-by Norbert Krapf

Time Being Books: April 1, 2005
ISBN 1-56809-103-6 (PB)
Paperback - 144 pages, 85 poems

On April 1, 2005, Time Being Books released Norbert Krapf's Looking for God's Country, a collection of 85 poems set in Indiana and Germany. The new collection, which explores the fact of mortality as central to life, is a sequel to The Country I Come From (2002), a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

Divided into four sections, the new poems describe youthful rites of passage in which death is seen as part of life; follow the German immigrants back to Krapf's ancestral Franconia, the setting of 26 poems inspired by the photographs of Andreas Riedel; move into settings connected with World War II and a reunited Germany; and return to the poet's origins and reflections on mortality set in his native southern Indiana. As in Krapf's earlier work, family history, nature, and personal relationships, in connection with a sense of place and origins, provide the subject matter for many of the poems. Poet and critic Robert Phillips has said of the new collection, "Never easy or facile, [Krapf's] poems embrace not only this world, but the world beyond this world; not only the New World, but the Old World."

Section II, "Franconian Faces and Fields" is a sequence of 26 poems inspired by black-and-white photographs by Andreas Riedel, of Franconian people engaged in daily activities on their farms and in their villages. A colored landscape by Riedel provides the book's cover, and four of his black and white photographs are reproduced on the section-title pages (see the black and white photographs reproduced here and with the Table of Contents). Section III includes "W|rzburg Sequence: After Gunter Ullrich," five poems inspired by colored etchings depicting the effects of World War II on the city that is the cultural and religious center of Krapf's ancestral region. A colored etching by Gunter Ullrich served as the cover for Krapf's 1997 collection, Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany.

Native American writer Joseph Bruchac, who believes Looking for God's Country may be Krapf's best collection, says: "Norbert Krapf... has always spoken eloquently, but without pretension, of spirit and home in his poems." The title, which suggests a search not only for an earthly homeland, but also for the world beyond, is derived from a poem titled "God's Country," which leads off the last section. The title poem concludes that "you will never feel lost / no matter how far you stray, // as long as you remember / where you came from / and never forget that to those / who came before you // where your family lives will / always remain God's country." Another poem in the concluding section, "Coming into the Valley," describes a vision in which the author meets the spirits of his elders. Poet and novelist Robert Morgan, author of the best-selling Gap Creek, an Oprah Winfrey selection, says of Looking for God's Country, "Krapf has the gift to find the delight, and the sacred, in the ordinary, which is also the extraordinary."

For information on ordering Looking for God's Country at a discount, see www.timebeing.com or call (866) 840-4334.

Online Poems from Looking for God's Country
  • The Nest - at Time Being Books
  • Apples in Rainwater as Krapf Christmas Card 2004
  • Strawberry Patch Song as Krapf Christmas Card 2003
  • Ixion Magazine: 8 poems with photography by Andreas Riedel
  • Ten Poems in collaboration with photographer Andreas Riedel. Fulbright Kommission
  • Letter From a Star Above Southern Indiana
  • The Chicken In The Woods, Plywood Summer and Women Gathering Apples and The Woman in the Wine Store at Rogue Scholars

  • All photos copyright by Andreas Riedel.