Niedecker, Lorine 1903–1970
Niedecker was an American poet. Blue Chicory is her best known work. (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 25-28; Contemporary Authors Permanent Series, Vol. 2.)
Miss Niedecker is a modest, cheerful writer whose publisher has served her ill in North Central with an oversized format and lopsided layout, confusing the beginnings, middles, and ends of her poems. She finds her theme in the relation between a region and its people. Natural history and local history are drawn together in short, breath-long lines of free verse. The three-stepped line of W. C. Williams supplies the form of several poems, especially the last and longest, "Wintergreen Ridge", in which the book culminates. Miss Niedecker often tries to let the succession of images carry so much implication that a few discursive touches and cool hints of her own attitude will point us to the generalizations on her mind. The method is like [Basil] Bunting's in Briggflatts but less erudite and pretentious—though not more reliable. While we move hesitantly from the level of rock formations and the time of the early explorers to the urban present, Miss Niedecker speaks more freely, recommending the wildness of mountain landscape, creatures, and flora as life-giving and sacramental. Natural human ties strengthened by these associations assert themselves against the death-directed impulses of industrial capitalism and war. The argument is hardly startling, but Miss Niedecker avoids oracularity…. (p. 212)
The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1969; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), February 27, 1968.