Norbert Krapf: “Hearing Poems in My Ancestral Dialect”


Hearing poems read in Franconian dialect

brings back memories of the past

in a language old but not suspect,

in words that deep down do last.

I still hear our mother and father

talking at table when we were young

in a language that did not falter

but in which we could not have sung.

Now when a friend from my ancestral region

reads earthy poems in words half familiar

it brings me back to that earlier season

when life was basic and rules were regular.

The human center of our life does not change

even if the words we speak evolve and range.

Norbert Krapf, former Indiana Poet Laureate, is the author of his recent eleventh poetry collection, Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet’s Journal of Healing (2014), and the sequel prose memoir, Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse (2016), the winner of an Illumination Book Award. He has received a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and a Glick Indiana Author Award.

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