New book is road map for any victim of abuse

Poet Nobert Krapf, a Jasper native, will present a reading from his latest book at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at the Vincennes University Jasper Campus CTIM Theater.

Special to The Herald

“Not talking about the monster makes it grow bigger. Talking about it shrinks the monster, weakening its grip on us,” said a therapist who helped Norbert Krapf deal with abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his family’s pastor in the Holy Family Parish in Jasper.

Krapf’s latest book,  “Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse,” is a prose journal of how he has dealt with and continues to deal with that abuse.  Just three years ago Krapf, a former Poet Laureat of Indiana, released his landmark book, “Catholic Boy Blues,” which tells the story of that abuse in four voices: himself as a boy, himself as a man, the abuser and Mr. Blues, a character created from Krapf’s own imagination.

“Shrinking the Monster” is a memoir of healing.  Years from now this book will be an important part of the record of how the Catholic Church has dealt with the problem of priests who abused young boys.  It took Krapf 50 years to come to terms with the mental wounds this abuse caused in his own psyche.  He gives a great deal of credit to Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger, and other authority figures in the Church who helped him deal with his own emotional scars and helped the Church itself to heal from this internal trauma.

Krapf says in the book,  “I was especially concerned about those who had not been able to confront the abuse in their past.”  “Shrinking the Monster” can serve as a road map for any victim of abuse to confront his or her own emotional wounds.  

During the course of his healing, Krapf has learned to play the guitar and has given many performances of poems from “Catholic Boy Blues” accompanied with blues music.  He says that the blues can always make you feel better.  He has also read and sung his poems as part of Mining the Dark for Healing Gold,  a healing workshop he has presented with poet-therapist Liza Hyatt.

He concludes the book by saying to his readers,  “My friends, I am so glad you could come.”  It is a healing journey that the reader shares with Krapf.  The book is uplifting and inspiring.  It will help any victim of abuse or family member of an abuse victim heal and shrink the monster.

Krapf served as Poet Laureate of Indiana from 2008 to 2010. He was born in Jasper in 1943 and graduated from Jasper High School in 1961.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. Joseph’s College and a Master of Arts degree and doctorate in English and American Literature from the University of Notre Dame.

Krapf will present a reading from “Shrinking the Monster” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 16 at Vincennes University Jasper Campus CTIM Theater. Admission is free.  A question-and-answer session will be held after the reading.  An abuse counselor will be there to help answer questions.  Krapf will also be available to sell and sign books after the reading.    

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