These are for YOU NorbertO’, with all our love.

23 08 2019

As Norb’s birthday rolls into view, I am compelled wanting to say something to him / about him (like: you should be here … ) to share on his Poetry Dispatch post. He would be 84 this August 23rd.

It occurs to me that I and the family are not the only ones who love him, miss him … I asked a few of his closest friends and members of “the Blei tribe” if they’d like to make a comment? A sentence or two … an experience, a thought of him, a lingering memory?

These are for YOU NorbertO’, with all our love. ~ Jude


“In an old journal recently found, I talked of how I loved Norb and my early days at the Clearing. I remember his sort of talking me into playing my guitar on a Friday night, and I was paralyzed and not only splatted all the chords but couldn’t sing a note. Fortunately, his big voice boomed out “Those Were the Days, My Friend,” and they really were.” ~Jackie Langetieg


“Ah – there he is – teacher, mentor, inspiration, friend! Our birthdays were just 5 months apart (1935 was a good year.) Without his encouragement I wouldn’t have figured out I could write poetry; I wouldn’t have a single book. I’ll be eternally grateful!” ~ Alice D’Alessio


“The way to do is to be – Lao Tzu. The way to write is to write – Norber Blei


This is the quote and mindset that began and shaped Norb’s annual class at The Clearing Folk School, the class he led for over 40 years. I first attended that class in 1996, in 2001 Norb published my first book under his Cross+Roads Press, and this year, 6 years after Norb’s passing, I have the privilege and honor to still be teaching Norb’s Writing Workshop at The Clearing. Yes, I miss his presence and wisdom, but through his writing, I can regularly share a visit with him and his no-nonsense ways, “If you are not quietly writing who you are, where you are, at the time you are, you are not writing the fictional truth, but living the transparent lie” (The Winter Book). Each year as I prepare my Clearing writing class, I am visited by Norb’s influence -and maybe it’s his spirit or energy or dare I say ghost? that points me toward just the right passage, whether from his own writing or someone else’s. After seven summer workshops, the class has taken on my own personal touch, but I do my best to maintain Norb’s approach and teaching style. And every year I find more of his words to share with my students. Words to live and write by: “Don’t live second-handedly! The poetry of other people is good for only a beginning. But it’s nothing compared to the poems you hold inside yourself.” (Adventures in An American’s Literature) Happy 84th Birthday, Norb, you’re still with us! ~Al DeGenova


“Norb: a writer, a philosopher, a mentor, a friend, a baker, a lover of Door County, a drinker of good scotch, and a defender of the Bridge.” ~ Rev Michael Brecke


“Having come from similar backgrounds, I felt I had good insights into Norb’s reactions to life here and now, that is to beautiful Door County in the late 20th Century. And I was absolutely delighted when he began asking me to illustrate his wonderful writings.” ~Chick Peterson


“Without Norb, I would not have become anything more than scribbler of words. I learned that poetry can be seriously pursued. Miss ya, man.” ~Michael Koehler


“Norb was a very gifted teacher and I thank Phyllis Ingwersen for dragging me out of the weaving class at the Clearing In Winter one day saying “you belong in this writing class! Norb’s first words to the class were, “write something, any thing, about the color red.” It was my introduction to writing and a fine teacher. “ ~Sue Peterson


“I miss Norb… I REALLY miss Norb! I first found Norb in the Reminder… that followed up with my very first NorbTOON that Lonnie printed in his paper THREE times… I know that rubbed Norb the wrong way. Then, I met him for the first time outside a bookstore (imagine that) on Thrid in Sturgeon Bay. He knew of me and said he “LOVED that toon! Lonnie didn’t need to print it in the same paper THREE times though…” followed by a guffaw! Made me smile out loud : ). We became best buds. I really miss his serendipitous phone calls/ dropping in always unannounced and ALWAYS welcome/ his huge guffaws! His stories/ his ideas/ his manila envelopes with rubber stamped icons and stickers and hand typed (old fashioned typewriter) address. … inside, newspaper clippings he thought were of importance/ interest to me; I missed him ALWAYS asking about the kids, and Dede. I miss the coffee houses / trip to Bayfield with Jude and Dede / concerts / dinners / lunches; I miss just stopping by his house followed by that warm smile wider than his mustache! The very last time I went to see Norb, at Scandia, just days prior to him leaving us all … I could see he was trying to conceal horrendous pain -Norb says “How’re the kids, what are they up to? How’s Dede, How’s her shop doing?” Whew… choker : / .
Love you Norb. Happy Birthday! ~Mike McCartney


“Love … is not simply a recollection of a bygone past,
but a living force sustaining us in the present …
love that transcend the limits of time
and offers hope in all moments of our lives.”
~ Henri Nouwen


“You are there; I here; worlds separate us
Death’s angels, the void of space . . .
Yet I say your name and waves of light
Wash to me silently from your Heart.”
~Jalal-ud-Din-Rumi



Actions

Information

7 responses

23 08 2019
Marty Robinson

I remember when Norb and I first met. Saint Patrick, who was the bartender at Gordon Lodge, and who knew us both, arranged the encounter. It was four in the afternoon and we were the only two customers in the beautiful Top Deck bar, sun streaming through the huge picture windows. We verbally danced around each other for a while, like two boxers in the first round of a fight. Soon we found common ground–in books, music, and common Chicagoland childhood memories. It was the beginning of a friendship I’ll cherish until it’s my time, and hopefully, beyond.

26 08 2019
Jude

thank for this lovely remembrance Marty ~~

23 08 2019
Paula

So many memories, triggers, warm thoughts throughout the year, but always on April 23 and August 23…For some reason, the image of tiger lilies flanking the road where he so often walked down to Europe Lake stays with me, as he wrote in N.B.COOP NEWS on May 27, 2010 https://nbcoop.outlawpoetry.com/2010/05/27/norbert-blei-notes-from-no-mans-land-week-4/
And at this time in August, as those lilies are bursting into riotous bloom, I think of him. If I could upload the picture I took just the other day, I would. Brilliant orange fireworks! Miss you, Norb. I hope all of the Blei Tribe is doing you proud!

23 08 2019
caroldoty

Jude, I am moved to tears. Carol

On Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 7:30 PM poetry dispatch & other notes from the underground wrote:

> Klaus posted: ” As Norb’s birthday rolls into view, I am compelled wanting > to say something to him / about him (like: you should be here … ) to share > on his Poetry Dispatch post. He would be 84 this August 23rd. It occurs to > me that I and the family are not the on” >

23 08 2019
John Plume

Roger Housden comments, “Death and love are always ever twins. We are here to love. The more we love the richer our life experience and the more the world is blessed by our presence. Yet the more we love, the deeper the sorrow when everything we love passes away, and all too soon. If we love, we suffer.

26 08 2019
Jude

Yes. yes, she said. Yes.

23 08 2019
Tom's Jude

Norb, what better way to spend some time on your birthday than to read the words: “Find me in my books.” And I did that at Europe Lake reading “Meditations on a Small Lake” and thinking about the joy you brought into Tom’s life by writing “The Man Who Loves Sister Bay”…just one of the many special ways you blessed our lives! With much gratitude and love, Tom’s Jude

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




%d bloggers like this: