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Lorine Niedecker

From: Burwell, Fred. "The Poet's Years at Beloit College," The Beloit Magazine. (January 1996): 7.

     When Lorine Niedecker applied to Beloit College in 1922, she wrote that her favorite studies were "English and French" and that her favorite activities were "literary, aesthetic dancing and dramatic."

     A few other brittle and time-worn documents reveal in part the life Niedecker led as a student here.

     We know that as a freshman she lived in old Chapin Hall and moved to Stowell Cottage her sophormore year. She performed well academically in English, music, and philosophy, though not so well in botany and economics.

     In June 1923, she was elected secretary-treasurer of the women's debating society, known as the Girls' Forum Club.

     Biographies mention Niedecker's life-long devotion to music. At Beloit, joining other msuic students in recital, she performed on the piano "Le Papillon," by Lavelle.

     That Lorine Niedecker would emerge as one of the nation's innovative poets is hinted at only once. In May 1923, the women's literary society, known as Ka Ne, invited a number of students to its meeting. "Laurine" Niedecker, as the Round Table reported it, was among five freshman women who presented papers. The future poet read "Koshkonong" and "Fever." The newspaper praised her originality.

     A member of the class of 1926, Niedecker left Beloit after her sophomore year to care for her ailing mother. She never returned to college.

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