Lorine Niedecker – Poet of Place

Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970) is a twentieth-century, second-wave, Modern American poet often identified with the Objectivists. Living most of her life on the shores of the Rock River near Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, she is perhaps best known as a poet of place who wrote about the Blackhawk Island that she loved. Her work, however, ranges from modernist folk poetry (NEW GOOSE, 1946) to haiku-like forms to long poems like “Lake Superior” and “Wintergreen Ridge” (NORTH CENTRAL, 1968). She is admired for the subtlety of her tightly crafted, nuanced and deliciously ironic poems, as well as for her total devotion to her calling. More…

Current News

2023 Write on the River Event Review

In Lorine’s honor, Fort Atkinson celebrated all things writing and poetry-related along the banks of the Rock River with a series of 'Write on the River" events from May 11-13, 2023. The schedule of events included a presentation from Wisconsin Poet Laureate Nick...

read more

Hear the Solitary Plover Winter 2023

Hear The Solitary Plover Thursday, April 13 at 6:00 p.m. Central Time The Friends of Lorine Niedecker invites you to this special poetry event. The poets published in the Winter 2023 issue of “The Solitary Plover” will join us for a reading of their work. This reading...

read more

The “cottage” where Lorine and Al lived on Blackhawk Island.

Lorine on her screen porch.

Lorine’s cabin on Blackhawk Island

Photo of Blackhawk Island Road on the way to Lorine’s house.

Lorine in Milwaukee 1964.

Young Lorine


What horror to awake at night
and in the dimness see the light.
        Time is white
        mosquitoes bite
I’ve spent my life on nothing

There’s a better shine
on the pendulum
than is on my hair
and many times
         . .    . .
I’ve seen it there.

Good deed, my
love. The ele-
ment of folk-
time.  Nerves
are my past
said her arms
going farther.
Rock me out.
For best work
you ought to put forth
       some effort
       to stand
in north woods
among birch

Hi, Hot-and-Humid

That June she's a lush

Marshmushing, frog bickering
moon pooling, green gripping

keep cool
The land of four o’clocks is here
the five of us together
    looking for our supper.
Half past endive, quarter to beets,
seven milks, ten cents cheese,
    lost, our land, forever.

Van Gogh could see
twenty-seven varieties
          of black
      in cap-

I’ve been away from poetry
many months

and now must rake leaves
with nothing blowing

between your house
and mine

Fog-thick morning—
I see only
where I now walk. I carry
    my clarity
With me.

Not all harsh sounds displease—
Yellowhead blackbirds cough
            through reeds and fronds
as through pronged bronze

Don’t shoot the rail!
Let your grandfather rest!
Tho he sees your wild eyes
he’s falling asleep,
his long-billed pipe
on his red-brown vest.

Subscribe to the Solitary Plover Newsletter: