The Long and Short of Lorine Niedecker

E.D. Locke Public Library

In this interactive, introductory workshop we will read together to see and hear Lorine Niedecker’s astonishing poetry. We’ll look at her exemplary short poems as well as an example of her late, great long poems in the context of Niedecker’s remarkable life and letters.

Lorine Niedecker was born in Fort Atkinson, in southern Wisconsin on May 12, 1903. She lived in the area for most of her life, but for a brief sojourn in New York City in the 1930s. The beauty of her natural surroundings had a notable impact on her work, which distills sound, image, and familiar speech with remarkable clarity. Since her death in 1970, major critics have identified Niedecker as a significant and original voice in contemporary American poetry and she is now considered an important modernist poet. 

During her lifetime, Lorine saw only four books of poetry published: New Goose, My Friend Tree, North Central and T&G. Between the years 1963 and her death in 1970, she expanded as a poet, writing longer poems like “Wintergreen
Ridge” and the haunting, autobiographical “Paean to Place.” Admired by her poetic peers, Lorine Niedecker’s reputation as a major twentieth-century poet has expanded since her death with the publication of her collected works and two
editions of correspondence.

Presented by Chuck Stebelton:

Chuck Stebelton is author most recently of One Hundred Patterns & Three Heuristics (Green Gallery Press, 2023). His previous poetry collections include An Apostle Island (Oxeye Press, 2021), The Platformist (Cultural Society, 2012), and Circulation Flowers (Tougher Disguises, 2005). He currently serves as Project Manager at Woodland Pattern Book Center, a nonprofit literary arts organization in Milwaukee. As a Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer, he has led workshops and field trips for nonprofit organizations and conservancy groups including Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters; Milwaukee Public Library; Woodland Pattern Book Center; Friends of Lorine Niedecker; and Lynden Sculpture Garden. He recently completed an ARTservancy artist residency with River Revitalization Foundation and has held residencies at Lynden Sculpture Garden in 2011, 2014, and from 2018 to 2024.

Chuck Stebelton, a white man with bald head, black rectangular glasses and a dark blue button down shirt crossing his arms with tree bark behind him.
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