From My Commonplace book - 22

"Who was Mary Shelley?"

by Lorine Niedecker

Who was Mary Shelley?
What was her name
before she married?

She eloped with this Shelley
she rode a donkey
till the donkey had to be carried.

Mary was Frankenstein's creator
his yellow eye
before her husband was to drown

Created the monster nights
after Byron, Shelley
talked the candle down.

Who was Mary Shelley?
She read Greek, Italian
She bore a child

Who died
and yet another child
who died.

Lorine Niedecker (American, 1903-1970) lived in isolation in rural Wisconsin most of her life and often on the edge of poverty.

She struck up a correspondence with Objectivist poet Louis Zukofsky, and when she visited him in New York and became pregnant with his child, he insisted she have an abortion. In later years when she wrote a book of poems inspired by her affection for Louis Zukofsky's young son Paul, he discouraged her from publishing it.

The poem about Mary Shelley can be found in Lorine Niedecker's
Collected Works, edited by Jenny Penberty.


Interesting surreal poem merry; read "frankenstein"; liked it; poignant; don't know much re Mary Shelley herself. Love Steve
That's a very interesting poet Merry - prompted me to re-discover the Shelleys (some more brain cells actually working again). And all the fermant of ideas of their times - free spirits - unconventional lives. Much taken with Percy B S's - "he slays the lamb that looks him in the face" as the Spring lambs skip about here (prefer them in the fields but there you are). Lorine Niedecker is a lovely poet - a transcendalist using objectivism (the thing in itself) but "there is something more". Zukofsky fought life long (perhaps) to reject his rich Jewish orthodox heritage - much accused of obscurity as a tactic and dryly intellectual. Niedecker is not, and speaks of retiring "deeper than they do" and reflections. Apparently this poem is relates to her feelings of the sacrificial in the female - she well knew. The poem is ironic.
stevenski;bt4795 said:
Interesting surreal poem merry; read "frankenstein"; liked it; poignant; don't know much re Mary Shelley herself. Love Steve
Thank you, Steve. Love Merry
Hi, Enid.

Thank you so much for your comment. Very enriching. I know almost nothing about Louis Zukovsky except a little bit about his significance in Lorine Niedecker's life. The person who introduced me to her work and explained her relationship with him (L. Z.) remarked that he (L. Z.) would've done well to have written less. And perhaps implied by this that Lorine Niedecker's work outshone Louis Zukovsky's? Can't be sure of my memory.

Anyway, that's a lovely thought that you have lambs skipping there -- there where you are (still sitting in the Kent chair?) rather than in the fields.
Lilac time here Merry and if not the fields spring gardens which I hope you are enjoying in Iowa. Seems LZ not too kind.
Hi, Enid.

The lilacs are blooming here in Ohio, too. The first day I noticed the lilacs in bloom in my neighbor's yard, I went over and cut some to take to him in the nursing center across the street. He's 93, and he remembers when 50 lilac bushes, different colors, stood along the road. The lilacs were destroyed for the nursing center.
Sounds lovely Merry and brought much pleasure. I have elderly relatives who would much enjoy too. Reading in one of our better papers "remember the good things, forget the bad" or nostalgia (which I see in abundance in them) is the way, (none too easy with my old ME though !).

Blog entry information

Last update

More entries in User Blogs

More entries from Merry