Bernadette Mayer

Works and Days

Poetry by Bernadette Mayer

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Poetry Pamphlets 1–4

Poetry by Eliot Weinberger Lydia Davis Susan Howe Sylvia Legris Bernadette Mayer

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The Helens of Troy, New York

Poetry by Bernadette Mayer

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Poetry State Forest

Poetry by Bernadette Mayer

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Scarlet Tanager

Poetry by Bernadette Mayer

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Midwinter Day

Poetry by Bernadette Mayer

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A Bernadette Mayer Reader

Poetry by Bernadette Mayer

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Powered by Mayer’s unique reflections on the mythologies of social and linguistic order, Works & Days possesses a rare combination of artfulness, critical acumen, and personality. The end result is a book that is at once formally inventive and disturbingly of our times.

—Michael Miller NBCC

Her latest collection, “Works and Days,” which came out this June, is among her very best, colliding daily struggles (menstruation, money) with natural obsessions (blue herons, mushrooms) and big unanswerable questions (Is motherhood virtuous? Whither patriarchy?). All of this is undergirded by a hefty serving of irony… Mayer writes the kind of nonsense that makes sense, and sense that is nonsense: I can’t think of a better centering device in these topsy-turvy times.

—Daniel Wenger, The New Yorker

Sly, spry and unpretentious…

—Michael Robbins, Chicago Tribune

Mayer’s new collection, Works and Days, mixes poems and journal entries, glorying in both the burgeoning of spring and the accidents and irruptions of language.

—Christine Smallwood, Harper’s

The experience of reading Works and Days is exhilarating; it’s like encountering a new, never-before-seen contemporary artwork you know will stand the test of time…There is no other book from this year I’d more like to read again.


Like Hesiod’s famed work from nearly three millennia ago, Mayer’s diaristic book-length poem addresses matters of corruption and injustice, contemplates nature and housekeeping, and dips in and out of mythological imagery. That the collection is written in a freewheeling, humorous and exceedingly casual tone makes the profundity of Mayer’s observations all the more striking.

Chicago Tribune

Comprising teensy, often inconsequential moments—like whether it’s rained or has been threatening to rain—these prosaic morsels are gorgeous and serene. Hardly any of Mayer’s days are spectacular, but her eye is so keenly attune to all that surrounds her that nearly everything feels touched with grandeur.

The Paris Review

Mayer’s work is marked with Dorothy Parker’s bite and bawdiness and Gertrude Stein’s inventive discourse.

The Antioch Review

One of the most interesting, exciting, and open experimental poets.

—Tom Clark, San Francisco Chronicle

Love and the seasons and the exigencies and opportunities of daily survival are the inevitable occasions of a body of work that is as radical as it is Horatian, able as little else is both to delight and instruct.

—Edwin Frank, Boston Review

The richness of life & time as they happen to us in tiny explosions all the time are grasped and held up for us to view in her magnificent work.

—John Ashbery

[Mayer] writes as if everything were still possible in the work of a lifetime at the coincidence of all the turvy moments.

Clark Coolidge

Bernadette Mayer is a poet of extraordinary inventiveness, erotic energy and challenge, and ironic intelligence.

—Michael Palmer

Bernadette Mayer is an independent experimental writer who likes to bounce artballs off traditional walls.

—Jackson Mac Low

The richness of life and time as they happen to us in tiny explosions all the time are grasped and held up for us to view in this magnificent work of prose and poetry that teaches us at the end ‘no one knows why / Nothing happens.’

—John Ashbery
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