new from Fernwood Press
Since the 1970s, Norbert Krapf has been working on a collection of poems that tell the story of his stillborn sister and the effect she has had on him and on his family, as well as the spiritual journey he has been on since then. This book, Spirit Sister Dance, is that collection.
This collection of elegies for Norbert Krapf’s sister who, being born, did not come to life, is beautiful and almost too much to bear. These are incised, meditative poems in the act of remembering and of finding a way to deal with such a profound loss that is with him as he keeps, somehow, finding his Marilyn. He wonders if her voice is his, “the song my entire life / has been writing.” Between and among these poems, I kept breathing with him, and with her. I know of no other book in our poetry like this one.
—William Heyen, Poet in Residence Emeritus at SUNY Brockport
“You may be surprised at how well / my ears are attuned to your pitch,” poet Norbert Krapf writes in these quiet and deeply felt poems written to his stillborn sister. He’s been waiting for her to speak to him, and he’s not disappointed. Encountered by the poet as light and song, as dance partner, angel, and muse, his sister serves as connection and guide to the self but more importantly to a spiritual dimension that Krapf approaches with trust and with enduring love.
—Susan Neville, author of Sailing the Inland Sea
Spirit Sister Dance is tender and prayerful. These poems live the questions: what is life, what is death, what is birth, what is spirit, what is love? As the poet finds the real, responsive love that is there, readily offering itself to him, these Norbert Krapf poems become songs of the union that mystics celebrate.
—Liza Hyatt, author of Once, There Was a Canal
Norbert Krapf is a former Indiana Poet Laureate. His previous books include fourteen poetry collections and three volumes of prose memoirs. He has a poem in stained glass at Indianapolis International Airport. He has received the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and a Glick Indiana Author Award. He performs poetry and blues with Indiana bluesman Gordon Bonham.
The Hand in Mine
We are lying side by side,
my stillborn sister and I.
We are both looking up.
We need not say anything.
We lie together for a long time
before I realize her hand
has found its way into mine.
It’s not easy to know
when a spirit hand has
slipped its way into yours
because the touch is so delicate.
There is a slight tingle
as quiet as a touch can be.
I know why she is here.
She is my female other half.
She is my spirit other half.
Together we make one whole.
She has come to lead me
back home to the other side.
That’s why her hand is in mine.
It is dark outside, but when
the sun begins to rise,
we will walk away together.
I see she has been waiting.
Spirit Sister Dance is available now for presale from Fernwood Press and will ship by Thursday, October 27. Click here to order your early copy.