Thursday, September 18, 2014

MOOC ModPo Bonus Feature: "You are my friend" by Lorine Niedecker

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present a MOOC ModPo bonus feature, "You are my friend" by Lorine Niedecker (1903 - 1970).  A link to the poem may be found here:  http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/lorine-friend.html.  A brief biography and references may be found here:  http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/lorine-niedecker.


High Bush Cranberry
"You are my friend" contains ten short lines of irregular free verse.  The stanzas, with a line number pattern of 3-1-1-3-1-1, are arranged with an excess of white space between the second and third and the fifth and final stanzas.  The use of the extra white space for a poet known for "condensing" is unexpected and implies that much about the friendship described in the poem has been left unsaid.

The last two lines bear scrutiny.  To what does "it" refer in the penultimate line?  At first, it seems to refer back to "mending kit" in the line immediately prior, but that meaning does not jibe with the final line.  Accordingly, "it" must refer to the friendship itself, and "hand" must refer to the poet.

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