Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aimless Reading: The N's, Part 7 (Lorine Niedecker)

Collected Works by Michael_Kelleher
Collected Works, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.
Niedecker, Lorine
Collected Works

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

This was the Event Book of 2002. By 'Event Book' I mean a book of poetry, usually by a dead poet, usually a collected or selected works, usually published on a university press, most often by the University of California Press, though on occasion by someone like New Directions, whose publication is accompanied by a silent, yet powerful vibration that buzzes through through the poetry world, and whose secret message first manifests itself in the brain by way of the phrase, "I really should buy that."

Soon thereafter everyone in the poetry world is talking about it and before long they are blogging about how they had been reading the author of said event book in beat-up old editions for years prior to the publication of this handsome, yet invariably disappointing and/or poorly edited and or poorly typeset volume of poems by this poet who'd been all but forgotten by all but this ardent, long suffering blogger who feels, in the face of this Event, a powerful combination of the two V's of fandom, that is, vindication and violation, the former because everyone us just now realizing what the blogger has known all along, and the latter because their beloved secret has now gone mainstream.

As if to confirm the blogger's sense of violation, academic panels begin springing up across the land, exploring every imaginable facet of significance said poet might have for each and every individual and/or sub-group of intellectually or otherwise interconnected individuals, these panels eventually growing themselves into conferences, journals, dissertations and entire careers devoted to the now dead author of said Event Book.

You know the type.

On occasion, as in the case of Niedecker, they deserve all the attention.

from Collected Works


Colours of October
wait with easy dignity
for the big change–
like gorgeous quill-pens
in old inkwells
almost dry

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