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"and silence" : Lorine Niedecker and the life of poetry.

By Lorna Elizabeth Jowett


This thesis is a study of the work of the American poet Lorine Niedecker (1903 - 1970). Since Niedecker has been so neglected by critics and students of American poetry, one of the aims of the thesis has been to determine her affinities, and to place her in relation to certain poetic traditions, for example, the Modernism of Pound or Williams, or the Objectivism of Louis Zukofsky. Firstly, I examine some of the choices Niedecker made as a practising poet, and suggest that these have affected not only the writing of her poetry but also its reception, especially with regard to her gender and marginality. The second part of the thesis looks at how Niedecker has been misrepresented by critics and editors who have concentrated on certain themes and subjects in her work, ignoring others. Thus the prevalent image of Niedecker as a poet of place or locality and of nature is challenged and more subversive work on war, politics, and women, is recovered for discussion. Finally I argue that silence is an integral part of Niedecker's poetics, with specific investigation of condensation, the unspoken, sound, and the use of space in poetic form. Again, critics have misrepresented Niedecker's poetics, and it has seldom been recognized that her poetics often continue and further previous poetic practice, as well as being innovative and at times subversive. This thesis aims to demonstrate not only how Niedecker relates to the poetic canon, but also that by the very nature of her poetic practice and her identity as a (woman) poet, Niedecker challenges that canon and the criteria which exclude her from it

Topics: Philosophy Religion
Year: 1994
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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