Lorine Niedecker: Bio & Bibliography

Photo Credit: (c) Jonathan Williams

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On 5 January 1971, six days after her death, the Wisconsin State Journal published the following letter written by 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 in 10 years time Wisconsin will know that she was its most considerable literary figure.

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Books of Niedecker's Poems

New Goose. Prairie City, Ill.: Press of James A. Decker, 1946.

My Friend Tree. Edinburgh: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1961.

North Central. London: Fulcrum Press, 1968.

T&G: The Collected Poems (1936-1966). Penland, N.C.: The Jargon Society, 1969.

My Life by Water: Collected Poems 1936-1968. London: Fulcrum Press, 1970.

Blue Chicory. Ed. Cid Corman. New Rochelle, N.Y.: The Elizabeth Press, 1976.

From This Condensery: Complete Writings of Lorine Niedecker. Ed. Robert Bertholf. Penland, N.C.: The Jargon Society, 1985.

The Granite Pail: The Selected Poems of Lorine Niedecker. Ed. Cid Corman. San Francisco: North Point, 1985.
Rpt. in Frankfort, KY by Gnomon, 1996..

Harpsichord & Salt Fish. Edited by Jenny Penberthy. Durham, UK: Pig Press, 1991. (out of print)

Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works. Ed. Jenny Penberthy. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.

New Goose. Ed. Jenny Penberthy. Berkeley, CA: Listening Chamber, 2002.

Books about Niedecker

The Full Note: Lorine Niedecker. Ed. Peter Dent. Budleigh Salterton, UK: Interim Press,

"Between Your House and Mine": The Letters of Lorine Niedecker to Cid Corman, 1960 to 1970. Ed. Lisa Pater Faranda. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1986.

Niedecker and the Correspondence with Zukofsky 1931-1970. Ed. with introduction Jenny Penberthy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Jenny Penberthy, editor. Lorine Niedecker: Woman & Poet. Orono, ME: National Poetry Foundation, 1996.

On Lorine Niedecker: Woman and Poet: Lorine Niedecker was the only woman among the Objectivist poets. Marginalized by her cultural isolation in rural Wisconsin, by poverty, and by her position as a woman writer, Niedecker dedicated her life to working out the implications of a rigorous poetics that she developed in the 1930s, in an ongoing dialogue with Zukofsky. Since her death in 1970, her work has won increasing critical recognition. A new edition of her collected poems, now under preparation, will certainly confirm her position as one of the great poets of our century.

This volume, the 14th in NPF's Man/Woman and Poet Series, offers the first comprehensive biographical, critical, and bibliographic overview of Niedecker's career. The biographical materials include an important memoir by Jerry Reisman, who knew Niedecker and Louis Zukofsky during the 1930s, along with other memoirs by friends of Niedecker; three substantial groups of previously unpublished letters; and essays by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Jane Augustine, and Marjorie Perloff on the way Niedecker's experiences as a woman writer affected her work.

Critical essays in the volume include contributions, most written specifically for this volume, by Peter Nicholls, Peter Quartermain, Michael Heller, Jeffrey Peterson, Richard Caddel, Gilbert Sorrentino, Kenneth Cox, Douglas Crase, Joseph M. Conte, Donald Davie, and Lisa Pater Faranda. The volume concludes with an annotated bibliography of critical and scholarly works on Niedecker from 1947 to 1995, prepared by Tandy Sturgeon. The book is illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs.


Manuscript Collections

The "Harpsichord & Salt Fish," "Earth and Its Atmosphere," and "Very Veery" typescripts are housed in the Mugar Memorial Library at Boston University. Cid Corman's copy of "HOMEMADE POEMS" is in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library; Jonathan Williams's copy of "HANDMADE POEMS" is part of his private collection. Manuscripts, papers, and Niedecker's own library constitute the Lorine Niedecker Collection in the Dwight Foster Public Library in Fort Atkinson. The privately held Roub Collection contains manuscripts, papers, and an extensive collection of photographs. The majority of Niedecker's manuscripts and papers, including her posthumous bequest, is subsumed within the Louis Zukofsky Collection in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. A typescript of Niedecker poems is in the Edward Dahlberg Collection also at the HRHRC at the University of Texas at Austin.