In the 1970s, after living as a poet in New York City, Kathleen Norris and her husband moved to the house built by her grandparents in Lemmon, South Dakota, an isolated town on the border with North Dakota. That move provided the inspiration for the first of her non-fiction books, “Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.” It’s a collection of essays reflecting on what it means to live in the Dakotas and how the landscape shapes the character of the people who love here.
Although she now lives in Hawaii, Kathleen Norris was back in South Dakota last week, touring the state and revisiting “Dakota: A Spiritual Geography” twenty-one years after it was first published. “Dakota” serves as the 2014 One Book for both North and South Dakota in honor of their 125th anniversary of statehood. Norris returns in late September when she gives the keynote address at the South Dakota Festival of Books. Karl Gehrke spoke to her from her home in Hawaii a few weeks ago as she prepared for her return to South Dakota. She said it was wonderful having her book recognized two decades after it was published.