Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poet Portraits: Lorine Niedecker -

Lorine Niedecker, photo from Jacket Magazine

One of my favorite poets, yet probably one who is least known, Lorine Niedecker.

Lorine Niedecker: Collected WorksAmerica's Greatest Unknown Poet: Lorine Niedecker Reminiscences, Photographs, Letters and Her Most Memorable Poems
If you want to learn more about her, I recommend these two books: Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works and America's Greatest Unknown Poet: Lorine Niedecker Reminiscences, Photographs, Letters and Her Most Memorable Poems.  (Also, click on the link to Jacket Magazine under her photo as they have good introduction to her.)

She writes a lot of shorter poems and she wrote a series of poems written on a small daily calendar, yes, she may have been the first to do a poem-a-day--

Here are a few of her poems --

[Popcorn-can cover]

Popcorn-can cover
screwed to the wall
over a hole
      so the cold
can’t mouse in   


[Mr. Van Ess bought 14 washcloths?]

Mr. Van Ess bought 14 washcloths?
Fourteen washrags, Ed Van Ess?
Must be going to give em
to the church, I guess.

He drinks, you know. The day we moved
he came into the kitchen stewed,
mixed things up for my sister Grace—
put the spices in the wrong place.


The last 2 stanzas of "[In the great snowfall before the bomb]"--

But what vitality! The women hold jobs--
clean house, cook, raise children, bowl
and go to church.

What would they say if they knew
I sit for two months on six lines
of poetry?


  1. She is one of my favorite poets, too.

    So glad to have found you. I followed a link at Big Window to you. :D

  2. Susan,

    Thanks for the note (and letting me know how you found me!) I appreciate that.

    Lorine is pretty incredible. I remember when I found her, I could not believe there were poets like this I had no idea about.

    happy weekend.
    all best,

  3. Thanks for introducing this poet to me! Her observations seem so spot-on. I'm gong over to check out the links you provided on her.

  4. i stumbled upon lorine about a year ago and couldn't believe, as well, that i didn't know who she was! i love hearing about writing in a small daily calendar. i love that :)

  5. Yes, indeed, she's wonderful. And she's quite well known in WI because we are so proud of her. I live about 20 minutes from her homestead and WI has started a festival in her honor which will probably continue every year or every other year. If you ever want to come see the homestead, let me know! Happy Poetry Month, Kelli. Your blog rocks!


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