Radical Vernacular: Lorine Niedecker and the Poetics of Place

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Elizabeth Willis
University of Iowa Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 334 pages
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When Lorine Niedecker died in 1970, the British poet and critic Basil Bunting eulogized her warmly. “In England,” he wrote, “she was, in the estimation of many, the most interesting woman poet America has yet produced.”
     Aesthetically linked with the New York Objectivist poets, Niedecker remained committed to her community in rural Wisconsin despite the grinding poverty that dogged her throughout her life.  Largely self-taught, Niedecker formed attachments through her voracious reading and correspondence, but she also delighted in the disruptive richness of vernacular usage and in the homegrown, improvisational aesthetics that thrived within her immediate world. Niedecker wrote from a highly attenuated concern with biological, cultural, and political sustainability and, in her stridently modernist poems, anticipated many of the most urgent concerns in twenty-first-century poetics. In Radical Vernacular, Elizabeth Willis collects essays by leading poets and scholars that make a major contribution to the study of an important but long overlooked American poet.
     This pathbreaking volume contains essays by seventeen leading scholars: Rae Armantrout, Glenna Breslin, Michael Davidson, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Ruth Jennison, Peter Middleton, Jenny Penberthy, Mary Pinard, Patrick Pritchett, Peter Quartermain, Lisa Robertson, Elizabeth Robinson, Eleni Sikelianos, Jonathan Skinner, Anne Waldman, Eliot Weinberger, and Elizabeth Willis.
 

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Contents

Sounding Process
81
Niedecker and Company
181
Selected Bibliography
285
Contributors
295
Index
299
Contemporary North American Poetry Series
309
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About the author (2008)

Elizabeth Willis teaches poetry and poetics at Wesleyan University. Her books of poetry include The Human Abstract, Turneresque, and Meteoric Flowers. She was raised in Wisconsin.

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