Term: Niedecker, Lorine, 1903-1970
poet; Niedecker grew up in Fort Atkinson and, after graduating from high school in 1922, attended Beloit College briefly. She lived most of her life on Blackhawk Island, along the Rock River near Lake Koshkonong, and scenes of the area recur throughout her work. Niedecker strained to make ends meet for most of her adult life, working as a library clerk from 1928-1930, in the Federal Writers' Project from 1938-1942, as a script-writer for the Madison radio station WHA during World War Two, as a stenographer and proofreader 1944-1950, and as a cleaning woman from 1957-62. During much of her career she lived year-round on the shore of Lake Koshkonong in a one-and-a-half room summer cottage without plumbing; most of her friends were unaware thatáshe wrote poetry.áHer first poems were published in the late 1920s, and she maintained a close friendship after 1931 with the New York Objectivist poet Louis Zukofsky. Although her first book, New Goose (1946), was based on folktales, her reputation rests on the "often austere, vivid imagery, and spare language" of her later poems.áDiscovered in the 1950s by the Black Mountain and Beat poets, Niedecker's work was compared to that of William Carlos Williams (who likened her to Emily Dickinson), as well as to classic Chinese and Japanese poems. British poet Basil Bunting called her, "in the estimation of many, the most interesting woman poet America has yet produced." She died on Dec. 31, 1970. Works: New Goose (1946), My Friend Tree (1961), North Central (1968), T&G: Collected Poems, 1936┐1966 (1969), My Life by Water: Collected Poems, 1936┐1968 (1970), Blue Chicory (1976), From This Condensery (1985), The Granite Pail (1985) and Harpischord & Salt Fish (1991), and Collected Works, ed. by Jenny Penberthy (2002).
[Source: Academy of American Poets; Wis. State Journal 5 January 1971; LiteraryHistory.com]