Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Composition



First Reader/Committee Chair

Jessica Lewis Luck


In this article I explore the work of Lorine Niedecker, a poet not conventionally associated with disability studies, in order to flesh out an account of the function of visual disability in midcentury poetics and praxis. To do this I read Niedecker’s formative sequence “For Paul,” the late long poem “Wintergreen Ridge,” and other poems, through deformative practices in the belief that such an engagement shows how Niedecker’s hybrid objectivist praxis can be integrated with critical models of disability studies. Such an integration is then bodied forth in what I’m calling a “nystagmic poetics.” In such a poetics, the physical eye unseats ableist models of untroubled optical agency, such as those found in imagist and objectivist poetry, and extends the relevance of its revised understanding of visual modality to all bodies. Thus nystagmic poetics responds to the call to substantially address the fact of disability and to consider whether a more fully imagined poetics of partial sight is a productive critical lens for thinking about literature.