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Milkweed Smithereens - Bernadette Mayer

Milkweed Smithereens - Bernadette Mayer

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Milkweed Smithereens gathers a career-spanning bouquet of poems by the inimitable Bernadette Mayer. These wickedly smart and intimate works range from brand-new poems, pastiches, epigrams, and excerpts from her new prose poems The Covid Diary and The Second World of Nature, to early sonnets found in the UC San Diego archive. This lively mix, as Publishers Weekly put it,  ”reveals Mayer's unique sense making, voice, and style.” The world of nature and the pandemic loom large, as in ”The Lobelias of Fear”:

but how will we, still alive, socialize
in the winter? wrapped in bear skins
we'll sit around pot-bellied stoves eating
the lobelias of fear left over from desperation
last summer's woodland sunflowers and bee balm
remind us of black cherry eaten in a hurry
while the yard grows in the moonlight
shrinking like a salary ...

”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 her magnificent work.
–– John Ashbery

”Mayer writes the kind of nonsense that makes sense, and sense that is nonsense: I can't think of a better catering device in these topsy-turvy times.
–– Daniel Wenger, The New Yorker

”Bernadette Mayer is one of the most original writers of her generation. All her work is full of brilliant observation, humorous and sometimes astounding conclusions, and amazing juxtapositions inspired by linguistic associations, patterns of movement, chance, mathematics, whim, and imagination.
–– Michael Lally,
The Washington Post

”As an offering of selected works removed from all context, Mayer ’s newest poetry collection reads like a glimpse into a vivacious mind rankled by incessant stillness and external distractions... Bracing and carnal, Mayer provides an idiosyncratic way to acknowledge changes in contemporary consciousness while framing her work in a new and dynamic light.
–– J. Howard Rosier, Vulture

Bernadette Mayer was born in Brooklyn in 1945. A most prolific poet, she published her first book when she was twenty-three years old. For many years Mayer lived and worked on Manhattan's Lower East Side. She was the director of the St. Mark's Poetry Project from 1980 to 1984. Now, many poems later, Mayer continues to write progressive poetry from her home in East Nassau, NY. Robert Creeley called her ”a consummate poet,” and Michael Palmer has hailed her ”extraordinary inventiveness, erotic energy and challenge, and ironic intelligence.

Published by New Directions, 2022
Cover design by Tyler Comrie
Paperbook, 85 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8112-2922-7
15,3 x 23 cm

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