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IMMORTAL CUPBOARD: In Search of Lorine Niedecker

(2003 – 2009, 73min, 16mm transferred to DV)

IMMORTAL CUPBOARD is an artistic interpretation, tribute and film essay on Lorine Niedecker’s life and poetry.

Living for years in the solitude of rural Wisconsin, Niedecker (1903-1970), chose what many might see as a lonely path. But out of her very deliberate and austere lifestyle came a poetics of observation so acute that some literary critics have described her as the 20th century’s Emily Dickinson.

Taking cues from Niedecker’s work and the Wisconsin heritage they share, experimental filmmaker Cathy Cook combines original live-action footage, animation, archival images and the poet’s only audio interview to unfurl the poet’s psychological and physical landscape. Through a repetition of images, text and sounds that mirror Niedeckers own processes and forms, Cook gives new voice and visibility to the extraordinary works of this very private poet. Niedeckers ruminations on nature, ecology, gender, domesticity, work, family and social politics find new life in the sensitive cinematic interpretations of fellow artist, Cathy Cook, whose own critical and original aesthetics constitute a broad and refreshing challenge to the conventions of both documentary film and the cine-biography. Niedecker and Cook meet up on a path not taken and IMMORTAL CUPBOARD is Cook’s report back from way down that path.

SCREENINGS (selected)
2023 – Meet the Filmmaker! Cathy Cook, Enoch Pratt Central Library
2021 – Woodland Pattern Bookstore, Milwaukee, WI
2019 – SPECTRUM: Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition, CADVC, UMBC
2016 – VisArts, Screening & Artist Talk, Rockville, MD.
2011 – UC Berkeley, San Francisco, CA
2011 – Bjorklunden, L. Niedecker Conference, Bailey’s Harbor, WI
2011 – ATA Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2010 – Bowery Poetry Club, NY, NY
2010 – Anthology Film Archives, NY, NY
2010 – Lawrence University, Appleton, WI
2009 – Creative Alliance, Baltimore Premiere, Baltimore, MD
2009 – Fall for the Book Conference, George Mason University
2008 – Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI (Premiere)


Award Finalist – 2010 Beloit Int’l Film Festival
Jury Award – 2009 Wisconsin Film Festival


“Director’s Cut” –  2009 Interview and Broadcast Wisconsin Public                       Television (WPT)

Poetry, Letters & Quotes: Lorine Faith Niedecker (May 12th, 1903 – December 31st, 1970)
Director, Editor & Cinematographer: Cathy Cook
Nature Recordings & Audio Collage: Paul Dickinson
Someday Song & Music: Jen Benka & Bill Dempsey
Contributing Composers & Musicians: Tom Goldstein, Patrick Hardish & Christian Woolf
Visual Collaborators & Contributors: J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Assistant Editorial Director: Stefanie Koseff