Lorine Niedecker was born in Wisconsin in 1903 and lived there until her death in 1970. She was a major American poet often connected with the Objectivists. Among her published work is Lake Superior (Wave Books, 2013), New Goose (1946), My Friend Tree (1961), North Central (1968), T&G: Collected Poems, 1936-1966 (1969), My Life by the Water: Collected Poems, 1936-1968 (1970), Blue Chicory (1976), From This Condensery (1985), and The Granite Pail (1985). Niedecker's Collected Works was published by the University of California Press in 2002.
Niedecker [is] one of the most important and original poets of this past century...
—August Kleinzahler, London Review of Books
Her poems are plain styled and folk driven, wryly in love with the negative economy of poetic labor. Their wit and precision sneak up on you with quiet inevitability. They are proud of themselves and subtly self-mocking, consciously combining high modernist and homespun aesthetics. They can move deeply and laterally, engaging the alternate realities of history, geology, botany, politics, aesthetics, and sociology through brilliant wordplay and juxtaposition.
—Elizabeth Willis, American Poet
Care for her own exactitude of attention and delicate differentiation of others extend all through her writing. It appears at its subtlest in her love of wordplay. This includes not only double meanings but also visual puns, strained allusions, hidden references. Clarity of view and constant attentiveness prompt an unspoken undercurrent of observation, criticism and even satire.
—Kenneth Cox, Jacket
Far from the writings of a hermetic recluse, Niedecker’s lines are full of calls invitations, addresses, a poetry of connection soliciting its responsive, articulate order.
—Karen Volkman, Boston Review
By mixing the abstract and discursive, Niedecker sought to create a poetry capable of evoking different levels of thought and feeling. She sought the "rainacular," a nonsense not without sense because it records its own kind of testimony—a fluid vernacular, lived speech...Niedecker conveys the abstract textures of everyday life without reducing everyday life to an abstraction.
—John Palattella, The Nation
Reviews of books by Lorine Niedecker
- Official Friends of Lorine Niedecker website
- A collection of writings by and about Niedecker at the Electronic Poetry Center
- The Lives of Lorine Niedecker explores Niedecker's life as person and poet
- Essay by Dale Smith on Niedecker's poem “Lake Superior”
- “I rose from marsh mud” (in Poets.org)
- “In the great snowfall before the bomb” (in Poets.org)
- “My Friend Tree” (in Poets.org)
- “Poet's Work” (in Poets.org)
- “When Ecstasy is Inconvenient” (in Poets.org)
- Several poems (on the Friends of Lorine Niedecker website)
PoemTalk Podcast #77, discussing Lorine Niedecker's “Foreclosure” and “Wilderness”, January 16, 2014
Cid Corman reads 3 poems by Niedecker: