Support Your Local Poet

I am moved and honored to be named Indiana Poet Laureate. This is the right time for me to make a contribution to the life of poetry in our state.  I wish that my Indiana-loving parents were still alive to savor the unexpected honor.

Since my family and I moved to Indianapolis in 2004, after 34 years in the New York area, many good things have happened to me and my writing: a collaboration with photographer Darryl Jones that became the Invisible Presence coffee-table book from IU Press; a collaboration with IU jazz pianist-composer Monika Herzig that led to the CD Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words from Acme Records; the recent publication by the Indiana Historical Society Pr.  of my prose memoir, The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood; and the fall release by IU Press of Bloodroot: Indiana Poems, a selection of 175 poems written 1971-2007. All these projects have deepened my contact with the landscape and the people that figure in so many of my poems.

I knew it was going to be good to be living back in Indiana, but I had no idea it would be this good!  For a poet so passionate about exploring his Indiana German origins and searching for home, being named Indiana Poet Laureate is a tremendous affirmation. I hope to make my energies and enthusiasms contagious! As Indiana Poet Laureate, I plan to continue my efforts to reunite poetry and music through performances and a new series I am creating for The American Cabaret Theatre in  Indianapolis, Together Again: Music & Poetry; try to bring Indiana poetry to TV and radio; give readings, talks, and jazz and poetry performances with my collaborator Monika Herzig in libraries and other venues; and visit schools to share with students my love of reading and writing poetry and prose memoir.

When I was living on Long Island, I sometimes wore a button I got at the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington Station.  What that button says, above the working man’s image of Walt Whitman as seen in the first edition of his Leaves of Grass, is my motto now as I become Indiana Poet laureate: “Support Your Local Poet!”

                                                                                    --Norbert Krapf


                                                                                       June 17, 2008


Poet Laureate Activity Photo Gallery

Part One: June 18 - September 26, 2008

Click on the thumbnails for larger versions.

June 18, 2008 concert, Ice-T recites Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama poem sequence with the Indy Symphony Orchestra and the Ron McCurdy Quartet

Norbert with Ice-T, after the latter recited Langston Hughes’ poem sequence “Ask Your Mama” with the Ron McCurdy Quartet and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  Norbert and Monika, along with Tasha Jones and Carl Hines, performed jazz and poetry in the lobby before the show.

Monika and Norbert in the lobby before 6/18/08 Ice-T event.
Carl Hines’ copy of Langston HughesAsk Your Mama.
Langston Hughes inscription for Carl Hines.

June 25 private reception at the Indianapolis Museum of Art hosted by Jim Irsay, Colts owner, for opening of Kerouac On the Road scroll manuscript exhibit. The public opening was the next night and the David Amram jazz backing for recitation of passages from the novel repeated.

With David Amram at opening of Kerouac scroll exhibit, Indy Art Museum.
With bassist per excellence Frank Smith
Kerouac looks down from above where the On the Road scroll MS is on show.
Norbert recites “On Hearing Shearing” with David on keys and Kenny Phelps on drums.
Norbert recites with Frank on bass.

July 12 reading from The Ripest Moments at Bookmamas, an independent bookstore at 9 Johnson Street, Irvington, Indianapolis.

Bookmamas, in historic Irvington, Indianapolis.
Norbert ready to read and sign.
Another great audience.

July 16 evening recording of poems with Cary Fields at WICR, Univ. of Indianapolis, for two “Fields of Bluegrass” programs.

WICR, 88.7 FM, The Diamond, Univ. of Indianapolis.
Cary Allen Fields, host of “Fields of Bluegrass,” at the controls.

Norbert prepares to read his poems for programs on Women in Bluegrass and Working Men & Women. 

Cary smiles after reuniting poetry and song.

July 23 evening recording of poems at WICR for “The Free Zone” with Cary Allen Fields and special guest artist Greg Ziesemer.

Back at WICR, to record poems for Cary Allen Fields’ “The Free Zone.”
Cary and special guest singer-songwriter Greg Ziesemer, founder of The Spud Puppies. Greg now performs and records with singer-songwriter Kriss Luckett .
Norbert and Greg. Norbert recorded his poems “Full Moon Over Central Indiana,” inspired by Kriss Luckett’s “Sweet Sister Moon,” and “I’m Practically with the Band,” a poem he wrote for The Spud Puppies.

Poet Laureate Party, American Cabaret Theatre, July 27, 2008

On Sunday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m. the American Cabaret Theatre, top floor of The Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis, hosted a Poet Laureate Party, which was open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments were provided by Jeanette Footman of Zamovar, which hosts the weekly Sunday  Kaffeeklatsch at Perk Up, 6536 Cornell Ave., Broad Ripple. Norbert Krapf and Monika Herzig and Friends (Carolyn Dutton on violin, Peter Kienle on bass) performed poetry and jazz from Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words, Mark Kesling, ACT CEO, announced the details of a new series he invited the new Indiana Poet Laureate to create, Together Again: Music & Poetry, and everyone had a chance to mix, talk and celebrate.

The next 11 photos were taken by John Groppe

Mark Kesling, CEO of the American Cabaret Theatre, in the Indy Athenaeum, welcomes everyone to the Indiana Poet Laureate party.

Sharon Gamble, of WFYI’s “The Art of the Matter,” explains to the audience that she is filming to begin, with Norbert as IPL, a TV project, The Indiana Poetry Corner.

First IPL, Joyce Brinkman, passes on the poetry torch to Norbert as IPL 2.

Monika Herzig (piano), Peter Kienle (baritone guitar), and Carolyn Dutton (violin) provide the music.

Norbert recites poetry.

We all four go at it.

Monika smiles.

Monika, Carolyn, Norbert 

We thank the audience.

At the book and CD table.

Norbert signs fellow St. Joseph’s College alum Tim Seiler’s books.

Norbert visits with an audience member.

Jeanette Footman of ZamoVar contributed peach crumb cake.

Poets Jeff Pearson, JL Kato, and Richard Pflum.
Poet Joe Heithaus, his wife Jenny, and 3 of their 4 children.

August 1 and 2 readings and signings as part of the annual Jasper Strassenfest.

With my Aunts Lucy (91) and Rita (85), cousin Mary, and brother Len after my reading at the St. Charles Health Campus, Jasper.

Aunt Rita looks back through her copy of the memoir, which I’m about to read from.

Annette Marks, program director, gives the intro.

Left half of the audience. 

A resident asks a question.

Café setting, evening reading, Dubois County Museum. Cousin Tony Krapf and wife Elise are seated at the far right.

Memoir cover theme table setting.

Reading from the memoir at the DCM.

Standing in front of photo portraits of Great-aunt & -Uncle Lizzie & Alphonse Krapf

With cousin & h.s. classmate Marlene Kunkel Bingham.

With Ruth Newman, of the Newman sisters on the memoir back cover photo, East 15th St. gang.

With daughter of Brute Hoffman, hero of “The Night the Game Was Called.”

With Sandy Sternberg Miller, neighbor at whom the IPL once supposedly threw stones but missed.

Dave Kluemper & cousin Mike Schmitt, mainstay volunteers at the DCM

Brenda Hurm, Rosie Stewart, and Stephen Jones behind the Indiana Poet Laureate cake.

Mayor Bill Schmitt arrives at the DCM signing to read a proclamation.

The proclamation that Aug. 1, 2008 is Norbert Krapf Day, was not read until Aug. 2, therefore spared the IPL all anxiety.

The mayor laughed when the IPL read his poem “The Schneebrunzer,” in which the mayor offers a reward for anyone who identifies the culprit.

With Carolyn Brames Taylor, Len Krapf , Nancy Brelage Teder, and Barbara Tucker Hoffman.

With Dave Blessinger, hay-hauling buddy

With cousin Annie Alles, who has bought a dozen copies of The Ripest Moments.  

With Donna Schepers, planning a visit to Jasper schools.

A hand-made tray as gift from the DCM.  

The IPL’s friends keep him honest and humble by giving him a poet lariat plaque.

August 25 reading from The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood at the Carnegie Art Center , Rensselaer , In.  Aug. 26 lecture about writing a memoir to St. Joseph College Core Humanities program freshman. All photos by John Groppe.

View from the back of the room at the Carnegie Art Center , with mainly St. Joseph ’s College freshman in attendance. While waiting for the reading to begin, the audience listened to NK’s collaboration with pianist-composer Monika Herzig, Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words.
NK seen from close-up while reading from his memoir.

Delivering a lecture titled “Harvesting Your Ripest Moments” to SJC freshman.

Aug. 27 reading by “Airpoets” hosted by the Indiana Writers’ Center at the Indy Art Center, Broad Ripple, to celebrate the release of their Rivers, Rails, and Runways anthology.

The 5 “Airpoets” (who had poems selected to become part of stained-glass panels at the new Indy Airport) read from their new anthology, Rivers, Rails, and Runway at the Indy Art Center (Writers’ Center): l.r., Joseph Heithaus, Jeannie Deeter Smith, Norbert Krapf, Joyce Brinkman, Ruthelen Burns.
SF Bay Press and

Ruthelen Burns reads.

 Joe reads. 

Jeannie Deeter Smith signs.

The IPL signs.

Joe signs.

Sept. 3 introduction of German poet/playwright Helmut Haberkamm for his talk “On Being a Southern German Dialect Writer” in the Poetry on Brick Street series, Zionsville.

German poet/playwright Helmut Haberkamm speaks with Rohana McCormack after giving talk at the Brick Street Inn, Zionsville, about being a dialect writer in southern Germany. NK introduced.

Sept. 4 rehearsal and performance of “A Call for Peace” with Monika Herzig and Tom Roznowski and the Living Daylights in the Together Again: Music & Poetry series at the American Cabaret Theatre.

Norbert, Monika, and Carolyn Dutton rehearse for the A Call for Peace program at the American Cabaret Theatre, the opening of the series Together Again: Music & Poetry.

Tom Roznowski rehearses the finale, John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Helmut, who collaborates with a Franconian dialect singer-songwriter, observes ACT rehearsal.

Sept. 6 Penrod Arts Festival signing of The Ripest Moments at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Not shown are Sept. 20 signing at Keystone Mall Borders, Indy; Sept. 24 Poetry Out Loud presentation, Connersville High School; and Sept. 26 reading for the Indiana Arts Commission board, Indy.

Norbert signs books at the Penrod Arts Festival, Indy Museum of Art.

Please continue to Part Two of the IPL Photo Gallery
June - Sept., 2008
Oct. - Dec., 2008
Jan. - March, 2009
April - June, 2009
July - Sept, 2009
Oct - Dec, 2009
Jan - March, 2010
April - June 2010