After a sheltered upbringing in Hawaii, Kathleen Norris was woefully unprepared for Bennington College in the 1960s, with its counterculture of drugs, sex, and bohemianism. This is Norris's memoir of that time, when she worked at the Academy of American Poets in the day and hung out with Andy Warhol's crowd at night. It is an inspiring tribute to ...
After a sheltered upbringing in Hawaii, Kathleen Norris was woefully unprepared for Bennington College in the 1960s, with its counterculture of drugs, sex, and bohemianism. This is Norris's memoir of that time, when she worked at the Academy of American Poets in the day and hung out with Andy Warhol's crowd at night. It is an inspiring tribute to poetry and a stunning evocation of a time and place that is all but forgotten: New York City in the late '60s.
New. 1587884232 ISBN: 1587884232 Audiobook, NEW! Three Audio Cassettes; approximately 4 hours playing time, read by Sandra Burr. Brillance Audio, Abridged edition (April 1, 2001). Audiobooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Poets, Poetry. From Library Journal: Fans of Norris will undoubtedly be attracted to this coming-of-age memoir that charts her personal and professional life from the tumultuous 1960s into the more staid 1970s. As a transplanted Midwesterner from the plains of South Dakota, Norris spends her academic years at Vermont's Bennington College, out of sync with her classmates. She samples drugs (mostly speed, with disastrous results) and enters into an affair with a married professor. These were typical activities for the time of which she writes, still the author herself maintains an innocence and vulnerability that follow her to New York, where she moves after graduation. She happens into a job at the Academy of American Poets (AAP), a new organization under the direction of Elizabeth Kray, whose tireless efforts brought new poets to prominence and made poetry accessible to the general public. Kray also served as a mentor and motivator for Norris's own efforts as a poet, which resulted in winning recognition and publication for her first book. Exposed to encounters with some of the most notable poets of that time Denise Levertov, Erica Jong, James Merrill, James Wright, Gerard Malanga Norris ultimately decides to return to her roots, forsaking the East Coast for the plains of the Midwest. Unlike her previous works, which are either more personal or spiritual, the greatest portion of this story deals with the work of Kray as director of the AAP. For those who hope for something revelatory concerning the author of The Cloister Walk, this book, read by Sandra Burr, will not provide much in the way of enlightenment. Recommended for larger public libraries. Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-02 Thirty-five years ago, poet Norris (The Cloister Walk), the studious daughter of a schoolteacher and professional musician, left her sheltered upbringing in Honolulu Navy housing, ill-prepared for life at wildly liberal Bennington College. Though she fell into an incongruous lesbian relationship, and later, an affair with a married professor, her naivete earned her the nickname "the Virgin of Bennington." Landing a job at New York's Academy of American Poets after college, under the tutelage of arts administrator Betty Kray, alternately described as an "anchor," "mentor" and "friend" who "set a high standard by which I still measure myself," Norris attended poetry readings nearly every day for five years. Norris's first taste of literary success came in her early 20s with the publication of Falling Off. The polished, classy voice of professional reader and Brilliance Audio director Sandra Burr brings an immediacy and freshness to the snippets of poetry (by well- or lesser-known poets, including Norris herself) interspersed throughout the narrative. Less suited to the audio format are the long lists of poets attending functions, and lengthy excerpts from Kray's personal papers. Personal recollections of drug use, encounters with Halston, Keith Richards, Stanley Kunitz, Bob Dylan, Erica Jong, Patti Smith, James Wright not to mention her relationships with Warhol assistant Gerard Malanga and author Jim Carroll belie Norris's quiet, cerebral style and self-proclaimed gullibility, which she chalks up to the "wantonly innocent" zeitgeist. While autobiographical, Norris's memoir is also a tribute to poets and to Kray, whose 30 years of groundbreaking work on behalf of poets included a pilot program to bring poetry to public schoolchildren. Based on Riverhead hardcover (Forecasts Apr. 2). (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-04-02 In this absorbing coming-of-age memoir by the author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography and Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Norris appeals to every reader's struggle to achieve adulthood, both personally and professionally. She tells of her own transformation via the New York art world of the 1960s and 1970s from a homesick first-year college student to a well-known poet and writer living in South Dakota with a strong sense of literary mission. Like many of her Bennington classmates, Norris moved after college to New York City, where she felt much like "Nick Carraway [adapting]... to the dazzling but dangerous world of the East Coast." Norris landed a job as an assistant to Elizabeth Kray at the Academy of American Poets the center of the poetry world which provided her "an opportunity to attend poetry readings, night after night, for close to five years." While in New York, Norris came into contact with an entire host of famous figures, from the decadent folks at Warhol's Factory to some of the most highly respected poets of the day, like Denise Levertov, Stanley Kunitz and James Wright. While gaining an education in urbanity and sophistication that might have made another soul more cynical and self-destructive, Norris managed to maintain a certain appealing innocence and optimism, evident in her receptivity to new experiences and new people, and her hesitancy to judge others. This inner strength leads her eventually to sever her dependency on Manhattan. Norris writes with warmth, frankness and amazing vividness about formative moments and events in her life, many of which readers especially those with artistic aspirations will be able to identify with and to learn from. (Apr.) Forecast: The strong sales of Norris's earlier books pave the way for this memoir, which should sell handsomely. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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