On Big Screens and Small, Filmmakers Enhance National Poetry Month

by Staff

Focusing on a lesser-known but equally deserving subject, filmmaker Cathy Cook premiered Immortal Cupboard: In Search of Lorine Niedecker at the Milwaukee Art Museum late last year. One of four films to receive this year's Wisconsin Own Jury Prize at the Wisconsin Film Festival, Immortal Cupboard explores the life and writing of a poet who some critics have described as the twentieth century's Emily Dickinson. Niedecker, who lived for years in rural Wisconsin, published only two books of poetry during her life: New Goose (J. A. Decker, 1946) and My Friend Tree (Wild Hawthorne Press, 1961). She died of a stroke in 1970 at the age of sixty-seven. In 2002 the University of California Press released Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works, edited by Jenny Penberthy. Cook's experimental documentary combines live-action footage, animation, archival images, and a rare audio interview with Niedecker to offer a unique portrait of the often-overlooked poet as well as the Midwestern landscape that inspired her.