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August Kleinzahler: In Praise of Lorine Niedecker

5 June 2003
Collected Works 
by Lorine Niedecker, edited by Jenny Penberthy.
California, 471 pp., £29.95, May 2002, 0 520 22433 7
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Collected Studies in the Use of English 
by Kenneth Cox.
Agenda, 270 pp., £12, September 2001, 9780902400696
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New Goose 
by Lorine Niedecker, edited by Jenny Penberthy.
Listening Chamber, 98 pp., $10, January 2002, 0 9639321 6 0
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... where I worked for a time in the university’s radio station. Other jobs: library assistant and when eyes went a bit bad hospital floor washer, dining room helper etc … Retired now at 63. As with LorineNiedecker’s poetry, much has been left out, but these few words written to the critic Kenneth Cox in 1966 provide us with the biographical gist. This Collected Works should succeed, at long last ...

Agh, Agh, Yah, Boo

David Wheatley: Ian Hamilton Finlay

4 December 2014
Midway: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Stephen Bann, 1964-69 
edited by Stephen Bann.
Wilmington Square, 426 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 905524 34 1
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... Writers’ Conference of 1962 and did his bit to drag the Scottish Renaissance into the Beatnik era, establishing important transatlantic connections with Robert Creeley, Jonathan Williams, LorineNiedecker and others. The break-up of his first marriage in 1964 terminated this period of relative stability, initiating the chapter of uncertainty that coincided with his first letters to Stephen Bann. At no ...

On Michael O’Brien

August Kleinzahler: Michael O’Brien

16 February 2017
... Very few​ significant American poets called as little attention to themselves in their lifetimes as Michael O’Brien, who died last November at the age of 77. Much as with LorineNiedecker – whose ‘silences’, he wrote, ‘derive from an intellectual conviction that art, like science, demands total concentration on the object of attention’ – his poetry was all about paying ...

On Douglas Crase

Matthew Bevis

25 November 2019
... ways in which conviction consorts with desire.The title poem of The Revisionist shapes an address to the nation as though it were whispering in a lover’s ear. And then there is Crase’s essay on LorineNiedecker, which extends a premise of his work in the act of seizing on something vital in hers: ‘Then as now, the problem for a bard of the commonwealth was this: you have to believe that your ...

All There Needs to Be Said

August Kleinzahler: Louis Zukofsky

22 May 2008
The Poem of a Life: A Biography of Louis Zukofsky 
by Mark Scroggins.
Shoemaker and Hoard, 555 pp., $30, December 2007, 978 1 59376 158 5
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... Zukofsky would have agreed with Bunting about his own importance and influence: it is unclear whether Bunting had the same influence on him. More peculiar still is the almost complete absence of LorineNiedecker in this biography, except in an appendix at the end of the book, which is there to argue against the notion that she had an affair with Zukofsky. The Niedecker side of their correspondence ...

Toss the monkey wrench

August Kleinzahler: Lee Harwood’s risky poems

19 May 2005
Collected Poems 
by Lee Harwood.
Shearsman, 522 pp., £17.95, May 2004, 9780907562405
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... which has proved to be their best and most enduring. Fulcrum also published two important early collections by Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg’s Ankor Wat and, most significantly, two volumes by LorineNiedecker, North Central and My Life by Water, and George Oppen’s Collected Poetry. Of British poets, apart from Bunting, Montgomery published four collections by Roy Fisher, one by Ian Hamilton ...

Always On

Stephanie Burt: Facebook

10 June 2010
The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook 
by Ben Mezrich.
Heinemann, 260 pp., £11.99, July 2009, 978 0 434 01955 7
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The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future 
by Craig Watkins.
Beacon, 249 pp., £17.50, October 2009, 978 0 8070 6193 0
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Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America 
by Julia Angwin.
Random House, 371 pp., £17.50, March 2009, 978 1 4000 6694 0
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The Tyranny of Email: The Four Thousand Year Journey to your Inbox 
by John Freeman.
Scribner, 244 pp., £17.99, October 2009, 978 1 4165 7673 0
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The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbours 
by Hal Niedzviecki.
City Lights, 256 pp., £12, May 2009, 978 0 87286 499 3
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... make it very much harder for you to limit what your kids see and hear. A Tasmanian teenager can now discover – and, through social networks, find other people who are discovering – the poetry of LorineNiedecker, the music of the Fat Tulips and the manifestos of climate change activists; she can also find encouragement, on the frightening ‘pro-ana’ (anorexia) sites, if she wants to starve ...

Poet at the Automat

Eliot Weinberger: Charles Reznikoff

22 January 2015
... wise elders suddenly among us. Oppen and Rakosi returned after their long silences; Zukofsky was published by major presses; Bunting produced his masterpiece, Briggflatts; in Wisconsin, the reclusive LorineNiedecker was writing her best work. And Reznikoff was with them. There were readings, interviews, a prize or two. In 1974, the Black Sparrow Press began a programme of bringing all of Reznikoff’s ...

Fast Water off the Bow-Wave

Jeremy Harding: George Oppen

21 June 2018
21 Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by David B. Hobbs.
New Directions, 48 pp., £7.99, September 2017, 978 0 8112 2691 2
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... to move to Rapallo, and Rakosi – hovering in the Midwest between a career in social work and postgraduate studies in psychology – were now provisional Objectivists. (The missing figure here is LorineNiedecker, who remained in comparative obscurity until the 1940s, disappeared again and re-emerged in the 1960s, along with Bunting, Oppen and Rakosi, who had also gone quiet.) In 1932 To Publishers ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding

3 July 1997
Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... is poorly represented in Andrew McAllister’s Bloodaxe anthology, otherwise a useful dash through the poets chosen by Louis Zukofsky for An ‘Objectivists’ Anthology of 1932, and those, notably LorineNiedecker and Muriel Rukeyser, who were admired rather later. Some of the most distinctive Carl Rakosi cannot be found here – ‘How to be with a Rock’, for example, a playful, ontological stand ...

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