Lorine Niedecker was born in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin in 1903 and spent the majority of her life in that area. She went to Beloit College in 1922 but had to return home in 1924 as her father could no longer pay tuition and she was also needed to care for her mother. In 1928 she married Frank Hartwig and took a job at the local library, but then the Depression took both her and her husband’s jobs and they ultimately separated.
Niedecker began corresponding with New York poet Louis Zukofsky and after two years of letters, she traveled to New York to meet him, She briefly lived there working and learning from each other, and the two remained close friends after her time in New York.
She held many jobs throughout her life to stay afloat, as her poetry unfortunately did not become popular until after her death. She married a industrial painter Al Millen and the two spent the rest of their time in various locations near to her childhood home in Wisconsin.