This short poem was probably written in 1941 and was included in Niedecker’s first book, New Goose, published in 1946 by . One of Niedecker’s favorite poems, she also included it her second book, My Friend Tree published in 1961 by The Wild Hawthorn Press in Edinburgh, Scotland as well as both of the collected editions of her work that appeared during her lifetime: T&G: The Collected Poems, 1936-1966, published in 1969 by Jonathan Williams’ , and My Life By Water: Collected Poems 1936-1968, published by Stuart and Deidre Montgomery’s in London in 1970.
Black Hawk held: In reason
land cannot be sold,
only things to be carried away,
and I am old.
Young Lincoln’s general moved,
pawpaw in bloom,
and to this day, Black Hawk,
reason has small room.
Additional Learning Material:
Several friends of Lorine Niedecker discussing Niedecker’s poem “Foreclosure” at her cabin on Blackhawk Island. The video includes a discussion of the “Black Hawk Held” poem:
The Press of James A. Decker was a poetry publishing house once located in the tiny hamlet of Prairie City, Illinois. The Decker Press received national attention in the 1940s, when it published work by authors like Edgar Lee Masters, August Derleth, William Everson (Brother Antoninus), David Ignatow, Kenneth Patchen, Kenneth Rexroth, Lorine Niedecker, and Louis Zukofsky.
The Jargon Society is an independent press founded in 1951 by the American poet Jonathan Williams. It is now a part of the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.
Fulcrum Press (1965-74) was founded in London in the mid-1960s by medical student Stuart Montgomery and his wife Deirdre. A leading small press of the late 1960s, Fulcrum published major American and British poets in the modernist and the avant-garde traditions in carefully designed books on good paper. The Fulcrum Press made a significant contribution to the British Poetry Revival. Poets published by Fulcrum included Niedecker, Basil Bunting, Ed Dorn, Robert Duncan, Larry Eigner, Roy Fisher, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Allen Ginsberg, Michael Hamburger, David Jones, Christopher Middleton, George Oppen, Tom Pickard, Omar S. Pound, Tom Raworth, Jerome Rothenberg and Gary Snyder.