Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lorine Niedecker

I am long over due pulling Lorine Niedecker's collected poems off the shelf. The fact there is a new documentary about this wonderful poet only makes me all the more learn about her. Though her works stand for themselves and she had powerful friends like Cid Corman and William Carlos Williams she remained an outsider. While most authors these days go right from graduate school into various teaching programs she lived a life as an outsider in the poetry world. Heck, she was an outsider in the real world as well. She hid from academia, for whatever reason, and lived in poverty on a small island making a living as a maid. That seems almost incongruous to the literary life. If someone were to try that today they would die in obscurity. To be a poet (or any other sort of writer or artist for that matter) and pretty much avoid readings, writing seminars, and awards is a form of publishing suicide which most publishers won't stand for. Yet, it's one that sounds very attractive to me. As I figure out my role as a Christian and a poet I almost shun that typical literary life. Perhaps someday I'll get my MFA and settle in to some university job teaching kids about rhyme and meter and how our experiences can help us to shape humanity and seek out the truth in life we are aching to touch. My desire to seek God in such a silly and little way seems to override that desire to have people come up to me at a reading to get an autograph.

I knew a clean man

but he was not for me.

Now I sew green aprons

over covered seats. He

wades the muddy water fishing,

fall in, dries his last pay-check

in the sun, smooths it out

in Leaves Of Grass.

He'sthe one for me.


The death of my poor father

leaves debts

and two small houses.

To settle this estate

a thousand fees arise—

I enrich the law.

Before my own death is certified,

recorded, final judgement


taxes taxed

I shall own a book

of old Chinese poems
and binoculars

to probe the river


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posted by Out Of Jersey | 5:11 AM


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