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Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen…

Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Kathleen Norris

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Title:Dakota: A Spiritual Geography
Authors:Kathleen Norris
Info:Mariner Books (2001), Edition: 1, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Non-Fiction, Spirituality, TBR

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Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris (2001)



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I had high hopes for Kathleen Norris's "Dakota." While it was enjoyable, and had several gems buried within, I was constantly aware that it was published nearly 20 years ago. I repeatedly wondered how her perspective has shifted in the intervening two decades. (Fortunately, she has a recent publication out that just might answer those questions!) Nevertheless, despite my hyper awareness of the time difference, Norris's description of the beauty of solitude, whether it was on the plains or in the monastery, were lyrical and passionate, and the depth of her rootedness was evident. Also, her depiction of small-town life resonated with my memories of growing up in a similarly small, albeit less isolated, town. I am happy to have read Norris's book, and look forward to having some of my questions about her perspective answered in her later works, which are on my TBR list. Recommended. ( )
  grkmwk | Jan 20, 2012 |
A great melding of biography, physical landscape, spirituality and place. Along with F. Buechner she is my favorite author on things spiritual. ( )
  Tpoi | Aug 10, 2011 |
Better than many of the other spiritual memoirs I've read recently, and not nearly so choppy as her book "Cloister Walk." (I apologize for my horrible inability to review books well or to assign ratings that mean much of anything) ( )
1 vote YoungGeekyLibrarian | Feb 9, 2011 |
She gives you some things to think about ( )
  Harrod | Dec 5, 2008 |
The author, a poet, moved from NYC to a small town on the ND / SD border, and took up residence in her grandparents' former home. She writes about being an outsider in the small town, the beauty of the "desert," and the hospitality of the Benedictine monks whom she befriended. The weather is harsh; the land and people, tough. The essays are thoughtful and vivid.
2 vote ggreads | Mar 26, 2008 |
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"I think that if we examine our lives, we will find that most good has come to us from the few loyalties, and a few discoveries made many generations before we were born, which must always be made anew.There too may sometimes appear to come by chance, but in the infinite web of things and events chance must be something different from what we think it to be. To comprehend that is not given to us, and to think of it is to recognize a mystery, and to acknowledge the necessity of faith. As I look back on the part of the mystery which is my own life, my own fable, what I am most aware of is that we receive more than we can ever give; we receive it from the past, on which we draw with every breath . . ."
--Edwin Muir, An Autobiography
"Tell me the landscape in which you live, and I will tell you who you are."
--José Ortega y Gassett
In memory of Kathleen Dakota and Mary Beatrice
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The High Plains, the beginning of the desert West, often act as a crucible for those who inhabit them.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618127240, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:48 -0400)

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Norris reveals the contradictions of small town life on the Great Plains, where gracious hospitality blends with provincial wariness, local history is valued by writers, and truth and myth collide.

(summary from another edition)

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