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A Bernadette Mayer Reader

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  141 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
“What a clear, insistent health there is here––as if the so-called world were seriously the point, which it is, and we could actually live in it, which we do. Truly this is the best How To book I've read in years. Bernadette Mayer makes a various world of real people in real times and places, a fact of love and loving use. She has impeccable insight and humor. She is a con ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published May 17th 1992 by New Directions (first published May 1992)
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May 05, 2008 CA rated it it was amazing
One of those CLASSIC selections that makes you want to read EVERYTHING the poet has written! Contains some of my favorite poems BY ANY POET, including, "First turn to me...," "Counterhatch," "It Moves Across," and her BRILLIANT sonnet, "You jerk you didn't call me up...." Her influence on many celebrated living poets cannot be stressed enough. She's ONE OF OUR BEST!

Sam Lohmann
Jan 03, 2013 Sam Lohmann rated it it was amazing
It's all pretty much amazing but the poem I hadn't read before and that blew me away was "Gay Full Story."

Also: "Marie Makes Fun of Me at the Shore," which in its entirety goes:

Marie says
look tiny red spiders
are walking
across the pools
& just as I am writing down
tiny red
spiders are
walking across the pools
She says Mom I can just see it
in your poem it'll say
tiny red spiders are walking
across the pools

May 26, 2014 Joe added it
Shelves: poetry
Some of the prose excerpts are bound to feel unsatisfying but the brief notes on the method behind them--"Memory is a journal of the Month of July 1971 based on notes and writings, and a series of 1,116 slides…" "Studying Hunger consists of two lectures culled from the 400-page Studying Hunger Journals, an experiment in recording states of consciousness" points to the range of BM, from translations of Catullus to what Joey A sees as proto conceptualist transcription projects. Particularly intere ...more
C. Derick
Aug 06, 2015 C. Derick rated it it was amazing
Outside of Barbara Guest, Bernadette Mayer is other major female voice in the New York School. Whereas Guest poems are arresting and unexpected but very cerebral, Mayer's work has a more earthly intelligence paired with a manic humor. Her poems, however, are less painterly or lyric than Guest's. Indeed, she is defined by play: word play, image play, play in sexuality. Her sonnets pair formality with broken syntax, her lyrics often pair humor with feminine swagger. Mayer's juxtapositions often en ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Pete rated it it was ok
i came across "You jerk you didn't call me up" (the one that lovingly invokes cobra commander) last month and thought i needed to immediately know more about the consciousness that created it but i have to say, this is not my bag. i pride myself on having a strange bag that holds many different shapes of objects but bernadette mayer, apart from the one sonnet that involves cobra commander, does not go in my bag. at some point in time i can see how this might have felt bold and grabbed people by ...more
Alex Garrison
May 23, 2011 Alex Garrison rated it it was amazing
Thr prose work doesn't really interest me but the 'sonnets' knock me out. This collection is effective in that it makes me completely want more of her work - a sufficent introduction to an apparently brilliant woman. I found her through 'Eve of Easter', which is great, but it's 'Failures in Infinitives' and of course 'You jerk you didn't call me up' that have changed me deeply. The voice is crushingly singular and true; Mayer is exactly the poet I wish to be.
Mar 07, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2008 Laura rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who can't get enough of Bernadette and can't afford her out of print books
Bernadette Mayer is one of my favorite poets but this volume is not very well put together and it's way too short. Little nibbles and you're still hungry and confused about what you ate. Better read after you've read her books one by one and then what's the point? There are some poems in the reader that are otherwise out of print, that's the point.
Tim Atkins
Jun 25, 2007 Tim Atkins rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you
There are not enough poems about daughters in the world but here are some.

Jul 31, 2008 Julia rated it liked it
Only because of the short length and production values.
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  • The Sonnets
  • This Connection of Everyone With Lungs
  • This Can't Be Life
  • In the Pines
  • The Weather
  • Poems for the Millennium, Vol. 2: Modern and Postmodern Poetry from Postwar to Millennium
  • Sleeping With the Dictionary
  • The Language of Inquiry
  • Ring of Fire
  • My Emily Dickinson
  • Selected Poems
  • My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry
  • I Love Artists
  • The Cow
  • New Collected Poems
  • Collected Works
  • For Love
  • Commons
Bernadette Mayer (born May 12, 1945) is an American poet, writer, and visual artist associated with both the Language poets and the New York School. Mayer's record-keeping and use of stream-of-consciousness narrative are two trademarks of her writing, though she is also known for her work with form and mythology. In addition to the influence of her textual-visual art and journal-keeping, Mayer's p ...more
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