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Lorine Niedecker Poet of Wisconsin:

Lorine Niedecker Poet of Wisconsin

Lorine was born May 12, 1903 and raised on Blackhawk Island on the Rock River in Fort Atkinson.:

Lorine was born May 12, 1903 and raised on Blackhawk Island on the Rock River in Fort Atkinson. Parents Theresa “Daisy” Kunz and Henry Niedecker Father netted and sold carp from the Rock River

Slide 3:

Lorine at about age 7 in Fort Atkinson

Slide 4:

Daisy’s family owned the Fountain House, a resort hotel on Blackhawk Island.

Slide 5:

Lorine and Henry

Slide 6:

Daisy became increasingly deaf during Lorine’s childhood and Lorine felt protective of her mother. As Daisy’s marriage to Henry suffered, Lorine felt the growing strain.

Slide 7:

During the school year, Lorine usually lived with friends or family in Fort Atkinson because island roads were often impassable.

Lorine’s high school English teacher, Miss Leiberman, encouraged Lorine’s love of poetry.:

Lorine’s high school English teacher, Miss Leiberman, encouraged Lorine’s love of poetry. Graduated from Fort HS in 1922 Attended Beloit College, active in debate and poetry writing club Returned to Blackhawk Island in 1924 to care for her mother

1928 – 1930 Lorine married Frank Hartwig, a farmer’s son and builder and worked at the Dwight Foster Public Library in Fort Atkinson.:

1928 – 1930 Lorine married Frank Hartwig, a farmer’s son and builder and worked at the Dwight Foster Public Library in Fort Atkinson. Depression ruined Hartwig’s business, Lorine laid off from library Frank and Lorine separated in 1930, divorced in 1942 Lorine returned to her parents’ home

Slide 10:

Lorine read widely, exploring natural sciences, history and the arts, as well as poetry. Lorine continued to write poetry, reflecting her life and her interests.

Lorine’s early poetry reflected her personal and intellectual interests and expressions::

Lorine’s early poetry reflected her personal and intellectual interests and expressions: the subconscious mind dreams “illogical expression” new approaches to poetic form and content .

In February, 1930 POETRY magazine, guest edited by poet Louis Zukofsky, had a great impact on Niedecker.:

In February, 1930 POETRY magazine, guest edited by poet Louis Zukofsky, had a great impact on Niedecker. Louis Zukofsky argued for “Objectivism” in poetry, focusing on an object, rather than on one’s feelings, and conveying its essence along a musical line. Lorine wrote to Zukofsky and began a long-term correspondence.

Slide 13:

Encouraged by Zukofsky, Lorine went to New York in 1934 to meet him and began an intellectual relationship that lasted for decades. Niedecker and Zukofsky read and critiqued one another’s poetry, shared inside jokes, and vented against the establishment.

1938 – 1942 Lorine was employed in Madison by the Federal Writer’s Project:

1938 – 1942 Lorine was employed in Madison by the Federal Writer’s Project Serving as a writer and research editor Producing state biographies Writing scripts for WHA Public radio

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Laid off from work in Madison in 1942, Lorine returned to Fort Atkinson and became a proofreader at the national dairy magazine “Hoard’s Dairyman.” She had her own house built on Blackhawk Island.

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Lorine lived quietly on Blackhawk Island writing poetry, corresponding with poets and editors in New York and London, and publishing in literary journals.

1946 New Goose is published.:

1946 New Goose is published. In 1947 Lorine returned to New York city to visit the Zukofskys. In 1951 Daisy Niedecker died. In 1953 Lorine spent Christmas in New York with the Zukofskys. In 1954 Henry Niedecker died.

1957 – 1963 Lorine worked at the Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital, cleaning in the dietary unit.:

1957 – 1963 Lorine worked at the Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital, cleaning in the dietary unit. Without a car of her own, Lorine walked or found rides to go from Blackhawk Island to Fort Atkinson.

Slide 20:

In 1963 Lorine married Al Millen, an industrial painter from Milwaukee, who came to Blackhawk Island to fish. Lorine enjoyed holidays and visits with Al’s family.

Slide 21:

Lorine lived in Milwaukee with Al until his retirement in 1968 when they returned to live on Blackhawk Island.

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Al and Lorine lived in a cottage they built on property Lorine inherited from her father.

Al and Lorine traveled the Midwest in his Buick.:

Al and Lorine traveled the Midwest in his Buick. Lorine observed nature and scenery with sensitivity. Longer poems like “Wintergreen Ridge” reflect her love of Wisconsin’s natural world.

In the 1960’s Lorine’s world expanded.:

In the 1960’s Lorine’s world expanded . 1965 summer road trip to South Dakota 1966 July issue of Origin featuring Niedecker 1967-68 visits from Jonathan Williams, Basil Bunting and the Zukofskys 1968 trip to Minnesota and North Dakota

Slide 25:

The haunting, autobiographical Paean to Place expresses Lorine’s deep connection to her home territory and, especially, to her life by the Rock River.

Slide 26:

Lorine did paintings of Blackhawk Island, c. 1965.

During her lifetime, Lorine Niedecker’s poetry was read and appreciated by poets and editors around the world, though she remained a modest figure content to live quietly and simply. :

During her lifetime, Lorine Niedecker’s poetry was read and appreciated by poets and editors around the world, though she remained a modest figure content to live quietly and simply. Her poetry appeared regularly in literary magazines, most significantly in Origin, edited by poet Cid Corman. Cid and Shizumi Corman visited from Japan in 1970. Four books were published during her lifetime: New Goose, My Friend Tree, North Central and T&G.

Lorine was living with Al on Blackhawk Island when a cerebral hemorrhage took her life in 1970.:

Lorine was living with Al on Blackhawk Island when a cerebral hemorrhage took her life in 1970. Admired by poets Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams and many other poetic peers during her lifetime, Niedecker has found an increasing audience and is recognized as a major 20th-century American poet.

On 5 January 1971, six days after her death, the Wisconsin State Journal published the following letter, written by poet Basil Bunting from his home in Wylam, UK::

On 5 January 1971, six days after her death, the Wisconsin State Journal published the following letter, written by poet Basil Bunting from his home in Wylam, UK: Lorine Niedecker…will be remembered long and warmly in England, a country she never visited. She was, in the estimation of many, the most interesting woman poet America has yet produced. Her work was austere, free of all ornament, relying on the fundamental rhythms of concise statement, so that to many readers it must have seemed strange and bare. She was only beginning to be appreciated when she died but I have no doubt at all that within 10 years time Wisconsin will know that she was its most considerable literary figure.

For additional information go to: www.lorineniedecker.org. This presentation developed by the Friends of Lorine Niedecker, Inc.:

For additional information go to: www.lorineniedecker.org. This presentation developed by the Friends of Lorine Niedecker , Inc.

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