from “Linneaus in Lapland,” by Lorine Niedecker
I see only
where I now walk. I carry
When I encountered Lorine Niedecker’s work for the first time I felt an immediate sense of kinship with her aesthetic and voice. Here was a poet I understood at the level of my senses; a poet who paid attention; one with a real reverence for the natural world, and a language that brings me closer to it, over and over. Her Collected Works always sits on my nightstand, and provides sustenance whenever I pick it up, which I do many mornings before I begin writing. I admire her immediacy and compression; the emotional impact she achieves in just a few lines. I admire the music of plain speech and the way certain cadences lodge in my inner ear, then come back and sing to me when I’m walking around in the woods, or going about my day.