Friday, July 1, 2011

Lorine Niedecker for #PoetryFriday

Swallows on Pryor Creek. Photo by Will Woolston. (201)
Today I'm working on the index for Lorine Niedecker: A Poet's Life by Margot Peters. Lorine was supremely devoted to her poetry, despite a life that seemed to conspire against it. She was an Objectivist—like Charles Oppen and Charles Reznikoff. As an Objectivist, she strove for precision and concision—for an expression of the thing itself. 


This is the Objectivist Creed as it appears in Lorine Niedecker

  1. clarity of image and word-tone
  2. thinking with things as they exist, and directing them along a line of melody
  3. economy of presentation 
  4. the poetic rendering of current speech.

She loved birds.
She lived in a swamp, or good as.
She was sharply opposed to capitalism and the accumulation of wealth. 
She was interested in mental processes, especially the nature of memory.
Here is a sample of her work in which she considers the work of other poets:


     If I were a bird

I’d be a dainty contained cool
Coming October 2011 from
University of Wisconsin Press
Greek figurette
on a morning shore—
H.D.

I’d flitter and feed and delouse myself
close to Williams’ house
and his kind eyes

I’d be a never-museumed tinted glass
breakable from the shelves of Marianne Moore.

On Stevens’ fictive sibilant hibiscus flower
I’d poise myself, a cuckoo, flamingo-pink.

I’d plunge the depths with Zukofsky
and all that means—stirred earth,
cut sky, organ-sounding, resounding
anew, anew.

I’d prick the sand in cunning, lean,
Cummings irony, a little drunk dead sober.
Man, that walk down the beach!

I’d sit on a quiet fence
and sing a quiet thing: sincere, sincere.
And that would be Reznikoff.

Today is Poetry Friday @ A Wrung Sponge  Andromeda Jazmon is hosting.
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