Niedecker and the Correspondence with Zukofsky 1931-1970

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9780521443692: Niedecker and the Correspondence with Zukofsky 1931-1970

The forty-year correspondence between Lorine Niedecker and Louis Zukofsky is one of the closest and most productive in recent literary history. Beginning in 1931, the correspondence was tutelary but it quickly grew into a collaborative enterprise of emotional and artistic significance for both poets. This volume presents Niedecker's side of the correspondence. It opens with a substantial introduction tracing the life and work of Niedecker and how her relationship with Zukofsky influenced her poetry. At the same time Jenny Penberthy attempts to disengage Niedecker from her own myth of Zukofsky. She examines the emergence of Niedecker's quiet but rigorously experimental poetry: her rejection of hierarchies of genre, structure, and syntax, and her questioning of relationships among author, world, and text. Penberthy also reconstructs the early years of Niedecker's career, looking particularly at her surrealism and its impact on her poems. The book is not only about the impact Zukofsky had on Niedecker's work, it is also about a woman poet's struggle for recognition both within and without.

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Book Description:

The forty-year correspondence between Lorine Niedecker and Louis Zukofsky is one of the closest and most productive in recent literary history. Beginning in 1931, the correspondence was tutelary but it quickly grew into a collaborative enterprise of emotional and artistic significance for both poets. This volume presents Niedecker's side of the correspondence.

Review:

"...it is gradually becoming clear that in terms of rhythmic resource alone Niedecker's poems repay the closest attention. Jenny Penberthy's scrupulous edition of the poet's voluminous correspondence with Zukofsky (one-time lover and lifelong friend) certainly invites that attention, providing and indispensable companion to what can now be seen as a complex and varied body of work....The collection as a whole also reveals the extent to which the letter-writing often served Niedecker as a preliminary stage of poetic composition....Penberthy's excellent introduction to the volume helpfully situates this most isolated of modern poets in the context of transition and Surrealism, catching the wilder, cosmopolitan side of Niedecker which age never quite effaced." Peter Nicholls, Times Literary Supplement

"...an interesting addition to a poetry library." Choice

"...a sympathetic, illuminating and altogether substantial study of the poet." R.W. (Herbie) Butterfield, Journal of American Studies

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