After 20 years of living in the "Great American Outback," as Newsweek magazine once designated the Dakotas, poet Kathleen Norris (The Cloister Walk) came to understand the fascinating ways that people become metaphors for the land they inhabit. When trying to understand the polarizing contradictions that exist in the Dakotas between "hospitality and insularity, change and inertia, stability and instability.... between hope and despair, between open hearts and closed minds," Norris draws a map. "We are at the point of transition between east and west in the United States," she explains, "geographically and psychically isolated from either coast, and unlike either the Midwest or the desert west." Like Terry Tempest Williams (Refuge), Norris understands how the boundary between inner and outer scenery begins to blur when one is fully present in the landscape of their lives. As a result, she offers the geography lesson we all longed for in school. This is a poetic, noble, and often funny (see her discussion on the foreign concept of tofu) tribute to Dakota, including its Native Americans, Benedictine monks, ministers and churchgoers, wind-weathered farmers, and all its plain folks who live such complicated and simple lives. --Gail Hudson...
|Title||:||Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||260 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Dakota » Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)|
Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas) Reviews
Ok, so I'm on a Kathleen Norris kick here. What can I say?
Kathleen Norris grew up in Hawaii, but went to South Dakota every summer to spend time with her grandparents. She went to college on the east coast, worked for awhile after graduation in New York City, but eventually moved with her husband (also a poet) to her maternal grandparents home in South Dakota to live.
A parallel story is Kathleen Norris growing up not really understanding or liking the God she was taught about in the Presbyteria ...more
Magnificent as always. I'll read anything by Kathleen Norris. She's my spiritual guidance counselor when I need her the most.
I found this collection of personal essays to be quite timely in my own life's journey as I retreated from having over committed myself to multiple, responsible volunteer projects. Norris describes in beautiful, sensitive, and intelligent prose, her move from bustling NYC to a small town in western South Dakota. Having grown up in a small town myself, I could readily relate to her observations -- the many little gifts such a town has to offer -- but also the feeling of isolation and pettiness th ...more
It is always interesting to see how a book stands up to a re-reading. This book fared fairly well in that I think it is one of Norris's best written books. There is little narrative sequence in Norris's reflections, save the general story of moving from New York to South Dakota and through a process, South Dakota becomes home. Instead, what we have here is a series of poetic reflections on Dakota, on place, on the Benedictine monastery (Norris is an Oblate).
I found it interesting that many of N ...more
We are tied to the places we live. Our spiritual formation is shaped by the communities we live in. Great insight into life and the rhythms we keep.
I discovered this book in a used bookstore in Charlottesville, and felt drawn to it immediately. My mom is from South Dakota and so I feel a connection to that part of the world, and I was also hoping to find a book celebrating solitude in a forgotten place. I was not disappointed. This quote sums up the book nicely-
"I had stumbled onto a basic truth of asceticism... it is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person. It is a radical way of knowing ex ...more
I read this years ago, and it was the first time I learned (by reading Norris's experience) to understand my sense of life through a sense of place. Geography is often ignored in this age when so few of us make our livings from the land, but the landscapes around us, what we see each day, the weather that blows around us, does impact us.
Having grown up in Kansas, I appreciated Norris's admiration for the plains -- a landscape many people write off as boring. There is nothing boring about a wide- ...more
I acquired this book (used) sometime in the late 1990s. I'd liked another book of Norris's, The Cloister Walk, and thought I might like this one, but Dakota didn't grab me and at some point during our globetrotting years, I packed it in a box and forgot about it.
My father died in 2008. For several months I was able to put my grief on hold by focusing on the tasks of settling his affairs, selling his house, packing up (or giving away) his possessions. A lot of stuff ended up in our basement and a ...more