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The Poetry of Lorine Niedecker
5 Aug 2012
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Poet Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970) hailed from Blackhawk Island, Wisconsin. With the exception of a brief sojourn in New York City in her youth and a move to Milwaukee toward the end of her life, Ms. Niedecker spent the span of her days living, working, and writing along the banks of her native fishing community.
At a moment when American poets increasingly found themselves supported by universities, Ms. Niedecker chose to remain near Blackhawk Island and the neighboring town of Fort Atkinson; she took whatever work the local economy offered: proofreader, cleaning woman, librarian. Her poetry appeared sporadically throughout her life, despite the support of contemporary figures the likes of William Carlos WilliamsBasil Bunting, and Louis Zukofsky – her former lover.
Like the school of Objectivism advocated by Mr. Zukofsky, Ms. Niedecker treated the poem as an object all to itself, a structure which, in whole, could communicate with precision. As evidenced by the poems below, Ms. Niedecker added a local element as well as a gender perspective that enriched the work of these like-minded poets navigating the legacy of modernism. While we find in these poems an adherence to Mr. Williams's dictum "no ideas but in things," we also see here another use of "the vernacular," as a rural expertise and a local language is brought to bear on this avant-garde poetics. 
Art Culture History Rural/Regional Books/Writing Midwest Poetry Wisconsin
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