Arriving on Paumanok
Paumanok: “The island with its breast long drawn out.”
—W.W., Brooklyn Standard
A Midwesterner, an inlander,
a lover of the interior,
arrives on Long Island. “Paumanok!”
he whispers, savoring his Whitman,
local aborigine. “Paumanok,” he says,
half aloud. He feels salt water swaying
on every side of him. He looks around
for the rows and rows of ripening
corn he’d sighted down since he was
pushed from the womb. None. Expressways.
“Paumanok,” he repeats, looking
at a map. “Manhasset . . . Mineola . . . Massapequa,”
he reads. He picks out the red and green lines
looping the long breast. He turns them
on his tongue like strange herbs.
“Cutchogue . . . Patchogue . . . Ponquogue,”
he intones. “Wantagh and Wickapogue.”
He feels a mist drifting in from the shore.
“Quogue and Nissequogue, Nesconsett
and Amagansett,” he sings. He hears
the surf splashing nearer. “Commack
and Speonk and Setauket,” he chants,
“Ronkonkoma, Ronkonkoma.” “Shinnecock,
Peconic.” In the middle of a fog
sliding inland off the sea like
the souls of the dead, he says, softly,
“Mattituck, Montauk.” He whispers,
“Paumanok, Paumanok.” He begins
to hear voices from the interior.
From Bittersweet Along the Expressway: Poems of Long Island (Waterline Books, 2000). © Norbert Krapf
I. Academic Degrees, Teaching Born 1943 Jasper, Indiana, German community. Graduated Jasper High School 1961. B.A. in English, magna cum laude, from St. Joseph's College, Rensselaer, IN. M.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, 1966. Ph.D. in English and American Literature, concentration in American Poetry, Univ. Notre Dame., 1971. Taught at the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University 1970-2004, Emeritus Professor of English, campus Poet Laureate 2003-2007, Directed C. W. Post Poetry Center 18 years. U.S. Exchange Teacher at West Oxon Technical College, England (1973-74). Twice Senior Fulbright Professor of American Poetry, at the Universities of Freiburg (1980-81) Erlangen-Nuremberg (1988-89), Germany.
II. Awards and Honors Indiana Poet Laureate 2008-2010. Senior Fulbright Fellow in American Poetry at two German Universities (see above). David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching from Long Island University (1984), Two Trustees Awards for Scholarly Achievement, one for an individual work, another for lifetime achievement (1996). Honorary doctorate from Alma Mater, St. Joseph’s College (Indiana), 1995. Lucille Medwick Memorial Prize (1999) from the Poetry Society of America. Winner of a Glick Indiana Author Award (2014) for body of work. Creative Renewal Fellowship (2011-12) from Arts Council of Indianapolis. Poem “Back Home” included in a stained-glass panel at the Indianapolis International Airport (2008) Part of the Indiana Bicentennial play Finding Home: Indiana at 200 at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in 2016. Two poems read on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. Two poems on IndyRide Busses. Pulitzer Prize nomination for The Country I Come From (2002).
III. Full-Length Poetry Collections Spirit Sister Dance (Fernwood Press, 2022). Southwest by Midwest (Dos Madres Press, 2020). Indiana Hill Country Poems (Dos Madres Press, 2019). The Return of Sunshine: Poems by a Laureate for Ecstatic Grandparents (ACTA Publications, 2018). Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet's Journal of Healing (ACTA Publications, In Extenso Pr. imprint, 2015), winner of Alpha & Omega Religious Award. American Dreams: Reveries and Revisitations (Mongrel Empire Press, 2013). Songs in Sepia and Black and White, with Richard Fields (Indiana Univ. Pr, 2012). Sweet Sister Moon (Word Tech Editions, 2009). Bloodroot: Indiana Poems (Indiana Univ. Pr., 2008), Finalist, Best Book Indiana, Poetry. Invisible Presence: A Walk through Indiana in Photographs and Poems, with Darryl Jones (Indiana Univ. Pr., 2006.) Looking for God’s Country (Time Being Books, 2005). The Country I Come From (Archer Books, 2002). Nominated for Pulitzer Prize. Bittersweet Along the Expressway (Waterline Books, 2000). Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany (Time Being Books, 1997). Somewhere in Southern Indiana: Poems of Midwestern Origins. (Time Being Books, 1993).
IV. Prose Memoirs Homecomings: A Writer’s Memoir (forthcoming Indiana Historical Society Pr., 2023). Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse (ACTA Publications, 2016), winner of Illumination Book Award. The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood (Indiana Historical Society Pr., 1998), finalist, Indiana Best Book (History).
V. Plays Catholic Boy Blues, adaptation of poetry collection of same title, workshop production, June, 2019, five performances, Indy Eleven Theatre of IndyFringe. The Chicken Coop, 2019, next step is table reading.
VI. Books Edited (2 also translated) Walt Whitman, Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications, 2017). Finding the Grain: Pioneer German Journals and Letters from Dubois County, Indiana (Max Kade German-American Center, IUPUI, 1996). Shadows on the Sundial: Selected Early Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke (Birnham Wood Graphics, 1990), also translator. Beneath the Cherry Sapling: Legends from Franconia (Fordham University Press, 1988), also translator. Under Open Sky: Poets on William Cullen Bryant (Fordham University Press, 1986).
VII. Selection of Anthology Appearances (over 85). Stryk, Heartland II: Poets of the Midwest (Northern Illiniois Univ. Pr, 1975). Gildner & Ray, Since Feeling Is First: An Anthology of New American Poetry (New Letters Editions, 1976). Pater, Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry (Monitor Book Co.,1981). Buchwald & Roston, The Poet Dreaming in the Artist’s House (Milkweed Editions, 1984). Fishman, Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (Texas Tech Univ. Pr.,1991). Heyen, September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond (Etruscan Pr., 2002). Coghill & Tammaro, Visiting Walt: Poems Inspired by the Life & Work of Walt Whitman (Univ. Iowa Pr., 2003). Coghill & Tammaro Visiting Frost: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Robert Frost (Univ. Iowa Pr., 2005). Bowen et al, The Captain’s Tower: Seventy Poets Celebrate Bob Dylan at Seventy (Seren, 2011). Kander & Greer, And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana (Indiana Historical Soc. Pr., 2011). Mirriam-Goldberg, et. al, An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the State Poets Laureate (Ice Cube Pr., 2011). Tammaro & Davis, Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (Three Rivers Pr., 2018). Riekki & Scarpino, Undocumented: Poets Laureate on Social Justice (Michigan State Univ. Pr., 2018). Shoup, How We Live(d) (Indiana Writers Center, 1919), https://www.indianawriters.org/blogs/news/the-world-we-lived-in/ Fureness, An Indiana Christmas (Indiana Univ. Pr., 2020). Minnick, An Indianapolis Anthology (Belt, 2021).
VIII. Magazine Appearances Over 200 appearances in magazines and journals such as these and many others: Poetry, American Scholar, Prism International (Canada), Stand (England), The Seventh Quarry (Wales), Ontario Review (Canada), New Letters, Notre Dame Review, Kansas Qtly, Wisconsin Rev, Western Humanities Rev, Texas Rev, West Hills Rev: A Walt Whitman Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Mickle Street Rev, Blue Unicorn, Forkroads: A Journal of Ethnic-American Lit, Southern Indiana Rev, Heartlands Today, Long Island Qtly, Indianapolis Rev.
IX. Materials in Archives Literary papers, mss., correspondence through 2002, Rush Rhees Library, Univ. of Rochester, 50 boxes: https://rbscp.lib.rochester.edu/finding-aids/D291; from 2003 on, Lilly Library, Indiana Univ., https://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/findingaids/view?docId=InU-Li-VAE0531.xml&brand=general&text1=Norbert%20Krapf%20papers&field1=text&startDoc=1.
Long Island Poetry & Literature Repository For more info: www.krapfpoetry.net