Episode 15: Bernadette Mayer
Play • 1 hr 17 min

Host Rachel Zucker speaks with one of her favorite poetic influences: feminist rebel-poet Bernadette Mayer, about being a writer and a mother, life in New York City, writing habits, and the circumstances behind her foundational book Midwinter Day (written all on one day, December 22, 1978) . They discuss dreams, the desire to record EVERYTHING, how the poetry community has changed (and how it hasn’t) since Bernadette began writing, and the complications of writing about family.


Books by Bernadette Mayer

The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (Nightboat Reprint, 2017)

Works and Days (New Directions, 2016)

Eating the Colors of a Lineup of Words: The Collected Early Books of Bernadette Mayer (Barrytown/Station Hill Press, 2015)

Sonnets (Tender Buttons Press, 2014)

The Helens of Troy (New Directions, 2013)

Studying Hunger Journals (Station Hill Press, 2011)

Ethics of Sleep (Trembling Pillow Press, 2011)

Poetry State Forest (New Directions, 2008)

Scarlet Tanager (New Directions, 2005)

Midwinter Day (New Directions Reprint, 1999)

Another Smashed Pinecone (United Artists Books, 1998)

Proper Name and Other Stories (New Directions, 1996)

A Bernadette Mayer Reader (New Directions, 1992)

Other Books/Writers Mentioned in the Episode

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (Haymarket Books, 2015)

What’s Your Idea of a Good Time by Bill Berkson and Bernadette Mayer (Tuumba Press, 2006)

The Random House Book of 20th Century French Poetry, edited by Paul Auster (Vintage, 1984)

Alice Notley

Anne Waldman

Ted Berrigan

Eileen Myles

Other Links of Note

St. Mark's Poetry Project

Bernadette’s Archive

Bernadette’s Journal Ideas and Writing Experiments

Bernadette’s page at the Electronic Poetry Center

The Drama in the Everyday: Bernadette Mayer’s Early Poems” by Douglas Messeri, published on Hyperallergic

Audio Recordings of Bernadette’s Poems and other Interviews, from Penn Sound


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