Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana
by Norbert Krapf, Indiana Historical Society Press, 2008
Reviewed by Fred Yaniga
Norbert Krapf has justly accumulated
accolades since returning to his Indiana home from New York in
2004. Producing 8 books and a Jazz CD in those 5 years, Krapf,
Indiana's Poet Laureate, shares some of that rich harvest with his
2008 The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood.
Oddly enough, this book is not a collection of poetry most Krapf
readers would expect after earlier volumes like Finding the Grain,
Bloodroot, and his newest Sweet Sister Moon (2009). No, The Ripest
Moments is a study of Krapf's German-American heritage, a return to
his Dubois Co., Indiana roots.
Krapf is a storyteller who fills his memoir with old photographs
flanked by narratives that tell of joyous and painful family
moments. As the reader flies through this compact volume it is not
the pictures that tell the story, but rather the story which
illustrates the pictures. Krapf raises the spirits of long-past
relatives like his baseball-loving cousins Brute and Eddie
Hoffmann, his Grandpa Benno who owned the sawmill and his
Great-Aunt Tillie who, although born in Indiana, spoke only
And in these pictures and stories Krapf instills a spirit of
place and time in which you might recognize your own family or
perhaps a friend or neighbor. This sense of communal memory is the
goal. As Krapf says, his work "is a conviction that an awareness of
individual and collective origins can enlighten, nourish, guide,
and sustain us and those who come after us."
- Fred Yaniga is a Lecturer in German at Butler University.