Kathleen Norris (poet)

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Kathleen Norris (born in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 1947) is a poet and essayist. Her parents, John Norris and Lois Totten, took her as a child to Hawaii, where she graduated from Punahou Preparatory School in 1965. Growing up, she spent most summers in her grandparent's town, Lemmon, South Dakota.[1] After graduating from Bennington College in Vermont in 1969, Norris became arts administrator of the Academy of American Poets, and published her first book of poetry two years later.[2] In 1974 she inherited her grandparents' farm in Lemmon, South Dakota, moved there with her husband David Dwyer, joined Spencer Memorial Presbyterian church, and discovered the spirituality of the Great Plains.[3] She entered a new, non-fiction phase in her literary career after becoming a Benedictine oblate at Assumption Abbey Richardton ND in 1986, and spending extended periods at Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota.[4]At this period in her career, one of her focuses was death and depression.[5] Since the death of her husband in 2003, Norris has transferred her place of residence to Hawaii, though continuing to do lecture tours on the mainland.

Published books[edit]

  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston/New York City 1993, ISBN 0-395-71091-X (pbk.) (awarded "Notable Book" status by The New York Times)
  • The Cloister Walk (1996)
  • The Virgin of Bennington (2001)
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (1998)
  • Benedict and Scholastica
  • The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work" (1998)
  • Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks, And A Writer's Life (2008)
  • Falling Off
  • The Middle of the World (1981)
  • The Year of Common Things
  • Little Girls in Church (1995)
  • Journey: New and Selected Poems, 1969-1999. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2001, ISBN 0-8229-4137-6.

Norris has also been a regular contributor to such magazines as Christian Century.


  1. ^ 'About the Author, 'Dakota:A Spiritual Geography,' 1993.
  2. ^ Kathleen Norris, Falling Off, Big Table Publishing Company, 1971.
  3. ^ Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, 1993.
  4. ^ Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk, Riverhead Books, 1996.
  5. ^ "Author Kathleen Norris talks about death, writing and the contemplative life". America Magazine. 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2019-05-01.

External links[edit]