Songs in Sepia and Black and White

Songs in Sepia and Black and White

Norbert Krapf, photographs by Richard Fields
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 08/13/2012
ISBN: 978-0-253-00636-3
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Author Norbert Krapf is the regional winner of the 2014 Indiana Authors Award

A collaboration born of a shared love of music, photography, poetry, and Indiana, this book celebrates the history, literature, and art that informs the present and shapes our identity. Richard Fields's black and white photos are evocative imaginings of Norbert Krapf's poems, visual metaphors that extend and deepen their vision. Krapf's poems pay tribute to poets from Homer and Virgil to Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Wendell Berry, and to singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie and John Lennon. They also explore the poet's German heritage, question ethnic prejudice and social conflict, and praise the natural world. The book includes a cycle of 15 poems about Bob Dylan; a public poem written in response to 9/11, "Prayer to Walt Whitman at Ground Zero"; "Back Home," a poem reproduced in a stained glass panel at the Indianapolis airport; and ruminations on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, "Questions on a Wall."

Author Bio

Norbert Krapf, Indiana Poet Laureate (2008-2010), is Emeritus Professor of English at Long Island University. He is author (with Darryl D. Jones) of Invisible Presence (IUP, 2006) and author (with David Pierini) of Bloodroot (IUP, 2008).

Richard Fields was Chief Photographer for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Photo Editor for Outdoor Indiana Magazine from 1985 to 2008, and most recently, a photographer at DePauw University. He is author (with Hank Hoffman) of Indiana from the Air (IUP, 1996) and a photographic contributor to The Natural Heritage of Indiana (IUP, 1997).


“A collaboration born of a shared love of music, photography, poetry, and Indiana, Fields’s photos are evocative imaginings of Norbert Krapf’s poems, which pay tribute to poets from Homer and Virgil to Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Wendell Berry, and to singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan.”

“Songs in Sepia and Black and White is about the influences that make us; in these 101 poems Norbert Krapf explores the richness of his ancestry, from the memory of his parents to his abiding, formative love for Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Bob Dylan and other figures. The lyrics are elegant and spare, meditative and melodic, reminding us of the ancient intertwinement of poetry and song. A book to treasure—and a book that confirms Krapf's status as one of America's finest living poets. ”
 — Benjamin Hedin, editor of Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader

“Norbert Krapf has a natural gift for bringing you into his world and making it your world as well, whenever he reads his poems. As a musician, it is always a joy to accompany his words, and just as much of a pleasure to sit quietly with any of his collections and join him in all the travels and places in the heart that his poetry takes us to. Songs in Sepia and Black and White is a collection that you will want to take with you wherever you travel, even if only to the next room. Norbert Krapf's poetry makes you want to celebrate your own family history, your own roots and the beauty that surrounds us all. ”
 — David Amram, composer, multi-instrumentalist, author

“Section III of this volume features under the title "Practically with the Band" a cycle that pays tribute to the great Midwestern singer-songwriter Bob Dylan who provides a model for reuniting poetry and music. The book title for the entire collection very appropriately reflects all three artistic genres of this volume: music, pictorial art (photography), and language as the medium of poetry.”
 — Gert Niers, poet and critic

“Pursuing a tri-fold creative concept that unites poetry, art in the form of photography, and music is certainly not a light challenge. Norbert Krapf has mastered it with remarkable virtuosity and once again reinforced his reputation as the pre-eminent German-American poet of the English language. ”
 — Yearbook of German-American Studies

“Some of Krapf’s poetry is breathtakingly moving. Most of it is very insightful. . . . The way he joins history and emotion is wonderful. You feel a connection to his heritage, as though you were walking through the woods with his father or being affronted as well by changes in a place you thought you knew. ”
 — Englewood Review of Books

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Table of Contents

I. Songs in Sepia and Black and White
Songs in Sepia and Black and White
The Kaiser and the Little Girl’s Tongue
The Come Home from the Flood Telegram
The Boy in the Saloon
The Boy and the Flying Squirrels
Walking to School
Falling Shadows
Virgil in Hill Country
Young Hunter’s Prayer
Woods Time
Christmas Paper Mountain Drifts
A Child’s Intuition
Boy Knives
The Mayberry Café
Casey’s Question
White Knuckles
Monon Memories
The Beatles Cut
The Barbed Wire Tattoo
Dogwoods and Rosebuds for Rita
The Old America

II. A Blank Piece of Paper
A Blank Piece of Paper
Brother Antoninus/William Everson at Notre Dame, 1965
Basho’s Journey
A Hoosier Song of Walt Whitman
The Family Farm: For Wendell Berry
The Campfire Poets
Emily Dickinson’s Song
Moving in with Emily
Emily Dickinson’s Travels
Song for Gabriela Mistral
Basho’s Waters
Walt Whitman on the South Shore
Looking for Walt Whitman on Campus
Mockingbird Memory
Prayer to Walt Whitman at Ground Zero
Blueberries and Buttermilk: For William Stafford
Leaves United for Etheridge Knight
at Crown Hill Cemetery
Rumi for Breakfast
Rumi’s Mysterious Rays
The Mad Underliner
Caveat Emptor
Mulberry Blues
A Word Story

III. Practically with the Band
The Fiddler
Goodnight, Irene
I’m Practically with the Band
Woody Guthrie’s Guitar Machine
Oklahoma Poem Beginning and Ending
with Woody Guthrie
Listening to Live Music
Song for Bobbie D
Arlo and Bob Go Fishing
Song for Bob Dylan
Girl of the Hill Country
My Bob Dylan Dreams
The Franconian Tambourine Men
Hoosier Dylan
Song of the Blue-Eyed Son
The Voice
This Time ‘Round
The Gift
Tambourine Man in Hell’s Kitchen
Letter to Bob Dylan with One Eye Closed
The Day John Lennon
Pig Belly Blues
Sweet Home Indianapolis
Jennie’s Song
Jack’s S