I can’t think of any unjustly forgotten USA poets of the 20th Century because there are none—
attempts to resurrect poets unread in their lifetimes are futile, no matter how much money university presses waste in the effort, or how many pages the Norton adds onto each edition—
and no matter how many of us vainly delude ourselves it’s possible—
poets' selfish reasons for perpetuating this myth are obvious—
the only poets posthumously recoverable are those whose work wasn’t available before their death (Dickinson, Rimbaud, Plath et al)—
Hope springs eternal and all that, but one can't fatuously indulge in fantasy
all the time, one has to sober up sometimes—
To take as an example, my own particular case:
No one reads me now, ergo no one is going to read me a decade from now when I'm dead—
I can't console myself with the illusion that "posterity" will see merits in my poetry that contemporary readers and critics didn't—
it doesn't happen that way.
It never happens that way.
And to pretend/profess otherwise is simply another of the endless lies failed poets pathetically plaster our wounds with.
Afterthought: you may point to the recent two-volume Norton Mod/Con to refute my contention that obscure poets aren't recoverable,
and yes, there are some additions to that canonical anthol
which might qualify—
but while the Norton may be infinitely expandable (especially when it's tranferred into a web-based entity),
semesters and student brains aren't—
and when the next batch of po-profs careerwardly restore the reps of other po-oblivo's,
and this latter slate of rescuees has to be wedged-in to the mix,
what then? Just as James Stephens and others were excised to provide room for Loy/Niedecker et al in the current edition of the Mod/Con,
won't some (and eventually most) of the recent insertees have to be similarly sacrificed in the future?—
In the long run, as each succeeding edition is forced to include other regilded relics,
eventually all or nearly all of your dug-up oldies will be axed and will fade once more to their former forgotteny.
Niedecker (or Jack Spicer et al) is less a poet than a pornstar,
an autoerotic fantasy dreamed up to satisfy the jugjug desires of justly neglected poets whose only hope to ever be read is this absurd fetish fantasy of posthumous reparation—