March 2, 2016

Bernadette Mayer

Bernadette Mayer (USA)

Born in Brooklyn on May 12, 145, Bernadette Mayer received her BA from the New School of Social Research in 1967. During those same years she co-edited, with visual artist and poet Vito Acconci, the important experimental journal O to 9, each bound with different covers from 1967-1969. Later, with her husband Lewis Warsh, she edited United Artists Press, which also published several of her own books as well as important writers such as Robert Creeley, Anne Waldman, James Schuyler, and Alice Notley. She also taught at the New School of Social Research.

     For a number of years Mayer taught workshops at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, helping numerous poets who would later become renowned for their work, and later she served as the Poetry Project’s director during the 1980s.
     She began publishing her own poetry and prose poems in 1964 with Ceremony Latin (1964), Story (1968), Moving (1971), and Memory (1975). Her early writing was influenced by Gertrude Stein, but also by the experimental poets of the day, including Acconci and New York School poets. Her work often combines both poetry and prose in a way that, like Stein, makes it impossible to separate the two genres,
      Her influence, over the years, has been immense, particularly on women and feminist poets in the United States. But generally, she has been a significant figure for a large number of contemporary experimental poets of both sexes. Her work has been included in many major anthologies, including in From the Other Side of the Century: A New American Poetry 1960-1990 (Sun and Moon Press, 1994). Her letters and interviews were published as What’s Your Idea of a Good Time? by Tummba Press in 2006.


Ceremony Latin (1964; reprinted New York: Angel Hair 1975); Story (New York: O to 9 Press, 1968); Moving (New York: Angel Hair, 1971); Memory (Plainfield, Vermont: North Atlantic Books); Studying Hunger (New York: Adventures in Poetry / Bolinas, California: Big Sky, 1976); Poetry (New York: Kulchur Foundation, 1976); Eruditio Ex Memoria (Lenox, Massachusetts: Angel Hair, 1977); The Golden Book of Words (Lenox, Massachusetts: Angel Hair, 1978); Midwinter Day (Berkeley, California: Turtle Island Foundation, 1982; New York: New Directions, 1999); Utopia (New York: United Artists Boooks, 1984); Mutual Aid (Mademoiselle de la Mole Press, 1985); Sonnets (New York: Tender Buttons, 1989); The Formal Field of Kissing (New York: Catchword Papers, 1990); A Bernadette Mayer Reader (New York: New Directions, 1992); The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (West Stockbridge, Massachusetts: Hard Press, 1994); Another Smashed Pincome (New York: United Artists Books, 1998); Proper Name and Other Stories (New York: New Directions, 1996); Two Haloed Mourners: Poems (New York: Granary Books, 1998); Scarlet Tanager (New York: New Directions, 2005); Poetry State Forest (New York: New Directions, 2008); Ethics of Sleep (New Orleans: Trembling Pillow Press, 2011); The Helens of Troy (New York: New Directions, 2013); At Maureen’s (with Greg Masters) (New York: Crony Books, 2013); Bernadette Mayer Easting the Colors of a Lineup of Words (Barrytown, New York: Station Hill, 2015)


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