Monday, September 16, 2013

Rocky Shore, Sturgeon Bay

"The journey of the rock is never ended. In every tiny part of any living thing are materials that once were rock that turned to soil. These minerals are drawn out of the soil by plant roots and the plants used them to build leaves, stems, flowers and fruits. Plants are eaten by animals. In our blood is iron from plants that draw it out of the soil. Your teeth and bones were once coral. The water you drink has been in clouds over the mountains of Asia and in waterfalls of Africa. The air you breathe has swirled thru places of the earth that no one has ever seen. Every bit of you is a bit of the earth and has been on many strange and wonderful journeys over countless millions of years. So---here we go. Maybe as rocks and I pass each other I could say how-do-you-do to an agate."

From "Lake Superior Country; Vacation Trip '66" in Lake Superior; Lorine Niedecker's poem and journal, along with other sources, documents and readings by Lorine Niedecker, Wave Books, 2013. Page 7.

This slender book is a knockout! In less than 91 pages printed on quality creamy paper, we get a whole project of Niedecker's surrounding a trip around Lake Superior she took with her husband in 1966. Included are her 6-page poem "Lake Superior", the journal she kept in typescript of her trip, letters to Cid Corman, an essay on her work, a section from Schoolcraft and one from the WPA guide to Wisconsin, writings of the 17th century explorer Radisson, ans a piece by Aldo Leopold on a monument to the passenger pigeon. But I guess that the thing that was most unexpected and that pleased me utterly was a section of Basho's Back Roads to Far Towns as translated by Cid Corman. What a treat to find Basho here!
Also included are facsimiles of some of her notes and typescripts;

This book came out just this year and is available from Amazon for a reasonable price. I am very glad to have found it. It makes me want to go back to a project of my own on the history of the Franklin Expedition. It is pleasant and enlightening to spend time with history, particularly because recent events are so tangled and unpleasant. Perhaps it may also give us a new perspective. Niedecker's life was very circumscribed and male-dominated--although in many ways she was also fiercely independent. The excellent biography of LN by Margot Peters was published in 2011 and makes fascinating reading.

 I guess I need to look up Radisson; up to now, he was only a hotel chain. Wow! He was captured by Mohawks! He learned to speak their language. Another Indian Captivity! One of the first books I remember reading was an Indian Captivity story called The White Indian Boy. I was eleven years old. I started reading it when I was babysitting for Joan Leigh, and she gave the book to me. I still have it. I've been interested in these stories ever since. And so to bed.

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