Poet Laureate Activity Photos Part Five

July - September 2009

Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.

On July 14, Norbert gave his first reading from the new Sweet Sister Moon, celebrations of women, in the Monticello Library, north of Lafayette, IN.   The reading was organized by the head of Adult Programs, Monica Casanova. The book sales were managed by Art Morgan, library board member and head of the Friends of the Library.

The beautifully landscaped Monticello Library, seen from the side.

The entrance to the library.
A placard announcing the reading.
The book table.

Katherine, Art Morgan, John Groppe, Norbert’s former professor at nearby St. Joseph ’s College, and Monica Casanova.

Norbert reading, seen from the back of the room.
A segment of the attentive audience, who later asked many questions.

Close-up of Norbert reading by John Groppe, who judged his photo “C+.”

Norbert signing books.

Knowing that Norbert was coming to hear them perform on July 25 at Dino’s Vino in Franklin Square, Indianapolis, the New Augusta bluegrass band invited him to read a few poems after their break and to back him on a couple of other poems. After reading several “Saturday night” poems solo, Norbert recited “Angel Sister Song” from Sweet Sister Moon while the band played “Angel Band” and  “I’m Practically with the Band” from Bloodroot while they played “Soldier’s Joy.” Everyone enjoyed the spontaneous collaboration.

Norbert posing with New Augusta (l-r): Lisa Wagoner Schroeder (bass and vocals; Dave Schroeder (guitar and vocals); John Gates (mandolin and vocals); Rich Walter (banjo).
Norbert in action reciting “Angel Sister Band” with the backing of New Augusta.

On Sunday, July 26, Norbert and Monika Herzig did a jazz and poetry performance at the weekly Perk Up “Kafffeeklatsch” sponsored by Jeanette Footman, who sells her excellent German pastries. One year before, Jeanette supplied complimentary peach crumb cake for Norbert’s Poet Laureate party and performance with Monika at the old American Cabaret Theatre on the top floor of the Athenaeum, originally called Das Deutsche Haus. The German community of Indianapolis and central Indiana often gathers on Sunday at Perk Up, at 6536 Cornell Street in Broad Ripple, near the Monon Trail. Ironically, Norbert’s singer-songwriter friend Greg Ziesemer lived in this house in the 1980s.

Even bikers come to Perk Up on Sunday afternoon for Kaffee und Kuchen.

Germans love to work in wood.

The fare at Perk Up.

The menu varies somewhat every Sunday.

Can you name the pastry? Rocher Torte. (See the menu above.)
Jeanette, who is of German (East Berlin) and Cameroon descent, greets patrons from behind the counter.

All Jeanette’s Kuchen go down smooth and easy, for young and old! People sample the wares inside before the performance begins on the deck.

Monika opens with an instrumental as Norbert looks on from inside.
While Norbert and Monika perform, the books wait for readers.

Some people eat, sip, listen, and even read on the deck.

Norbert and Monika in action with “Lazybones Wannabe,” a take on Hoagy Carmichael and the German work ethic from their CD Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words
Alice, German bread-baker per excellence and Jeanette’s partner in Brotgarten (formerly Zamovar), listens while Norbert recites for her “The Man with the Bread,” a mythic poem inspired by an Andreas Riedel b/w photo.

Jeanette listens as Norbert recites for her “Zwetschgenkuchen / Plum Pastry,” a bawdy poem also inspired by a b/w Riedel photo.

Monika’s daughter Melodie sings Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” while Swabian Mutti smiles.

Norbert signs books for Helga and Fred. Thanks to Katherine for the photos.

Jeannette's sister and friend from Berlin.

On July 31, Norbert read from the new Sweet Sister Moon at the Dubois Co. Museum in Jasper as part of the annual Strassenfest, with cover artist Ashley Verkamp of nearby Ferdinand present. A number of relatives and friends attended the reading and the signing the next day in the same place. The moon was also present, in various forms and shapes.

 Janet Kluemper, DCM program director, introduces.

Norbert reads, with the Strassenfest ribbon decking the lectern.
One side of the audience.

Cover artist Ashley Verkamp answers an audience question.

Norbert listens to Ashley at the book table, where they signed copies.
Ashley signs while Norbert looks on.
Norbert and Ashley sample Rosie Stewart’s moon cookies while the grandparents of Alexandria, Daniel’s fiancée, look on.
A tray of Rosie’s moon cookies, baked for the event.
Rosie also brought along some of her garden moon medallions for the refreshment table.

Another moon medallion from Rosie’s garden.

Daniel, Alexandria with his Jasper relatives and her Missouri grandparents.

Jasper High School classmates Dave and Lou Eckerle came to the Saturday signing.

On Sunday, Aug. 2, Norbert read at the German Heritage Museum , Cincinnati . Friend Don Heinrich Tolzmann, former President of the Society for German American Studies and museum curator, gave the introduction, husband and wife Kevin Walzer and Lori Jareo of WordTech Editions were present, and Katherine sold books.  Many people in the standing-room-only audience had Jasper or Dubois County ties.


Some of Norbert’s paternal ancestors, like many early Dubois County residents, lived in the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati before coming down the Ohio River to Troy and making the overland trip to Jasper, where one neighborhood near St. Joseph’s Church was once called “Little Cincinnati.” Norbert documents this tie in the annotations to letters and journals included in his Finding the Grain: Dubois County Pioneer German Journals and Letters (1996).

Norbert before the German Heritage Society Museum marquis on West Ford Road, not far from Interstate 74, which leads to Indy.

There was standing room only on the second floor of the Museum room where Norbert read.

Katherine set up the books for sale before the reading began.

Kevin and Lori of WordTech Editions, who together in Cincinnati produce 45-50 poetry collections a year.

Don Tolzmann gives the introduction.
On Monday, August 3, Norbert participated in the first Porch Light event under the dome of the restored West Baden Springs Hotel, which combined readings by authors who publish under the Quarry Books regional imprint of Indiana University Press, with food made of Indiana produce, meat, and fish prepared by Sinclair Restaurant Chef Robbie Bellew from menus by Dan Orr of FarmBloomington, with music by Monika Herzig and Tom Roznowski. Authors who gave readings and signed books were Nancy Hiller, Dan Orr, Scott Russell Sanders, Rachael Berenson Perry, and Norbert. Porch Light will take place at other Indiana venues. Indiana wines and beers were also available.

Arriving at the West Baden Springs Hotel from Indy.

Under the dome of the West Baden Springs Hotel.

Food served at six stations in the atrium.
Monika at the piano under the dome, with Katherine looking on.
Norbert reads in the library of the dome.
Norbert signs books under the dome.
On August 12, Norbert read from Sweet Sister Moon and Bloodroot at the monthly Stammtisch of the Indiana German Heritage Society. Kathleen Angelone of Bookmamas sold Norbert’s books and CDs, as she has done a number of times at various readings around Indy.  After the reading, Norbert commented to Katherine that the closest he ever comes to having an audience like the ones he always has in Jasper, where so many of his poems are set, is to read at the Athenaeum to members of this society.
Greg Redding , President of IGHS, introduces Norbert, as he has done twice at Wabash College.
Norbert reading, as seen from the back of the room.

Norbert makes some comments about Bloodroot, from which he read several poems, but the reading was centered around the new Sweet Sister Moon.

Germans know how to listen intensely.
Germans also know how to ask penetrating questions, as Greg Redding did before this photo was taken. Greg is working on a paper about Norbert’s poetry of place and his development of a language of place. When Norbert first met Greg at a conference of the Society for German American Studies at Loyola University of Baltimore in 2003, Greg told him that he had been bringing Somewhere in Southern in Indiana with him on hikes in southern Indiana. Greg did his graduate work in German at The University of Cincinnati under Jerry Glenn.
Signing books and CDs for Giles Hoyt, former Pres. of IGHS and director of the Max Kade German American Center at IUPUI, and poet Jayel Kato, with Kathleen of Bookmamas handling sales.
On Saturday, August 22nd at 2:00 in historic Irvington, Norbert read from Sweet Sister Moon at Bookmamas, an independent bookshop which has sold books at his readings there and at other venues in the past eighteen months.  He also included a few poems and passages from the double finalists for Best Book of Indiana, Bloodroot and The Ripest Moments.
Sign in the window.

Book display in the window.

Some readers like to follow the text of the poems in the book.

Showing the audience a “manipulation” in Invisible Presence, the collaboration with photographer Darryl Jones.
Signing books after the reading and collecting e-mail addresses.
With friend Robin Kills a Hundred, aunt of Jake Hale, subject of an elegy in the last section of Bloodroot.
On Saturday, Aug. 29, noon to 3:30, Norbert was one of eight Indiana poets who read their poems as part of the first annual WOW: Words on Wings: Indiana Poets at the Indiana State Library. Norbert read with the other Airpoets from their anthology River, Rails, and Runways as part of the middle third of the program and then read mostly from Sweet Sister Moon as the last poet in the third and final part.  The other poets were Elizabeth Weber, Mitchell Douglas, Karen Kovacik, Ruthelen Burns, Joyce Brinkman, David Shumate, and Tasha Jones.  Matthew Allison of the Indiana Historical Bureau Gift Shop, located in the State Library, came up with the idea for the reading, his supervisor Pam Bennett, Director of the Bureau, supported the project, and Norbert advised on the selection of the poets, the order in which they read, and the location of the reading.

The Center for the Book, which sponsored Best Books of Indiana, is depicted on the display on the door into the State Library, near where the gift shop is located and the reading took place.

Matthew Allison, in red, stands behind poets Lylanne  Musselman and Joyce Brinkman as the WOW reading begins.

Elizabeth Weber gives background on a painting described in one of the poems in her new book, Porthole Views of the World.

IUPUI colleagues Karen Kovacik and Mitchell Douglas listen to Elizabeth read.
Mitchell reads from his new book of poems about soul singer Donny Hathaway, Cooling Board.
Karen Kovacik reads from Metropolis Burning.  
The four Airpoets are ready to go.

David Shumate (left) and Norbert, whose books The Floating Bridge and Bloodroot were finalists for the Best Books of Indiana (poetry), to be awarded upstairs later in the afternoon, make a deal during an intermission that they will share the prize money if either wins (there is no $).

David reads his prose poems.

The audience listens and responds to David.

Tasha Jones with her parents. Tasha, a performance poet, recites most of her poems from memory.
Norbert reads from Sweet Sister Moon.
We all enjoy talking after the reading.
Visiting and schmoozing some more after the reading.
Shortly after the Words on Wings: Indiana Poets reading finished on the first floor of the State Library, the Best Books of Indiana award ceremony began upstairs in the Indiana Authors Room. A judges’ commentary on each of the books selected as finalist was read, and each finalist was called forward to sign that book, place it on the library shelf, where it shall remain, and receive a plaque. Norbert’s editor at the Indiana Historical Society Press for The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood, Ray Boomhower, was the winner in Nonfiction-History/Bio. for Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary. The winner in the Poetry category was Rob Griffith for A Matinee in Plato’s Cave. Norbert was the first author to place two books as finalists in one year.

The doorway into the Indiana Authors Room, seen from the reception outside.

John and Rose Marie Groppe in the front row of the Indiana Authors Room.
Norbert signs Bloodroot.
Norbert places Bloodroot on the shelf.

Norbert receives a plaque from Roberta L. Brooker, State Librarian. (03)

 Norbert signs The Ripest Moments. (Photos 3-6 were taken by John Groppe, St. Joseph’s College.)

Nancy Kriplen (right), fellow finalist for The Eccentric Billionaire: John D. MacArthur and Ray Boomhower (center), winner for his Robert Kennedy book, at the reception.

John Groppe and Norbert speak during the reception.

On Sept. 12, Monika Herzig, Pieter Kienle, and Norbert kicked off The Festival of the Book in the Putnam County Public Library, Greencastle,  organized by Margot Payne, Library Director. The Carnegie Room, pictured below, is the same room the Airpoets read in last December. Norbert devised a set list that focused on books and authors, the American Songbook, teaching and learning, and paid tribute to teachers in the audience, a much undervalued group today. James Alexander Thom, who wrote the Forword for Norbert’s Bloodroot, followed with a talk from his forthcoming book, The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction. For a slide show on the whole Festival, go to http://www.putnam.lib.in.us/. Thanks to the Putnam County Public Library for all but the first and last of these photos.

The trio during sound check.
The trio performs.

Norbert reads tributes to his trinity of favorite American poets, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Frost.

James Alexander Thom gives a talk about the art and craft of writing historical fiction, the subject of his forthcoming book from Reader’s Digest Press.

Norbert signs books.
Jim Thom signs books.
Director Margot Payne (middle) with Norbert & Katherine and Jim and Dark Rain Thom outside the PC Library.

On Sept. 19 at the Buskirk Chumley Theatre in Bloomington, the fourth Hoosier Dylan show took place. The performers were Tim Grimm, Gordon Bonham Blues Band, Tom Roznowski and the Living Daylights, Stella & Jane, Jason Wilber, The White Lightning Boys, Joyous Garde, and Norbert Krapf, as Indiana Poet Laureate. Most of the photos below are from the sound check. Norbert recited a new prose poem “The Voice” and “Pig Belly Blues,” a tribute to Yank Rachell, with Gordon Bonham on acoustic slide guitar and “Girl of the Hill Country” with Tim Grimm. The week before, on Sept. 10, Norbert, Tim Grimm, and Bobbie Lancaster of Stella and Jane went into the WTIU Studios on the IU campus to record, as a segment of this PBS station’s “The Weekly Special,” the pairing of “Girl of the Hill Country” and Tim’s version of “Girl of the North Country,” with Tim and Bobbie backing Norbert on guitar and mandolin. This segment appeared the same night and the next night also. You can watch “Expressions - Hoosier Dylan,” The Weekly Special by a Podcast available for free from iTunes.

Bobbie, Tim, and Norbert had lunch before the Sept. 10 WTIU filming, at Upland Brewery.

The trio in the studio after filming, with Bobbie pointing to the segments list for that night’s “The Weekly Special.”

Tom Roznowski and the Living Daylights at sound check, with violinist Carolyn Dutton, who performs often with Monika Herzig and Norbert and is on half the tracks of their Imagine CD.
Connor Grimm of Joyous Garde.
Norbert rehearses with Gordon Bonham.

Norbert during sound check.

Gordon and Jason Wilber rehearse.

Jan Lucas and Katherine Krapf visit during the sound check.

Jan and Bobbie Lancaster sing backup during the show.
Tim Grimm in his Rolling Thunder Review hat sings, with Bobbie stepping forth to sing backup.
Gordon backs Norbert during the show, first with “Walking Blues.”
Norbert and Gordon, with Neil Heidler on bass. Neil plays bass on most of Norbert and Monika’s CD.
Norbert recites.

Gordon and Norbert perform the blues.

Finale: “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere!”
Katherine at the merch table with the IPL’s books and CD.
Amy and her son at the merch table with Gordon’s CDs and T-shirt.

On Sept. 24 as part of the yearlong Mahler Project organized by Dean Peter Alexander of the Jordan College of Fine Arts, Norbert, Monika Herzig, Carolyn Dutton, and Claudia Grossman performed “Buried Treasures: Recovering German Heritage through Poetry and Music” in the Johnson Room of Robertson Hall, where Norbert and Katherine’s daughter Elizabeth gave her senior violin recital in 2002 as a Butler student and where Norbert read his poems in early 1998. The program included original poems by Norbert, six early poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, in the German read by Claudia and Norbert’s English translations, and a famous Matthias Claudius poem, “Abendlied”/Evening Song much beloved in Germany as a children’s song, all paired with music by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann, Hoagy Carmichael,  and Monika Herzig, as well as with German folksongs. Monika also played two instrumentals, one her original and another by May Aufderheide, the Indy “Queen of Ragtime,” as part of the program.


This performance required a lot of preparation. In January, Norbert met with Diane Timmerman of the Theatre Dept. to discuss a possible program. Norbert, Monika, and Claudia met in Norbert’s downtown house on Feb. 28, after the Poetry Out Loud State Finals at Central Library, to go over a tentative set list created by Norbert. After Norbert then paired down the set list, Monika paired the poems with musical compositions. After dividing the German poems and Norbert’s translations into call and response sections at the Feb. 28 meeting, Norbert and Claudia met twice to rehearse their German and English recitations, all four performers rehearsed, putting the poetry and music together. Some days before the full rehearsal, Norbert also met with Diane Timmerman and the campus facilities manager to work out the setup of the room for the evening.

German wine, pastries (by Jeanette Footman) and savories (by Alice) were available for purchase, along with CDs and books, before the performance and during the intermission. At the start of the program, Norbert told the audience that the evening began almost forty years ago when he arrived in the New York area to begin teaching at Long Island University and began to trace his family history, study German in adult ed classes at a local high school, and write poems. “This has been a long journey that led to tonight,” he said.

Claudia and Norbert rehearse the Rilke and Claudius poems in German and English.

Carolyn, Monika, and Norbert rehearse a poem in the Johnson Room.

Norbert reciting a poem.

Monika, Claudia, and Carolyn after the rehearsal in the Johnson Room. Monika got to play a Bösendorfer piano.
Monika and Carolyn talk before the performance begins.
Pastries by Jeanette were waiting for the audience.
Also, savories by Alice were ready for purchase.
Jeanette and Alice were ready at the till.
Serious and tired Norbert before he left for Butler, to be energized by his collaborating partners and a fine audience.
The full house is ready to listen. Claudia reports that her teenage daughter, who sat behind her father, said later that the event was “interesting and entertaining.”
Diane Timmerman, our sponsor, introduces us.
The four performers in action.

With the help of Giles Hoyt, we lead the singing in German of “The Moon Has Risen” by Matthias Claudius as our finale.

Norbert and Claudia after the performance.
On Sept. 26, Norbert participated in an Indiana Book Fair at the new Indy Central Library as part of the inaugural Glick Indiana Authors Awards. Such book fairs give authors a chance to catch up with one another, chat with their readers, and, sometimes, talk with publishers. Norbert enjoyed sitting at a table next to author and publisher Nancy Baxter, who for years ran Guild Press and now Hawthorne Publishers and serves on the board of the Indiana Historical Society Press, publisher of The Ripest Moments. It was also a pleasure to see Bloodroot placed on the IU Press table next to Rachel Peden’s wonderful  Rural Free: A Farmwife’s Almanac of Country Living, published in 1961, the year he graduated from high school, and reprinted this year in the Quarry Books series that includes Invisible Presence and Bloodroot. At the Porch Light Indiana evening to take place at the Brown County Public Library in Nashville, IN on October 11, Norbert will read poems keyed to passages in Rural Free.  

Norbert’s books and CD at the table.

Nancy Baxter with her and Hawthorne Pubs. books.
Norbert and Nancy at the table.

The IU Press poster at its extended table.

The IU Press table, with copies of Rural Free and Bloodroot standing next to one another


Part Six of IPL Photo Gallery - October 2009 to December 2009

Return to IPL Main Page