Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse

by Norbert Krapf

Release date: Sept. 20, 2016
Available: Sept. 1, 2016

In Extenso Press, ACTA Publications
ISBN 978-0-87046-9
paper, ca. 240 pp


Online Reviews, Features, Interviews, Blog Entries

Click here, Scroll to # 11, Recovery.

LAUNCH - Oct. 1, 3:00-5:00 pm, Indy Reads Books, 911 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, book launch for Norbert Krapf’s new prose memoir Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse. Publisher Greg Pierce of ACTA Publications, Chicago, who published the new memoir as well as Catholic Boy Blues, will be present, Liza Hyatt will add Celtic harp to Krapf’s blues guitar in presenting a couple of poems and a Dylan song with him, wine and cheese will be available, and so will books for purchase, inscriptions, and signing. Free.


Shrinking the Monster

Years—perhaps decades—from now, when people are trying to comprehend and learn from the pedophile crisis that engulfed the Catholic Church in the last part of the twentieth and first part of the twenty-first centuries, they will be reading Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse by a past Poet Laureate of Indiana, Norbert Krapf. With a poet’s eye for imagery and commitment to telling the truth no matter what the personal cost, Krapf does in this artful memoir what few other survivors have been or would be able to do: walk outsiders through the evils of his own abuse as a boy and his ongoing efforts to recover from the consequences of that abuse throughout his adult life.

Norbert Krapf The author documents in great detail why and how he finally (after fifty years of refusing to do so), went public with what had been done to him as a young boy in the 1950s by the pastor of his family’s Catholic parish in Jasper, Indiana, a man who was a supposed friend of his parents. Each step in Krapf’s ongoing recovery is documented in careful prose, with frequent references to his book of poetry on the abuse, Catholic Boy Blues, which he published in 2014 at age 70.

For those interested in how the Catholic Church is responding to childhood abuse today, Norbert Krapf’s experience may break some of the stereotypes and preconceived notions that people have on the subject. In the process of healing, he receives support and understanding from his wife and friends, a parish priest, a woman religious spiritual director, and several bishops, even as he faces continued resistance to his story from others.

The other reason Shrinking the Monster will be studied in the future is that it is one of the few books to document a poet’s process in writing a single book of poetry. For those who have read Catholic Boy Blues, this new book will be a revelation on how poetry is created and presented by an accomplished poet. And those who start with Shrinking the Monster will be eager to read Catholic Boy Blues to see the relationship between the author’s life and his art.

From the Preface

Writing the thirty-two chapters in this prose book has given me a chance to put the writing and publishing of the Catholic Boy Blues poems in perspective and see what a valuable network of supporters, albeit of different kinds, I have had in taking on the difficult experience of surviving child abuse and working hard to recover from it. It also gave me a chance to describe some of the obstacles I had to overcome in writing and publishing Catholic Boy Blues. Writing this prose book has furthered my healing and, I hope, might encourage some of my fellow survivors who have not yet been able to take the steps I have finally taken to make my ongoing healing a reality.

If you are a survivor of childhood abuse, I can say that I wrote this book more for you than for myself. I pray that what I say about what happened to me and how I am still recovering from it moves you, when the time is right, to take whatever actions will help you heal. Maybe by the time you finish the last sentence in the last chapter, you will hear a voice that wants to speak to others about your own experience. If you hear such a voice, please listen to what it wants to say and give it permission to speak.

Writing the poems in Catholic Boy Blues taught me that we can best “help someone’s soul heal,” to borrow a phrase from Rumi, if we first heal ourselves. This book tells the story of my healing, a healing still in progress that I expect to take the rest of my mortal life.

Information and Orders

Publication Date: September 20, 2016, 240 pages, paperback, ISBN: 978-0-87946-984-9, Product Number: 2016, $14.95. Order form

Shrinking the Monster is published by In Extenso Press, LLC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and distributed exclusively by ACTA Publications, Chicago, Illinois. Visit or call ACTA at 800-397-2282. An e-book will also be available from online vendors on all platforms. For additional information, to arrange an author interview, or to request review copies, contact Greg Pierce, 800-397-2282,

Shrinking the Monster

Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet’s Journal of Healing
by Norbert Krapf

Catholic Boy Blues is not for the faint of heart nor for those who simply wish to “move on” from the current and historical reality regarding the abuse of children. This collection of moving poems offers anyone—including those in positions of authority and trust with children—a path toward understanding, hope, and healing.

“To read Catholic Boy Blues is to enter into the pain and confusion of an abused child and the despair and anger of an adult man. It has been a spiritual journey to walk with Norbert Krapf through this “dark night.” His courage to share this journey with us will be a resource for others who have experienced abuse and for their caregivers. Publishing this book required a lot of strength and prayer, and the Holy Father should have a copy.” — Rev. Michael E. O’Mara

224 pages, paperback, ISBN: 978-0-87946-988-7, Product Number: #2012, $14.95

About In Extenso Press

In Extenso Press is dedicated to discovering, editing, designing, printing, and distributing books that matter, particularly books that may find themselves outside the often narrow purview of traditional publishers. Titles are distributed exclusively by ACTA Publications.

For additional information, to arrange an author interview, or to request review copies, contact Michael Coyne, In Extenso Press, LLC, 800-397-2282,


CONTACT: Gregory F.Augustine Pierce, In Extenso Press

800-397-2282 or


Online Reviews, Features, Interviews, Blog Entries

  1. Tim Lilly article about NK Monster reading to Diocese of Evansville staff 3/16/2017

  2. Monster a finalist for Foreword INDIES Award

  3. Ed Walston review of Monster in The Herald

  4. Shrinking the Monster named winner of a 2017 Illumination Book Award in the category of Recovery, scroll to #11.

  5. Catholic News Service has picked up and distributed Natalie Hoefer's review that appeared in The Criterion, the Archdiocese of Indy weekly.

  6. Sharon Gamble of “The Art of the Matter,” WFHI FM/NPR, Nov. 12, 2016  interviews Norbert Krapf on Monster. This segment of the weekly show starts a little after the 37 minute mark and lasts ten minutes.”

  7. Review by Teresa Pitt Green in the December, 2016 issue of the new online publication Healing Voices begun by survivors. 

  8. Review by Natalie Hoefer in The Criterion, Dec. 23, 2016 issue of the weekly paper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. 

  9. Seven five-star reviews at Amazon.

  10. NK survivor’s review of the film “Spotlight.”