Meet Indiana's new poet laureate

June 27, 2008
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I know the suspense was killing you, so here's some relief.

As of last week, Indiana has a new poet laureate. He's Norbert Krapf, a St. Joseph's College grad with an M.A. from Notre Dame. His name is on 21 books as either author or editor, most recently "Bloodroot: Indiana Poems" (IU Press) and "The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood "(Indiana Historical Society Press).

He's also on disc: Krapf teamed with pianist Monika Herzig on CD "Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words."

You can read his poem "Ghost Road" here and "Arriving on Paumanok" here.

My only question: Why is the selection panel only made up of academics?

  • The selection process varies by state. In some states, a select body of published poets chooses the poet laureate. In this state, the selection is according to the following: Senate Enrolled Act No. 433 (effective July 1, 2005; codified as IC 1-2-12) recently created the official position of Indiana State Poet Laureate. The first state poet laureate is Joyce Brinkman, who was honored as poet laureate of Indiana by the house of representatives in House Resolution 73-2002. Brinkman's term will end December 31, 2005. Subsequent laureates will serve a two year term that begins January 1 following their selection. Selection of the Indiana state poet laureate will be made by the executive director of the Indiana Arts Commission along with seven members chosen by the commission who represent state supported and private institutions of higher education.
    Perhaps the drive to include more poetry into our schools is why so many academics are involved.
  • Great choice in Norbert Krapf. He is a fine poet and a professional educator, and is actively writing and publishing. He is also involved in cross-disciplinary artistic activities as well as a passionate advocate for poetry and creative writing in general. Krapf will be a fabulous role model for both youth and adults. Maybe he was chosen by academics, but if they have the knowledge of both poetry and poets, what's the harm?
  • He did a wonderful reading of 'On Hearing Shearing' last night during David Amram's performance at the IMA.
  • I think it was Groucho Marx who said I like the poem that starts 'Thirty days hath September...' because it really tells you something.

    Just a lighter take on poetry.
  • Thanks for mentioning me as The Other IPL (Indiana Poet Laureate). One of the things I'll emphasize is the reunion of poetry and music, which I'll highlight in a new series I was invited to begin at the American Cabaret Theatre, in the Athenaeum, which stands in this downtown neighborhood. On Sunday, July 27 at 5:30 ACT CEO Mark Kesling will host a Poet Laureate Party, free and open to the public. Monika Herzig and I will perform our jazz and poetry combination for a max of an hour, Mark will announce details of the Together Again: Music & Poetry series I'm putting together, and we'll celebrate and all get to know one another.

    I thought the evening with Ice-T reciting Langston Hughes' Ask Your Mama sequence with the Ron McCurdy Quartet and the ISO was a great event and Monika and I were pleased to do a pre-show in the lobby with Tasha Jones and Carl Hines. The Kerouac evening with the energetic and vastly talented David Amram, who worked with JK in NYC in the 50s, was another great energy boost for all of us. I hope to keep the energy flowing and bring people from the arts together during my term as IPL.

    About the selection committe: I'm not sure about this, but it may be that the law which made the IPL an ongoing position stipulated that a committee of academics (from universities and colleges) must make the selection. I loved teaching poetry (but rarely creative writing) for 37 years on the university level and directing a university poetry center for 18 years, but as a poet and as IPL I'm committed to bringing poetry beyond the classroom, where it always has and shall continue to live!

    Folks interested in seeing photos from these and other coming events could find them at Thanks again for the notice!

    Norbert Krapf
  • I must take most of the responsibility for the committee being full of academics. When I was named poet laureate in 2002, there wer no rules, and no duties. I worked with Senators Lubbers and Rogers, and Represetnative Robert Behning to pass legislatiion to provide rules and duties in law. I fully expected the poetry community to get involved during the committe process and suggest changes in what was originally introduced. I in no way thought I had presented the perfect process, but I was pleased we were moving forward on making the awareness of poetry a higher priority in our state.

    Joyce Brinkman
    Indiana Poet Laureate 2002-08

    While I believe those who invest their lives in the field of creative writing education are to be commended and are valuable as committee members, it certainly is possible to change the law and give other voices from other poetry circles the same role in the process. But short of that, everyone has the opportunity to nominate a fine poet for consideration and I hope all of your readers will do so next year. That being said, I think the committee can take great pride in selecting Norbert. He will serve with great distinction and will excell at sharing poetry with all of our citizens.
  • He's a Jasper native - and we're damn proud of him!!
  • Right from my childhood days I am a great fan of Indiana. I admire at his success and life style. Its my pleasure to comment on this article.


    Indiana Drug Treatment
  • I was wanting to know if you would have a photo available of Carl Hines?

    Thank you,
  • Nope

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