February 12 Lorine Niedecker: I Take It Slow

I thought I would take a small break from the academic side of poetry to recognize a poet who doesn’t often get much recognition. Lorine Niedecker wrote mostly in the early to mid part of the Twentieth Century. She spent most of her time in the Mid-West mostly Wisconsin. She was encouraged to write poetry by another poet, but never published widely or got the national attention that Frost or Whitman got. Her poems are simple and represent the every day essentials of quiet life. One poem was called “Popcorn-can Cover” and was just about a popcorn can used to cover a hole in the wall. Some of her poems were experimental and some were folksy, but all were about her own personal perspective on the world. It’s like looking into the window of one person’s quiet mind, their small world.

I like this particular poem because it is structured to be read slowly; the sentences are no longer than four words at a time (some less). But just a quick glance gives the mind these beautiful images. Words pop out like “river”, “wild sunflowers”, “head”, “dead”, “life”, “floods” “silt”. Already I am on a journey going from small ideas to large – and crumbling back into small again. Kind of like life itself. I’m not certain where the poet sees herself, but I imagine that she’s on a boat floating down a river watching the skies and the plant life float by and it makes her think about how she is connected to it all.

At first reading the poem seems to be random disparate elements, but as the poem comes to a close they all come together in one bland amalgam. Silt. Life giving dirt from dead elements.

I Take It Slow

by Lorine Niedecker

I take it slow
alone the river
wild sunflowers
over my head
the dead
who gave me life
give me this
our relative the air
floods
our rich friend
silt

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About penneloppe

I like to write horror, dark fantasy and crime fiction. Sometimes, I'll write science fiction, but usually I like to write science fact. I also write screenplays and stage plays. My day job is office work. I live in Seattle and I have a cat.
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