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Little Girls in Church (Pitt Poetry Series) Hardcover – June 1, 1995
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Kathleen Norris is best known for Dakota, her nonfiction book of "spiritual geography." This collection works much the same territory. Norris finds the sacred in the simple as in the poem "Hide and Seek," in which "A thunderclap/ rakes the field of sleep," and becomes a consecration. "Perennials" is a wonderful poem about the undeserved grace from a neglected garden. As the title suggests, this book balances fragility with power, in form and in content. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Norris, whose poetry collections include The Middle of the World, reached a wide audience with her prose memoir Dakota, A Spiritual Geography. Readers of that book will recognize here her closely considered relationship with the prairie; her persistent and delighted spiritual questioning; her respectful identification with other women both ordinary and extraordinary; and her joy in stories. She writes of love in various forms, without losing her sense of critical discernment. In a poem dedicated to poet Elizabeth Kray, Norris is at a funeral home, where taped music is played: "violins sliding through 'The Way We Were.'/ 'Please turn the music off,' I said, civilly,/ to the undertaker's assistant." Civility marks her views here, whether she is imagining "Young Lovers with Pizza" or considering ordinary, luminous events in poems written for, and to, friends. Their apparent simplicity wrought with subtlety and resonance, Norris's poems are characterized by generosity and compassion, as plain and spacious as the prairie life that has engendered many of them.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Having never heard of Kathleen Norris didn't keep me from bringing it home and reading it the very next day. Sources and ideas for her poems range from an icon painted by Andrew Rublev in 1425 to Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897 to Rebecca West to the Christian scriptures to Emily Dickinson and William Stafford.
Except for two prose poems, all the others are free verse dealing with nature, human nature, children, the monastery and the monks, love, people, even an account of being fingered as a witness to a wedding in a courthouse.
I was impressed with the small volume and will likely read it again and again.
Her theology is pure, concise and completely without "party line" interference. "Lovers with Pizza" and "She Said Yeah" among others validate those "God moments" which are profound and true, but don't quite seem to fit with what we've learned in church.