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Imagine growing up a poet in a state like Wisconsin and having to travel to Colorado to learn about the work of Lorine Niedecker, and furthermore to have one’s own consciousness changed by engagement with her work. Niedecker’s work, since her death in 1970, has exploded in popularity beyond any expectation anyone might have had while she was alive. Her intensely crafted, condensed and place-centric poems of her native Wisconsin and longtime home Blackhawk Island, near Fort Atkinson garnered her some regional attention while alive, but her work is now a veritable cottage industry with much scholarship being done on her oeuvre.

Nicholas Gulig is the Poet Laureate of Wisconsin and he is that poet who only learned about Niedecker moving away from the EAT CHEESE OR DIE state. He talked about how he became aware of Niedecker’s work, the revelation he had about what the poem could be beyond self-expression and one notion of what poetry has in common with altars.

Watch/Listen here:

or on Spotify where you will find many other Cascadian Prophets interviews:

Read the feature on Nicholas Gulig in The Solitary Plover, the newsletter of the Friends of Lorine Niedecker,

(UW-Whitewater Photos/Craig Schreiner)Nicholas Gulig