Bernadette er Reader (), The Desire of Mothers to Please Others in Poetry Review on Midwinter Day, a book-length poem written during a single day . Midwinter Day book. Read 36 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Midwinter Day, as Alice Notley noted, is an epic poem about a daily. [Poems. Selections]. Eating the colors of a lineup of words: the early books of Bernadette er / Bernadette er. . book-length poem, Midwinter Day.
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Midwinter Day [Excerpt] - I write this love as all transition. Midwinter Day [Bernadette er] on echecs16.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Perhaps Bernadette er's greatest work, Midwinter Day was written. Perhaps Bernadette er's greatest work, Midwinter Day was written on December 22, at Main Street, in Lennox, Massachusetts.
Zeebra Books First published in by Turtle Island, this book-length poem makes an excellent introduction to Mayers work, and its re-release signals a growing recognition of her achievement. Written about one day in her life, the book uses both long, elegant lines occasionally and humorously rhyming and prose poetry reminiscent of her works from the 70s like Studying Hunger and Memory to prove that the day like the dream has everything in it. Cataloging this everything, as it comes out ofand vanishes back intothe quotidian routine of buying food, going to the library, cooking for children, visiting friends and writing, becomes an occasion for Mayers characteristic enthusiasm, inventiveness and brilliance. With conscious nods to UlyssesStately you came to town in my opening dream, Mayer divides the day into six rather than 18 sections, reversing Joyce by beginning with dreams. Events in the poems presentMarie says she wants to read a book before I fix the rest of dinnerfold into the writers own past car accidents, early relationships, family history , the pasts of writers like Margaret Fuller and Hawthorne, and into encyclopedic speculations about art making, scientific discoveries and travel to the North Pole.
Mayer was well known for the workshops she taught there, ones that "have become renowned for the variety of textual approaches deployed, and for their emphasis on nonliterary or not primarily literary texts. From to , Mayer co-edited the publication Unnatural Acts, a "collaborative writing experiment" that arose from one of her workshops. Only two issues of the magazine were published, though a third—a postcard issue with work by visual artists—was planned.
Among other things, Mayer was in part responsible for the implementation of a lecture series and the Monday night reading series, both of which remain a part the Poetry Project's programming schedule today.
From to Mayer co-edited United Artists books and magazine with her then-partner Lewis Warsh. United Artists published some of the most significant books of Mayer's peers, in addition to several of her own volumes.
I never felt any vacillating about that whole thing It seems like a way to disseminate writing in a very efficient way. You can get it to all the people who you know are going to read it. You can do it the way you want it done. Personal life[ edit ] Early in her life Mayer lived in Lenox, Massachusetts. Of her romantic life, Mayer wrote, "Left a beautiful anarchist lover of 10 years because he wanted no responsibility for children, I chose to have three with another, now living "alone" with them.
In , Mayer suffered a temporarily debilitating stroke. While she has recovered, it altered her motor skills and continues to affect her writing process. So, Midwinter Day represents both a narrower time constraint, one day, and as a result a publishable venture, the entire text has been published in book form.
The text Studying Hunger can be read as a precursor to Midwinter Day, one in which Mayer toys with the idea of writing a text in a single day and works through the problems of recording unconscious states.
What balances the language experiment in Midwinter Day is the infusion of emotional complexity of the artist as a young woman: a mother, a lover, a creator conscious of time. The narrative of the poem moves forward propelled by the passage of time, but the tropes of love, death, children and writing recur regardless of the setting or time period.
The events from the day before the dream are not made available to the reader. The dream imagery is constantly interrupted by an awareness of the experiment of recording the dreams as well as attempts to interpret and contextualize the imagery. This first section then engages in the fictive act of recreation, asking the reader to suspend disbelief and actively engage in this process through the inaccurate and foggy landscapes of both dream and memory.
The starts and stops of the dream narrative along with the digressions into memory seem to try to mimic the process of sleep. So, even as she affords them the importance of being retold in the poem, she is aware that the recreation is a fiction tempered by her own anxieties and fears. There is a circular nature revealed in her movement from dream to memory to dream, and the one constant factor is the shaky ground on which they both stand.
Mayer questions whether a dream can represent truth and whether any true retelling of the dream can even occur. The traditional epic themes of action and struggles to overcome are not found here, and unlike other long poems by Pound, Eliot or Williams, Midwinter Day circles closer and closer into the intimate view of the family rather than out towards an all encompassing view of history or the tale of the tribe. And love, love is a theme that Mayer explores again and again prompting the sense that this is indeed a romantic text and not simply a stoic experiment or writing exercise.
Likewise, an exposition on love and the intimacy of the family stands in direct opposition to the subjects of most male generated epics or long poems, and Mayer struggles to elevate the subject of motherhood to that pinnacle long held by subjects such as war or male aggression.
Mayer claims that poetry can represent this everydayness and pushes her reader to stay invested in the experiment of seeing how language can transform the most ordinary into a beautiful meditation on life.
There is no formal rhyme scheme but Mayer consistently uses rhyme ceasing only during the prose section before returning to poetic stanzas and rhyme at the close.
One quatrain reads: 17 What is your substance and wherefore are you made That millions of strange shadows you tend? Since everyone has, every one, one shade, And you but one, can every shadow lend She then begins another formal iambic quintet with an a bb cc rhyme scheme.
This movement from formal to free verse puts both forms side by side; Mayer demonstrates her ability to work this experiment in both modes. Instead of choosing one form in favor of another, Mayer is consistent in her attempt to include all. Her text is playful and serious in its task as well as experimental in its desire to reveal what words are capable of transmitting from any writer to reader on a conscious level.
Part Two: Morning Routines 20 Part two is written in blocks of prose, and more than any other section it details the movements of the mother in relation to her children during a morning routine. It is the shortest section with the action contained completely within the domestic sphere mirroring in its prose form part four. These two parts representing the interior life of the family at morning and at evening bookend the middle part three, which occurs exclusively outside of the home focusing on family errands and the history and mapping of the town.
Listing is a device that Mayer returns to throughout the poem; in part two she uses it to set the scene cataloguing the entire makeup of several rooms of the house.
Lists can be completely impersonal simply cataloguing objective data as one would in a scientific experiment. They also bring to mind their function, which is quite literally to stand in the place of remembering. Mayer brings attention to how lists replace memory and how memory functions to create lists and, in relation to lists, how one assigns value to the items encased in the list form. Light, time and death are intrinsically linked throughout the book, and Mayer returns to the connections between the three again and again.
The importance of time is magnified not only by the shortness of the day, but also by the act of mothering two small children, which takes a considerable amount of time and energy. Her experiment opens the field as to what the subject of a long poem can be in opposition to what her male predecessors viewed as worthy subjects for the long poem.
The act of creating this book brings value to the work of motherhood and provides a standard for future mothers who struggle under the same constraints of finding time and energy for their creative aspects as well as their family demands. Instead of separating the categories of child rearing and poetry, Mayer attempts to merge the two since the combination reveals a more accurate portrayal of life.
Death or the dissolution of self is a trope intrinsically linked to the idea of the day being shortened. Of course the image is completely inverted as the voice calling out is a woman anxious to know if she has left anything out of the poem and instead of crucifixion the narrator has been forsaken for joy. The joy is what Mayer sees around her, and the need to get it in is almost a talismanic desire to ward off death with description. There is never a shift in perspective that tries to dissolve the narrator or that tries to move too far away from the experiment at hand.
Thinking things the world.
The poem is an object other and external to the self, and the poem is also a world created by language that references and influences our own. The tantrum scene is written with all the flourish and eye to detail that a Shakespearian tragedy would give to the apex of the play. The overblown language adds humor to the retelling but beneath the surface is an honest look at the tenuous hold children have on their emotions and how this affects the adults around them.
Mayer does not just record that her child had a tantrum in the public library, instead she brings us into the emotion, into the chaos and the depths showing how language can go into an experience rather than simply retell the experience. The tantrum seems to last forever as the long lines pile up and indeed even the reader must catch their breath at the end. Mayer then turns the entire scene into an opportunity to explore the nature of rage and love.
Mayer illustrates another use of listing as a way to orient oneself in a geographical sphere.
Mayer indulges in her lists again later in the section at the bookstore; 19 lines of book titles are listed with no comment other than to display in their listing the importance that Mayer gives these items. Mayer in her view of the town censors nothing, and continues to push the reader to accept everything as the stuff of poetry. Here Mayer subverts this notion claiming that there is no action when in reality the action is the daily routine. Mayer draws a parallel between writing and life through this example showing that the everyday is not only what makes up our lives, but ultimately also what makes up poetry as well.
The two opposing poles become then the safety of the family unit locked in the house and the threat of moving out of that safety where death or betrayal lurks around the edges. The melding of high and low art converges in this section through her descriptions and allusions to books. Mayer is more interested in recording and tracking the movement of her mind rather than trying to discover the psychology of why her mind leaps to these disparate points. As in part one, the idea of psychological analysis is hinted at in the desire to tease out why the mind would go to these certain subjects.
In a way, her attention to books is another look into how stories are integral to life. Mayer shows the importance of the books that she has read by placing their tales directly in line with her tale of her family.
The paragraphs become expositions on both her immediate present and the memories of books read that this present stirs up, and the two seem to be disparate but in fact illustrate the circuitous nature of memory and intellect.
Someone else said I was no longer a true experimentalist. Mayer layers story upon story to flesh out the workings of the mind and how integral the act of telling and retelling is to life. The form of the story varies from book summaries to memories recounted to word of mouth gossip, but its function remains important: the need to make sense of life with words.
She tempts the reader to try and make sense of this jumble of stories piling up and this in turn prompts the reader to question the use of narrative in their own lives. The poignancy of any memory or tale truly stops with the teller; Mayer explores how truthfully words can express individual experience.
She works within this gap trying to see where language fails and where the disconnections or spaces between people, via their perceptions, exist.
There is a realization that language is more malleable to the child who has not yet fixed words to certain memories and abstractions. Language is slippery in the same way that recalling a dream is or in the same way that the young child sees her own sexuality. By calling attention to this, Mayer questions the reality of this notion; does language become more fixed in adulthood or is that a misconception that is simply accepted and not questioned? She also reveals in the text a schizophrenic tendency of the writer who is both threatened by the breakdown of language and desirous to excavate and examine this same breakdown.
She writes a long letter to Lewis Warsh, her husband and fellow writer in the house. The epistle form is one that engages in the fiction of being a private exchange between two people, presumably the writer and the one addressed. The reader then is forced to be an interloper, peeking at lines that were meant to be shared exclusively by others.
Mayer deliberately puts the reader in the position of questioning the function of words said aloud versus on the page.