The Virgin of Bennington by Kathleen Norris

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Shy and sheltered as a young woman, Kathleen Norris wasn't prepared for the sex, drugs, and bohemianism of Bennington College in the late 1960s—and when she moved to New York City after graduation, it was a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. In this chronicle, Norris remembers the education she received, both formal and fortuitous; the influence of her mentor Betty Kray, who shunned the spotlight while serving as a guiding force in the poetry world of the late 20th century; her encounters with such figures as James Merrill, Jim Carroll, Denise Levertov, Stanley Kunitz, Patti Smith, and Erica Jong; and her eventual decision to leave Manhattan for the less-crowded landscape she described so memorably in Dakota. This account of the making of a young writer will resonate with anyone who has stumbled bravely into a bigger world and found the poetry that lurks on rooftops and in railroad apartments—and with anyone who has enjoyed the blessings of inspiring teachers and great friends.

About Kathleen Norris

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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.
Published April 2, 2002 by Riverhead Books. 274 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships, Religion & Spirituality, Business & Economics, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Poet and nonfiction author Norris (The Cloister Walk, 1996, etc.) focuses in this autobiography on her years at Bennington College in the mid-1960s and a subsequent period of maturation in New York City.

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Publishers Weekly

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In this absorbing coming-of-age memoir by the author of Dakota: A Spiritual Geography and Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith,

Apr 02 2001 | Read Full Review of The Virgin of Bennington

Publishers Weekly

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While gaining an education in urbanity and sophistication that might have made another soul more cynical and self-destructive, Norris managed to maintain a certain appealing innocence and optimism, evident in her receptivity to new experiences and new people, and her hesitancy to judge others.

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