The virgin of Bennington /
Kathleen Norris.
New York : Riverhead Books, 2001.
256 p.
1573221791 (acid-free paper)
More Details
New York : Riverhead Books, 2001.
1573221791 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Kathleen Norris is the award-winning bestselling author of Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith; The Cloister Walk; and Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, in various anthologies, and in her own three volumes of poetry. She divides her time between South Dakota and Hawaii
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2000-12-01:
Bennington in the Sixties shook up leading spiritual writer Norris (The Cloister Walk) but introduced her to her great love: poetry. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2000
Booklist, February 2001
Kirkus Reviews, February 2001
Library Journal, March 2001
Los Angeles Times, April 2001
Publishers Weekly, April 2001
New York Times Book Review, May 2001
San Francisco Chronicle, May 2001
Washington Post, May 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Publisher Fact Sheet
The bestselling author of The Cloister Walk recalls her coming of age as a young poet in the vibrant world of poetry in New York City in the late 1960s.
Unpaid Annotation
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. But it was also at Bennington that she discovered her great love of poetry, which carried her to New York City at a time when a new generation of poets was rattling the establishment and filling the streets and schools and libraries with a sense of urgency. 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 sixties.
Table of Contents
The Virgin of Benningtonp. 1
Worldsp. 21
How to be a Poetp. 43
Falling Offp. 65
Salvation by Poetryp. 93
Gravityp. 123
Taking Wingp. 143
"Only Connect"p. 159
Solicitudep. 179
Tonasketp. 205
Coda. "We Should form a Company"p. 237
Acknowledgmentsp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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