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Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works Hardcover – April 1, 2002

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520224339 ISBN-10: 0520224337 Edition: 0th

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A great modernist finally gets a full tribute with the publication of Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works. A lifetime resident of Wisconsin, Niedecker (1903-1970) was a sort of satellite member of Zukofsky's Objectivist circle, though currents of surrealism, folk poetry and haiku run through her work. Edited by Capilano College English professor Jenny Penberthy (Lorine Niedecker: Woman and Poet), this comprehensive collection of all of Niedecker's surviving verse includes her well-known New Goose folk poems, as well as early poetry that Niedecker had omitted from the collected works published in her lifetime. It is an indispensable book for anyone interested in modernist writing: "What a scandal Christmas What a scandle Christmas is, a red stick-up to a lily."

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Niedecker (1903-70) is often likened to Emily Dickinson. She, too, remained in the backwater where she was born. Large-scale interest in her work came only years after her death. Her characteristic poems are, like Dickinson's, short or in short stanzas, short-lined, and elliptical. But she wasn't reclusive; she connected with the Objectivists, New York poets "led" by Louis Zukofsky, with whom she had a brief affair and a long correspondence. Very poor, she was a proofreader until her weak vision worsened, and she last labored as a hospital cleaning woman. Whereas Dickinson's poetry is metaphysical, Niedecker's mature work is profoundly physical, sparked by wry, class-conscious humor and usually rooted in her Black Lake Island, Wisconsin, neighborhood. A good introduction to her tenor and concerns is provided by two prose pieces, "Switchboard Girl" and "The Evening's Automobiles," as sharp, energetic, and funny as William Burroughs' best "routines," though utterly lacking Burroughs' obscenity and dadaism. After them, turn to the riverine music and midwestern shrewdness of the poems, comprehensively collected here for the first time. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 466 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520224337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520224339
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,134,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
I first learned of Lorine Niedecker (1903 -- 1970) from reading a selection of her poetry in Volume 2 of the Library of America's Anthology of American Poetry of the Twentieth Century. I was intrigued by the restrained, simple, and succinct character of the poems for two reasons. First, they reminded me opf poetry I knew: of the work of Charles Reznikoff, in particular, and of his fellow-objectivist poets, Louis Zukofsky, George Oppen, and W.C. Williams. I later learned, of course, that Niedecker knew these writers, and was close to them. She was particularly close to Louis Zukofsky, with whom she carried on a forty year correspondence and had a brief affair.

I was also intrigued when I learned that Lorine Niedecker spent most of her life in the small town of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, which is approximately mid-way between Milwaukee and Madison. She lived on a small island called Black Hawk Island outside the town where her family rented cabins and fished. Much of her life was spent in poverty and for several years she was employed scrubbing floors in the local hospital. Most of the poets with whom Niedecker was associated lived in New York City. Although she visited New York City and spent time with Zukofsky, for the most part she learned and practiced her art by herself.

I was familiar with Fort Atkinson because I lived for a short time in my early 20's in Jefferson, Wisconsin, an even smaller town just adjacent to Fort Atkinson. I was there briefly in the early 1970's, just after Niedecker's death (She lived in Milwaukee at the time.) and I don't remember hearing anything about her. Today the town of Fort Atkinson and the local library where Niedecker worked for a time are active in preserving her memory.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Werewolf (in a Dress) on May 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Let me tell you about Lorine Niedecker. She did not apologize for being born. This volume--far exceeding the much derided previous collected "From This Condensery"--represents the very best of Twentieth Century American poetry, let there be no doubt. More than just poems that echo Dickinson, Zukovsky, Williams, and who else, "Collected Works" will now surely stand as one of the cornerstones of American poetry, thanks to the hard work of editor Jenny Penberthy. The best of these poems--"Darwin" and "Paen to Place", among others--are beautiful distillations of the real. And other pieces, such as the radio plays, show great, surreal humor. Lorine from Ft. Atkinson is one the best.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Scronce on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the definitive Niedecker. If you love poetry, you owe it to yourself to read Niedecker. Her influences run from surrealism, to Objectivism, to Haiku. Niedecker is an American original as distinctive in her way as Dickinson was in hers. We are in Jenny Penberthy's debt for bringing Niedecker's work to the attention of 21st Century readers.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Raymond L. Heinrich on September 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
The other reviews here are better, but I just needed to tell you how much this book changed my view of words, writing... all that stuff. Or even more than that. After reading her poems, I went outside and things just looked different. Don't worry about what you do or don't know, these are really worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philip Thorp on September 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lorine Niedecker was virtually unknown in her lifetime. She died in 1970, leaving a body of work of which only a portion was published. She has been compared to Emily Dickinson because of the brevity and clarity of her poems. There are very few long ones. But there is an undercurrent of dry humour and a feeling for rhyme and assonance that is quite different to Dickinson. These poems are wonderfully compressed-every word is loaded with intent. To quote: "it took me a lifetime/to weep/a deep/trickle". She fills them with the kind of domestic detail you don't usually find in poems - cupboards, plumbing and oil stoves, as well as her proximity to nature (she lived in a cabin on a marshy island that for a long time had no running water or electricity). Most of her life's work is collected here - a life compressed, a fascinating life and personality. I didn't put it down.
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