Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Calendar Poems of Lorine Niedecker

Wade all life
backward to its
source which
runs too far

Between digging out from our massive Midwestern storm, I'd like to offer this entry from Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), a poet from Blackhawk Island, Wisconsin whose influence on contemporary poetry has come to far exceed the boundaries of her river road. There will be much more on Ms. Niedecker soon; her work falls into conversation with a number of other upcoming posts that consider what's at stake in the concept of the "vernacular" in photography, architecture and visual art. The above poem is the first entry in a series entitled Next Year or I Fly My Rounds Tempestuous; it was a portion of a calendar book she gifted to the Objectivist poet Louis Zukofsky in December of 1934.

Until then, there is much more of Ms. Niedecker's work to be enjoyed in Jenny Penberthy's excellent Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works, and more information by Ms. Penberthy on the calendar series can be found here.  The Poetry Foundation also offers this concise biography, with poems; information on the the lyrical documentary Immortal Cupboard, complete with excerpts, can be viewed by following this link.