Lorine Niedecker is One of My Dead Best Friends

Photo of Poet Lorine Niedecker, from The Poetry Foundation

Poet Spotlight: Lorine Niedecker

This post was originally published at my old blog, Bridget Eileen's Commonplace Book

Lorine Niedecker is one of the female authors who I consider my Dead Best Friends I Never Met. (Jane Austen is one, Emily Dickinson is the other.) I read her before bed every night then sleep with her under my pillow. Heck, why not, right? It might do something through osmosis or whatever it's called.

If John Wieners is my poetry husband, Lorine Niedecker is my down to earth poetry Dead Best Friend. (Huh? Whatever. It's all a bit nonsense anyway. I'm just trying to make a metaphor for fun over here. Lighten up and stop taking everything so academic and serious and such.) Her work is a complimentary counterbalance to his, I think. They're both very, to put it plainly, real. Biographically, neither of them were academics. (I think I've read two things this week that mention Niedecker was a cleaning lady...) They did real things, every day things, working people or poor people things and that's in there, in their writing.

Only how it is in there, the effect this "real"ness has, I think is vastly different. Where Wieners is unabashed, heartbreaking and splayed on the page, Niedecker bares the heartbreaking truth in a completely opposite, spare manner -- not in a cautious or clipped way, but definitely not like Wieners.

What I love and admire and emulate about both is how much they bring the very personal and intimate to the poem but the poem's form is invigorating, innovative, and prickles the brain unlike the typical personal, intimate poem (like say that of a confessional poet...)

They both mention their mothers in their work in matter of fact but very endearing ways, too. I've not yet done that, I don't think. I ought to get on it, though. Betty should be in some poems. She deserves it.