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

Summer 2020 Solitary Plover

The summer issue of the Solitary Plover is now available here. Features include: Two poems by Lorine Niedecker Text of David Pavelich's presentation at the 2017 Poetry Festival Images of Lorine in summer and a selection of original poetry.

read more

Kathryn Gahl Poetry Reading

Join us on Tuesday, April 28 at 6 pm to celebrate National Poetry Month with an online poetry reading. We are honored to have Kathryn, winner of the 2018 Lorine Niedecker Award from the Council For WI Writers, to read her works. Please contact us at...

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

Poetry

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
monogamy,
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

fool
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-
italism.




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: