

Beneath the Steinway, a cat named Oscar Wilde cavorts on a patterned carpet.

People seated up front are ready to listen.
Nathan and Ann sell books.

Norbert reads while Greg looks on.

Mr. Clemens listens.
Greg and Kriss perform while Norbert signs books.

Greg and Kriss from the side.

Norbert signs books in the Kiddy Corner while Greg and Kriss sing.

People enjoy refreshments.

People who bought books receive a coupon giving them a free beer or dessert at the nearby 605 Grille, operated by Tom and Sherry Moore.
Friends around the table at 605 Grille. 

On Sunday, March 22, Norbert, Monika Herzig (piano), Peter Kienle (bass), and Carolyn Dutton (violin) gave a poetry and jazz performance at 2:00 p.m. in the Indy Artsgarden (Circle Centre Mall, over Washington and Illinois Streets), sponsored by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The performance included tributes to the Hampton Sisters, who gave their last performance in 2006 in the same venue, Kurt Vonnegut, whose mother and father had their wedding reception across the street, and Indy poet Etheridge Knight, as well as newer material that included “What Kind of Wind,” a response to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Come with Me (into the Woods),” for which Monika wrote a new composition.

The Artsgarden from the walkway-balcony in the back, as the musicians set up.

A view of the stairway and balcony-walkway from the front.

A banner behind the stage/performance area.

Monika and Carolyn work out some details before the show begins.
Monika points out some aspects of her two new compositions to Carolyn.
The resourceful Peter takes care of a technical problem.
Carolyn stokes up on energy food before the performance begins. She usually wins the Best Shoes of Any Performer Award.

We lead off the jazz and poetry with “Lazybones Wannabe,” a response to a Hoagy Carmichael song.

The give and take with Carolyn is always fun.

Monika and Norbert perform their Kurt Vonnegut tribute, “A Pilgrim Unstuck in Time,” included in Bloodroot: Indiana Poems, as are the tributes to the Hampton Sisters and Etheridge Knight. For the Vonnegut poem, Monika arranged a medley of a German folksong, “Die Gedanken Sind Frei (“Thoughts are Free”), the “Ode to Joy” from the choral movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and “Can’t Get Indiana Off My Mind.”

The audience, as well as Peter, with his daughters Melody and Jasmin, and Carolyn listen to the Vonnegut tribute.

Norbert and Katherine’s son Daniel and his girlfriend Alexandria enjoyed the performance.
At 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, Stella and Jane (with Jeff Foster) gave a house concert in the Home Fields Advantage series. Norbert observed his custom of giving a short reading of poems, keyed to the songs of the performers, to open the second set of the evening.  The past three years, Norbert and Monika gave the April performance in the series, in honor of National Poetry and Jazz Appreciation Month; but this year, after being scheduled again for April, they gave up their slot because Norbert will be in Rhode Island with other state poet laureates giving readings around that state.
Jeff Foster, Jane (Bobbie Jane Lancaster), and Stella (Suzette Weakley) sing.
Jeff and Bobbie in action.
Jeff and Norbert in the kitchen during the break. [IMG2104]

Bobbie, Cyndi, who hosts the series, and Mrs. IPL during the break. [IMG2110]

Norbert reading, as seen from the back of the room. [2114]
Norbert reading, from up close.
Suzie, Norbert, and Bobbie at the end of the evening, ready to buy a bus and take the show on the Hoosier road. Norbert met the Stella and Jane group as part of the Hoosier Dylan show, organized by Tim Grimm , another regular in the Home Fields Advantage series.

Continue on to Part Four of IPL Photo Gallery - April 2009 to June 2009

Return to IPL Main Page