poems. She was a perfectionist, want-,ning the punctuation and layout justnright.nThe great advantage of Ft. Atkinsnwas that when Niedecker put thosenoverly-stimulating letters down, thensolitude fired the inner enthusiasmnnecessary for her to create. Yes,nNiedecker did go to New York —nseveral times, beginning in the 1930’s,nto meet Zukofsky and his circle ofnObjectivists: George Oppen, CarlnRakosi, Charies Reznikoff, even WilliamnCarlos Williams. But she had nonintention of staying. She needed thenspark, the encouragement of meetingnSork, ftiiiliT,nand diik’nnill ibf .MiideninEcmniynBnre Qiristenscif ,• Alkm Gu-lsonnMarts inoskte RichaitlM’ddernIran Belhte Klshtain;nThe Family Wage: Work, Gender,nand Children in the ModernnEconomy A fascinating collectionnof essays that will help Americansnbetter understand the current economicnchallenges to family life.nSend for your copy today!nDYES, please send mencopies of The Fhmily Wage: ^brk.nGender, and Children in thenModern Economy at $11.50 eachn(postage and handling included).nName.n AddressnCitynState _Zip.nSend this coupon and your check madenout to The Rockford Institute to: ThenRockford Institute, 934 N. Main St.,nRockford, IL 61103n56/CHRONICLESnher mentor. That was all. Then shenreturned home, “psyched-up” andnmore capable of following her ownnroad.nThis process was reversed in then1960’s, when she became more widelynknown. It was then that Gorman andnBasil Bunting made the trek to Wisconsinnto get their own poetic batteriesncharged through her.nLate in life Niedecker married fornthe second time, to a former hoboturned-housenpainter named AlnMillen. It is not entirely clear fromnNiedecker’s correspondence hownmuch Millen knew about, cared for, ornunderstood her poetry. There is somenindication he never read any of it. Innfact, as Thatcher portrays him, Millennseems to believe he is doing his wife angreat favor by pushing her away fromnpoetry. To his way of thinking, poetrynwas her way of dealing with loneliness.nHe takes Lorine to dull parties, tonbowling tournaments, to dinner in faroffnMilwaukee—all to get her awaynfrom writing. He believes this will bentherapeutic for her.nAnd yet one simple act forced me tonrethink Milieu’s role as boorish antiintellectual.nAs he kicks Mary out ofnthe house, the niece screams, “Havenyou ever read one of your wife’snpoems?” He thinks about that for anmoment and replies, “No. They’renpersonal.” Maybe Millen isn’t reallynsuch a bumpkin. Maybe he is actuallyngiving Lorine the emotional space andnprivacy she needs to continue to create.nIn a climactic scene in the play,nMary throws a fistful of poems atnMillen, saying that he should readnthem because “these are about you!”nMillen struggles with his conscience.nThe poems are scattered across thenfloor in front of him. He’s drunk. Hisnresistance is down. He reads one.nI marriednin the world’s black nightnfor warmthnif not reposenat the close —nsomeone.nI hid with himnfrom the long-range guns.nWe lay legnin the cupboard, headnin closet.nnnA slit of lightnat no bird dawn —nUntaughtnI thoughtnhe drankntoo much.nI saynI marriednand lived unburiednI thought—nWhy can’t I be happynin my sorrownMy drinking manntodaynMy quietntomorrow.nThe play ends with Lorine Niedecker’snsudden death. At the gravesidenMillen reads another poem as the lightsnfade:nI was the solitary ploverna pencilnfor a wing-bonenFrom the secret notesnI must tiltnupon the pressurenexecute and adjustnIn us sea-air rhythmn”We live by the urgent wavenof the verse”nYou with sea-water runningnin your veins sit down in waternExpect the long-stemmednbluenspeedwell to renewnitselfnO my floating lifenDo not save lovenfor thingsnThrow thingsnto the floodnruinednby the floodnLeave the newnunbought—nall one in the end —nwater.nJohn Chodes is a playwright living innNew York City.n