Private Project

These Sounds Mark the Placements of an Inner World

These Sounds Mark the Placements of an Inner World brings together the archives and the historical home of the modernist poet from south central Wisconsin, Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), who, despite living away from cosmopolitan cultural centers, produced some of the most original poetry of the first half of the 20th century. Performance artist Elise Cowin responds to Lorine’s archive and onsite in the cabin where Lorine once lived and wrote.

  • Julia Pello
  • Julia Pello
  • Julia Pello
  • Elise Cowin
    Key Cast
  • Troy Cruz
    Post-Production Sound
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Feature, Other
  • Genres:
    Performance Art, Archive Film
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 5 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 24, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    3,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 5.7K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Julia Pello

Julia Pello is an interdisciplinary media artist and poet. Originally a refugee from the former USSR, her filmmaking practice involves historical research that addresses problematic national narratives in an attempt to articulate the complex layers of local histories. Her projects culminate in collaborative films with performance artists and non-professional actors.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Director’s statement

Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), a major modernist poet, whose work is currently having a revival, spent most of her life in a small cabin on a piece of marshy land in south central Wisconsin called Blackhawk Island. Despite the fact that she lived outside of any major cosmopolitan cultural centers, she kept a long correspondence with New York based poet Louis Zukofsky, among other notable modernist poets.

The Rock River, along which the Sauk and Fox people lived in the 18th and 19th centuries, flows past the south side of the wooden cabin where Lorine lived with her husband. It is now preserved by her appreciation society, Friends of Lorine Niedecker.

Adjacent to this swampy stretch of woods is Lake Koshkonong, a battle site of the Black Hawk War in 1832. Many Sauk and Fox people starved at this swampy lake trying to outrun the US militia, in which Abraham Lincoln was a 27-year-old private. Black Hawk was not a chief of the Sauk people but an accomplished warrior by the time the eponymous war started.

A deeper history is commemorated nearby: the “Panther” Intaglio, a ground depression – the inverse of a mound – made by people who predate today’s Tribal Nations by something like a thousand years.

Lorine Niedecker worked as a librarian in Fort Atkinson’s public library, which today contains a archive of her personal book collection, objects and ephemera. Another part of her archive is in the local history museum, where an imagined past haunts the artifice of the diorama.

Layers atop layers atop layers. There is nowhere where history is not.