Although Kathleen Norris’s best-selling Dakota: A Spiritual Geography has brought her to the attention of many thousands of readers, she is first and last a poet. Like Robert Frost, another poet identified with a particular landscape, she can reveal the miraculous in the ordinary, and she writes with clarity, humor, and deep sympathy for her subjects.
A spiritual bravery allows her to live in a way that reduces external interference with teh inner voice. As a result, Norris has written some of the finest and most scrupulously honest religious poems of her generation.
Although this book is a celebration, in that word's finest meaning, there is no sense of a festival of fame or publicity. Here is a poet who with wit, sharp intelligence, joy, and an all-seeing eye praises life from the ordinary to the sublime.
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 engendered them.
. . . .she has inherited [Emily] Dickinson's view that the thing that inspires is the thing to be celebrated. The reader can often sense Ms. Norris's sheer pleasure in writing.
Those who may not often read poetry will be lured in and rewarded. Norris reminds her readers that poetry can address the soul in unforgettable ways.
Kathleen Norris’s books of poetry include The Middle of the World, Little Girls in Church, and The Astronomy of Love. In addition to her best-selling memoirs (all listed as New York Times Notable Books), her most recent prose works include Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and ‘Women’s Work,’ The Virgin of Bennington (a memoir) and a children’s book on Sts. Benedict and Scholastica (in collaboration with the artist Tomie de Paola) are forthcoming. Her honors include grants from the Echoing Green Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts. She lives in South Dakota and Honolulu, Hawaii.