Poet Laureate Activity Photos Part Six

October - December 2009

Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.

On Oct. 2 and 3 in Zionsville there was a series of events titled “The ART of Poetry: A collaboration of Artists & Poets” organized by the inaugural Indiana Poet Laureate, Joyce Brinkman. Twelve poets submitted three poems each to twelve artists (different media), who selected one poem and created a new work of art in response. On the evening of Feb. 20 was “The ART of Poetry Reading Tour,” a walk to four galleries in which  three pairings of a poem in calligraphy and the works of art were displayed—each poet read his/her poem after an intro for each artist and poet. This same “exhibit and reading” will take place Nov. 6 at the Indiana Humanities Council in downtown Indianapolis.

Here are the poets (name first) and artists as paired: Robert Goodman Jewelers: Joe Heithaus/Laura Villanyi (glass); Barry Harris/Peg Neal (sculpture); Phoenix Cole/Lynne Miller (sculpture); The Yarn Shop: Carolyn Kreiter-Feronda/Kim Ort (photography); Joyce Brinkman/Kevin Bowles (wood); James Murdock/Laura Hall Tesdahl (colored pencil); Brown’s On Main Street: Jane Gentry Vance/Katherine Meade (oil); Marjory Wentworth/Sandy Ezell (watercolor); Laurel Smith/Katie Lane (gourds); Art in Hand Gallery: Ruthelen Burns/Jody Flynn (acrylic); Mary Brown/Cindy Leavesley (pastel); Norbert Krapf /JD Nolan (photography).

A postcard announcement bearing the logo for “The Art of Poetry,” which opened with an afternoon tea and talk at Serenity in Zionsville by former Virgina PL Carolyn Kreiter-Feronda on collaborations and ekphrastic art.
Norbert and Katherine with Carolyn Kreiter-Feronda at Robert Goodman Jewelers, where the reading tour began in the evening.
Creative responses at Robert Goodman Jewelers to poems by Phoenix Cole, Joe Heithaus, and Barry Harris.
Artists’ responses at The Yarn Shop to poems by James Murdock, Joyce Brinkman, and Carolyn Kreiter-Feronda.
Artists’ responses at Brown’s On Main to poems by Marjorie Wentworth (South Carolina PL), Jane Gentry Vance (former Kentucky PL), and Laurel Smith, with the poems in calligraphy.
Marj and watercolorist Sandy Ezell.

Jane, Carolyn, and Marj.

At Art in Hand, Norbert and Joyce get ready for the readings.
Ruthelen Burns, one of the “Airpoets,” reads her poem that inspired an acrylic by Jody Flynn.
Norbert with photographer JD Nolan, who created sepia and b/w photographs, with a musical motif added, to go with “Songs in Sepia and Black and White.”
JD Nolan’s sepia and b/w photographs.
The Nolan sepia photo that is a companion photos for Norbert’s poem.
On Saturday morning, Marj talks about the collaborations she’s been a part of.
Present for the panel discussion was Katherine O’Connor of the Indiana Humanities Council.
Joyce keeps the discussion moving and makes sure the artists have a chance to wedge in a word.
Poets Ruthelen and Phoenix need Saturday morning coffee before words come to them.

On October 11, at the Brown County Public Library in Nashville, IN, Norbert participated in the second Porch Light Indiana event by reading passages from Rachel Peden’s 1961,  Quarry Books rpt. 2009, Rural Free: A Farmwife’s Country Almanac. See the poster and program photos below for a list of other performers and readers.


The poster for Porch Light Indiana.

The program for Porch Light Indiana.

Part of The Brown County Public Library seen from the parking lot.
Katherine with Beth Grimm, mother of folksinger Tim Grimm.
The James Whitcomb Riley panel on the exterior of the library.
The fall cornucopia in the community room, before the appetizers, snacks, and desserts were set out.

Jan Lucas and Tim Grimm performed songs from their new Farm Songs and read passages from Rachel Peden’s Rural Free.

Norbert reads from Rural Free and related poems from Bloodroot. Tom Roznowski, not pictured here, did an excellent job of serving as emcee.
Janet Rabinowitch, IU Press Director, and Linda Oblack, Quarry Books Editor, listen to the readings and songs.

Norbert, Rachell Perry, and Nancy Hiller sign their books.

Scott Sanders signs and Tim Grimm looks on.

Scott and Ruth Sanders at the book table.

On Oct. 24, Norbert gave an evening reading at The Inn at Spring Mill State Park near Mitchell, at the annual conference of the Federated Poetry Clubs of Indiana. President Glenna Lee Jenkins organized the conference and invited Norbert, who started with a couple of passages from his The Ripest Moments Memoir and then read from Bloodroot and the new Sweet Sister Moon. Awards for the annual poetry contest were given out after the reading and winners read their poems.

Norbert with Pres. Glenna Jenkins.

The audience in the spacious meeting room, one side of which is all windows overlooking the woods below.
Norbert signing books.
The inn seen from the upper parking lot.
One of Norbert’s favorite trees is the shagbark hickory, seen here in the Donaldson’s Woods (some virgin timber) section of Spring Mill State Park.

On Oct. 30, Norbert read with the Airpoets at IUPUI as part of an award ceremony for a poetry contest sponsored by the university library. No photos are available for this event, but see earlier Airpoets events above and below for sample photos of readings by Joyce Brinkman , Joseph Heithaus, and Ruthelen Burns.


On Nov. 3, Norbert read from Sweet Sister Moon at the Irvington Branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Kathleen Angelone of Bookmamas in Irvington again sold books, and Sue Kennedy , director, introduced him.

Poster for Krapf readings at the Irvington and Glendale branches of the IMCPL.
Kathleen Angelone of Bookmamas is always the first to arrive and has books set up when the first member of the audience arrives.

Some of the early birds buy their book(s) first so they can follow along during the reading.Answering questions.

The welcoming Irvington Branch community room displays local art on  its walls.
Norbert spits out a poem!
Answering questions.
Signing a copy of Sweet Sister Moon.

On Nov. 4 at 10:00, Norbert read poems, including the new “Questions on a Wall,” written at the request of Honorary German Consul Sven Schumacher to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, in the combined classes of German professor Gerburg Garmann at the University of Indianapolis. At noon, he gave another reading open to the whole university community as part of the German Week program devoted to commemorating the 20th anniversary. To begin the noon reading, music student Nick performed a Bach prelude on standup bass and then a Bach minuet to accompany Norbert’s reading of his first poem, “Bach in the Morning,” about supervising his children Daniel and Elizabeth ’s morning Suzuki violin practice when they were young.

Norbert photographs students on one side of the room before class begins. The students admitted no poets had ever taken photos of their class.

The other half of the class, in the making.

Prof. Gerburg Garmann, a native of the Hamburg area who is an artist, introduces Norbert to her students. During the discussion, one student asked Norbert for an example of “a custom he recovered through his search for German roots.” In answer, Norbert read “St. Martin’s Day,” which describes his children’s participation in the St. Martin’s Day parade in Erlangen on Nov. 11, 1988, and “The Labor Day Boxes” from his childhood in Jasper, about the transplanting and adapting of the St. Martin’s Day parade to his German Catholic hometown in southern Indiana .
Getting ready to read in the trustees dining room as students come in.
Gerburg Garmann gives Norbert his second intro. of the day.
Norbert and bassist Nick in action.

Reading from Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany (1997).

With Gerburg and her students before a Berlin Wall banner they created.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, Norbert was the first poet ever to read at the annual INPAWS ( Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society) conference, to an audience of about 250 in the old American Cabaret Theatre of the Athenaeum, Indianapolis, two short blocks from his house. The theme of his reading, which was arranged by literature-loving President Nancy Hill, was “Nature and Place as Inspiration.” Members of the audience, comprised mainly of people interested in botany, forestry, and ecology, bought 25 copies of Bloodroot and Invisible Presence. Norbert and Katherine have been proud members of INPAWS since they moved to Indianapolis in 2004.
The INPAWS audience, returning from lunch, seen from the stage.

Image from a presentation about turning a subdivision in Fishers into a haven for native plants.

An image of what happens when a space is allowed to return to native plants, with a popular motto from a baseball movie, “Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.”

Norbert reads his poems about wildflowers, trees and woods, and the language of place.

On Nov. 7 at 8:00 p.m., at a concert by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the Univ. of Indianapolis Chorus, in the elegant concert hall of the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, U of I, Norbert read “Questions on a Wall” to 530 members of the audience and 80 orchestra and chorus members. Norbert recited the poem right after the intermission, just before a passionate, stirring performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, his favorite. It was especially moving for Norbert to read his poem before this magnificent collaboration between Beethoven and German poet Schiller—the fourth movement includes the choral version of his “Ode to Joy,” a fitting conclusion to an event that celebrates Freedom Without Walls. The program bio of Norbert concludes that he considers “music and poetry kissing cousins.”


Before the intermission, Csaba Erdélyi and Eli Eban performed a lyrical and moving version of Bruch’s Concerto in E Minor for Clarinet and Viola with the chamber orchestra. This joyous and memorable event was part of the “Freedom Without Walls” celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There was a spirited reception in the lobby following the concert. Reading the new Berlin Wall poem at this concert reminded Norbert of reading his “Song of the Music Stand” at a concert by the Long Island Baroque Ensemble in the 1980s. Norbert, who read to 250+ people that afternoon at the INPAWS conference, observed that in some years he does not read to 800 people, his audience for this spectacular day and night.

Dialogue Between Poem and Song


Kiss me, kiss me!

said the poem

to the song.


Why yes of course!

said the happy song

in reply.


Why don’t we do

it again? said

one to the other.


Any old  time, babe,

was  the dreamy,

delirious reply.


© 2009 Norbert Krapf


The elegant concert hall as the audience gathers in their seats.

The orchestra warms up.

The reception begins in the lobby—no photos were allowed during the performance.
Music-lovers make a go for the food.
With Claudia Grossman, husband Mitch Vogel, and friend Gisele Reibel, part of the Indy German connection.
Norbert signs a T-shirt for the first time in his life. He wondered when he, the orchestra, the chorus, and the soloists were going on the Freedom Without Walls Tour. Anyone have a couple of buses for sale?
With Honorary German Consul Sven Schumacher, who asked Norbert to write a poem about the fall of the Berlin Wall for the 20th anniversary.

With Maestro Kirk Trevor.

Maestro Kirk Trevor, members of the ICO, and solo singers.

With Elaine Eckhart, Executive Director of the ICO. Elaine arranged for Norbert’s readings on the U of I campus Nov. 4 and was instrumental in having “Questions on a Wall” become part of the evening’s program after hearing it read at a Freedom Without Walls meeting.
With soprano Kathleen Hacker, Vocal Director and Chair of the Music Dept. at U of I.
On Sunday, Nov. 8, Norbert read “Questions on a Wall” again as part of a pre-concert event before the Butler Symphony and Chorus performed Mahler’s Second Symphony, “The Resurrection.” This was part of the year-long Mahler Project focusing on German creativity organized by Dean Peter Alexander of the Jordan College of Fine Arts. The other speakers were people who were in Berlin or from there and connected to Berlin when the Wall came down exactly twenty years earlier, including Jeanette Footman, Fred Yaniga of the Butler German Program and Director of the Modern Language Center, and Pastor Al Smith. The event, which took place in the Krannert Room of Clowes Hall, was co-sponsored by the JCFA, the German Consulate, and the International Center of Indianapolis.
A large ICI poster that greeted all who entered the Krannert Room.
The audience assembles for the brief talks by those who witnessed the fall of the wall.

One audience member enthusiastically displays his T-shirt.

Katherine Krapf with Jeanette Footman, proprietor of Perk Up, which serves German pastries and breads, and one of the speakers.
The five speakers await their term during the introductions by Sven Schumacher.
Norbert reads his “Questions on the Wall” for the fourth time since Wednesday morning, in addition to his Thursday night trial run during the ICO rehearsal for the Sat. night performance of the Beethoven 9.
On Nov. 10, Norbert participated, with Monika Herzig, in “Nature Awakens Creativity,” a project organized by the Central Indiana Land Trust as part of the Spirit and Place Festival. Writers, songwriters, artists, photographers, sculptors, and musicians were invited to apply to become part of this project and visit one of the many Central Indiana nature preserves in its care and then to create a new work of art in response. These new works were exhibited in the Library of the Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple as of Oct. 1. Norbert, who read the letters of German immigrant Jacob Schramm in the 1970s while living on Long Island, chose to visit Schramm Woods, a preserve about thirty minutes east of Indy, with his wife Katherine. Norbert’s collaborator Monika, at the eleventh hour, agreed to create a new musical composition to go with his poem “Schramm Woods.”


On Nov. 10, the Indianapolis Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Pam Blevins Hinkle, who also directs the S & P Festival, did improvised backings for the writers who read their work and Monika backed Norbert on the piano with “Squirrel Nut Strut.” While the writers read their works to musical backing, or sang their songs, slides of the many works of art created for “Nature Awakens Creativity” were projected in a loop on a large screen on the stage of the Basile Theatre. After these presentations, a panel discussion followed on stage, with the audience making comments and asking questions. One of the main purposes of the Spirit & Place Festival is to encourage collaborations, between individuals as well as organizations. During the panel discussion, Norbert pointed out that he and Katherine and their family moved to Indianapolis in 2004, partly because of the S & P Festival. This was Norbert’s sixth year in the past seven as a presenter in S & P. His first S & P Festival reading took place on his sixtieth birthday in the Indiana History Center , while the Krapfs were still living in the New York area.

The Indy Women’s Choir warms up before the doors open.

A woods image is visible on the screen before doors open.

Eric MacDougal, a board member of the Land Trust who worked hard to put this show together, rehearses his “A Song for Aldrya.”

Pam Hinkle , who played flutes and hang drum and also directed the chorus, listens.

Joe Peters sings “Heaven and Earth.”
Norbert recites “Schramm Woods,” which he had never before read in public, with Monika Herzig, not visible, playing “Squirrel Nut Strut” behind him.
Joe Heithaus reads “Eastern Hemlock.”

After storyteller Bob Sander finished “Breaking Silence,” the Indy Women’s Chorus did a spirited improvised song that took off from some of the last words in Bob’s essay. The audience was invited to participate by singing along.

Members of the panel answered questions on stage after the performance, with Eric M. as moderator.
A part of the panel with a view of two Indiana Poets Laureate.
On Nov. 11, Norbert read at the Glendale Branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Once again, Kathleen Angelone of Bookmamas brought books for sale. Nobody from the library was present to give an introduction, so Norbert did his own honors. “Hello, “he began, “my name is Walt Whitman. It was so hard to get my first book published, the one called Leaves of Grass, that I had to pay for its publication myself. I sold many of the books myself and also wrote several reviews under pseudonyms. It was hard, but still I enjoyed it.”
Part of the audience waiting for the reading to begin.

A view from beyond the lectern, before the reading begins.

Norbert and Kathleen at the book table after the reading and discussion.
On Nov. 14, his birthday, Norbert read 3:00-6:00 from Sweet Sister Moon, paired poems and songs with dear friends Greg Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett -Ziesemer, and signed books at Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the store owned and operated by Nathan Montoya and his wife Anne Vestuto, who the day before in the Indiana Statehouse received a “Main Street” preservation award for their work in restoring their gorgeous building in the beautiful historic town on the Ohio River. One of the honored guests throughout the three hours of celebration was Jack, son of Kriss and Greg. That evening, Greg and Kriss performed at the Livery Stable, along with Tim Grimm, wife Lucas, and their son Connor, in a fundraiser for the Ohio River Valley Folk Fest, which takes place in May.
It’s a Sweet Sister Moon afternoon in Village Lights Bookstore.

The cover art for SSM was created by Ashley Verkamp, a native of Ferdinand, near Norbert’s hometown, Jasper. The Krapf family were members of Ferdinand Parish in 1848.

Nathan and Anne express gratitude for the community’s support of their store. Nathan and Anne lived for six years in Germany while working for an opera company, and Nathan was an Associate Prof. of Dance at Southern Methodist Univ. before moving back to Indiana and opening VLB after restoring the building for two years. It’s people like Nathan and Anne who give a home to literature and serve their communities by making their stores centers of local culture. The Indiana Poet Laureate believes strongly in independent booksellers.
The sign in the window gives the names of the poet and musicians who are teaming together to celebrate the Village Lights anniversary.
Young Jack, son of Greg and Kriss, is ready to boogie! “Bring on the poems and songs,” he says!
Nathan and Anne with Norbert.
Members of the community of all ages came to Village Lights at different points during the three-hour period.
Norbert begins to read from SSM.

In the beginning, Jack had a nice seat—on mama Kriss’ lap.

Norbert introduces Greg and Kriss to sing a couple of songs paired with poems related to their lyrics. The first song was Kriss’ “Sweet Sister Moon,” which gave Norbert’s book its title and inspired the title poem, “Full Moon over Central Indiana .”

Greg and Kriss sing.

While Kriss sings, Anne reaches for a book on the ladder behind her.
Mark Twain looks on, from above some of his books, in the Twain Room, from which Norbert read and Greg and Kriss sang.
Everywhere you look in Village Lights Bookstore, up, down, forward, back, or to the side, you behold beauty.
There is a Steinway in the Mark Twain room which two different pianists played on the evening of the 14th.
Jack was a very good listener, no matter where he sat or stood, no matter what VLP patron he hung out with.

Norbert makes some farewell remarks and thanks Nathan and Anne for all that they give the community.

At 4:00 p.m. on Nov. 18, Norbert was part of a Celebration of Life at the Athenaeum in downtown Indy in honor of his friend Eberhard Reichmann, who died on Oct. 16. With his wife Ruth, Eberhard founded the Indiana German Heritage Society 25 years ago and was the superb editor of its publication series. Norbert remembers well the day in the mid-1980s when he received, on Long Island, where he had been working on his “Indiana German roots” for fifteen years,” his first letter from Eb, who had discovered the 1977 Finding the Grain: Pioneer Journals, Fraconinan Folktales, Ancestral Poems. Eb wrote to say how excited he was to discover this book and Norbert’s work. Eb eventually became the editor and publisher of the revised and expanded Finding the Grain: Pioneer German Journals and Letters from Dubois County, Indiana, which came out in 1996 from the Max Kade German-American Center of IUPUI and the Dubois Co. Historical Society. Norbert worked for almost 25 years on this back-breaking project and appreciated Eb’s help and support in completing the book and seeing that it was published.


As Norbert said, before reciting from memory Eb’s favorite Krapf poem, “The Forefather Arrives,” and a poem written for the occasion, “Eberhard Reichmann Arrives at St. Peter’s Gate,” receiving this first letter from Eb was like finding the voice of a long-lost older brother, or uncle, or father figure. All who testified at the Ceremony of Life agreed that Eb’s work, which he carried on with his wife Ruth, shall go on.  Eb had a passion for language, music, history, teaching, learning, stories about people, especially those dealing with German immigration, and all aspects of German culture. For more information on Eberhard Reichmann and his many talents and accomplishments, click on the following links:




Eberhard Reichmann at Peter’s Gate
          —Norbert Krapf

He’s following in the footsteps
of all the German immigrants
whose stories he helped to tell.
As he passes, they greet him,
give him a Wurst and stein of beer,
say once more, Auf Wiedersehen.
At Heaven’s Door, he teaches
St. Peter how to sing the immortal
hymns in Swabian dialect.
The Great Gate swings open,
the heavenly choir sings,
and Eb’s voice leads the way
as we follow in his footsteps
singing with him the lyrics
he led us back to with gusto.
©2009 Norbert Krapf
The cover of Eberhard Reichmann’s A Celebration of Life program for Nov. 18.

The days’ program, which included music, poetry, and remembrances of Eb.

The cover of Eb’s book Hoosier German Tales Small and Tall.
On Dec. 5, Norbert participated in the Holiday Author Fair for the sixth year in a row, which means he had as many publications in that number of years.  He enjoyed sitting at the book table and chatting with southern Indiana novelist Greg Schwipps, whose What This River Keeps made the author a finalist for a Glick Indiana Author Award in the Emerging Author category. Norbert also enjoyed visiting with author friends Jim and Dark Rain Thom, Susan Neville, Ray Boomhower, Thom Roznowski, Phil Gulley, and others.

Norbert with novelist Greg Schwipps of Milan. Norbert contended that the film Hoosiers was inspired by the Jasper High School State Championship in Basketball in 1949, not the later Milan championship.

Tom Roznowski, author of the new from IU Press, chats with novelist James Alexander Tom.

Jim and Dark Rain Thom with Nathan Montoya and wife Anne of Village Lights Bookshop in Madison.

Ray Boomhower, editor for Norbert’s The Ripest Moments memoir, smiles at his book table.


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