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Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

Objectivist Poet Lorine Niedecker Gets Her Due

Margot Peters presents free reading at Woodland Pattern

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Renowned biographer Margot Peters has penned the first complete biography of Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), an Objectivist poet who made her home on Blackhawk Island, a marshy area near Fort Atkinson, Wis. In Peters' thoroughly researched biography, Niedecker's life is centered around Louis Zukofsky, the man who introduced her in 1931 to Objectivist poetry—a style that gave equal meaning to the material quality of words and rejected that which was excessively sentimental.

Niedecker's life was filled with poverty and arduousness: She was forced to drop out of Beloit College after two years to care for her ailing mother, she entered into a brief and ultimately failed two-year marriage, and she was coerced by Zukofsky, with whom she had a brief affair, into having an abortion. Her later life saw some happiness, including a second marriage, a return to her beloved Blackhawk Island and the resurgence of her writing. Niedecker died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1970 at the height of her career. Her preference for a quiet life led her to remain virtually unknown to the public during her lifetime, but since her death Niedecker's writings have attracted high praise from peers and critics alike.

Peters, who was a longtime professor of English at UW-Whitewater, holds a Ph.D. in Victorian literature. She is the author of numerous biographies, with subjects such as Charlotte Brontë and May Sarton. Peters will host a free book-release reading at Woodland Pattern Book Center on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m.

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