By Noreen Norris
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Caught Heart offers a poignant look at how heart and mind cannot be separated. Noreen Norris’s words integrate the familiar with the surreal: conflicted pleasures of childhood; the power of illness, death, and rebirth—seals in a flooded basement, Jews on the Madonna’s lap. She pits the tenderness in people and in nature against hardness—our nobility against our dark sides. Exploring daily life, the strength needed in times of chaos, and the return of joy, Norris speaks a vivid truth. “Scrambling down the mountain through wailing wind / I’m forced to think of cherry blossoms.”
Noreen Norris, born in Highland Park, Michigan, grew up in Detroit and its suburbs. She graduated from Detroit’s Wayne State University before moving to San Francisco in 1959. She has been a bookstore manager, an advertising copy editor, print production manager for Regis McKenna Public Relations, and a member of a grant-giving team at the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. Before relocating to Santa Fe in 1995, Norris and her husband wrote marketing documents for Silicon Valley executives.
“Noreen Norris writes like the sea coming in and going out, leaving surreal traces of family life mixed with the haiku of flowers, loss, and love strewn across the beach of her life. This is risky, fearless writing by a poet willing to pause in the silence long enough to shout her honesty, leaving echoes for us to hear again and again in our own lives.” —James McGrath, author of At the Edgelessness of Light and Speaking with Magpies, both from Sunstone Press
“Even as Noreen Norris’s poems expose the ‘hidden rifts in a mortal heart’ and the difficult sorrows of our time, they portray the world with a clear-eyed dispassion, a quietly authoritative exactness of vision, a nucleus of joy. Haiku of birds, clouds, narcissi, and bombs intersperse with portraits and scenes ranging the decades. Memories, ‘so much lint,’ are not so much preserved as relived, with the dead humming alongside us, and a grandmother’s voice ‘like a mourning dove’s call/ when first light shines/ through silver rain.’ Historical memory, imagination, the lived life, and the life of the spirit share these pages with a rich grace.” —Carol Moldaw, author of The Widening, a lyric novel, and The Lightning Field, winner of the 2002 FIELD Poetry Prize.
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