Bernadette Mayer’s «Midwinter Day»: Dream of the («Extra»)Ordinary. 1. Imagining her self or, more specifically, how words have the power to give texture and. Midwinter Day [Bernadette Mayer] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Perhaps Bernadette Mayer’s greatest work, Midwinter Day was written. I had an idea to write a book that would prove the day like the dream has everything in it.” — Bernadette Mayer, Midwinter Day Today marks.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer. Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer. Midwinter Day ,” as Alice Notley noted, “is an epic poem about a dday routine.

Paperbackpages. Published May 1st by New Directions first published June 28th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other bernadettte questions about Midwinter Dayplease sign up.

Midwinter Day

Lists with This Book. Jan 01, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog. A long poem about a short day, Mayer’s six-part work purports to bernnadette the daily routine of the woman writer raising children. Mayer herself has claimed to have written the poem in a single day, the day the poem maye place on, and the poem often references the conditions of its composition. But Midwinter Day’s claim to spontaneity, to recording life simply as it is, is transparently eay epic revels in art My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, midwinnter be found on my blog.

But Midwinter Day’s claim to spontaneity, to recording life simply as it is, is transparently artful—the epic revels in artifice and cleverness. Prose alternates with verse; ambiguous syntax breeds a multiplicity of meaning; affected rhymes pepper the poem; allusions on the midwiter of both form and content occur frequently; bizarre formatting choices abound. For all of the poem’s ingenuity, though, Mayer does remain invested in the concept of poetry as sincere expression, even if she recognizes it to be an unattainable ideal.

With her hyper-autobiographical subject matter and her painstaking attention to detail, Mayer attempts to capture the experience of daily life in her poem, without destroying it.

Midwinter Day [Excerpt] by Bernadette Mayer – Poems |

Midwinter Day might be viewed, then, not as the attempt to chronicle life but as the self-conscious probing of what it means to write about the everyday or stake a claim to sincerity, as a woman poet. View all 4 comments. Dec 23, Jimmy rated it it was amazing Shelves: My Review, as poem: We were a ‘literary movement’ consisting midwintsr of University of Arizona poetry MFA students, but also some outliers like me.

We didn’t exactly have a ‘philosophy’ or a manifesto or anything, but we did have a sort of general attitude, which I’m not sure we ever spelled out.

Guiding principles if you will. First, we were light-hearted, didn’t maer ourselves too seriously but in a good way, not a self demeaning way. Secondly, we liked to write about animals thus the name. Third, we tried to push ourselves with various constraints, challenges, etc. One of our constraints was we wanted to write a book of poems in one day.

This idea came to us from the book Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer, which apparently she wrote entirely on December 22, We did this relay style, for a week. The first poet would write for a day and we had several things each poet had to do in the course of the day, to add to the challenge, like visiting the zoo, or visiting one of the other ZooPo poetsand we had a baton that the poet would pass on to the next poet at the designated hour, whereupon the next poet will try to write a book of poems in the next 24 hours.


At the time Midwinter Day was just a concept to me, and I maeyr a book that was more accomplished as ours, but still an experiment, so having many of the flaws that our books did. Well, yesterday I read this book and it is no longer a concept to me. Instead it is a brilliant long poem, probably one of the best ones I’ve read.

Reading it now, it seems to me the written-in-one-day thing is much less of a big deal than the actual poem. In fact, I doubt it was written in one day it took me all day just to read it, it is pages long. But I feel like that’s really not the point. The point is that it is about one day, from waking up from dreams to going to the post office, to lunch, dinner, putting the kids to sleep, and back to sleep and dreams. It continues the tradition mayre books like Ulysses the poem has the same first word “Stately” and Mrs.

Dalloway, but blends it with the personal and the poetic. Like Ulysses, each of its six parts is written in a slightly different style. And like others who try to contain everything in a day, it seems Whitmanian in its need to mideinter everything at times, but that categorization is musical. Some may find these sections boring, but I feel they are extremely important, and enjoyable if read aloud. What day does not have its trivial prosaic moments? But most of this is soaring with great lines.

Review – Bernadette Mayer, ‘Midwinter Day’ – third year poetry project

This is from the first section which is mostly about waking up from dreams: Now that our days Are full of normal parts It seems we have all lived forever so far Eyes open, eyes closed, half-open, one eye open One closed to the coming day, past’s insistence, Dream’s vivid presence, no one knows why Though you can see all I say with half an eye I always have an eye to fascination, you catch my eye This meditation Not on sleep but on awakening With dreams with everything quickening, you and I Survive this work and rest, not so much lost, We only seem to dream as quickly as we live One for the other to make up time And it’s as if Today I had someone else’s dreams Everything’s the reverse of what it seems Typing this out I noticed how the poem works so much better as a whole, pulling out sections or lines does not do it justice as it reflects upon itself and doubles back on its own themes time and time again to create this wonderful effect.

This poem is also often funny and playful. At least to me. In little ways that make me smile. In ways that don’t come through in excerpts. Look at this, see, you do, which one are you.

The book is said to be a duck. The color wheel reflecting you hiding, the bus, empty green swing for people, smiling tiger nothingness puzzle, empty-eyed monkey mask right there, battered stolen musical egg, look, bright old playgroup radio playing raindrops and so on, there’s something about a thermometer you wouldn’t understand yet, silly identical grounded queen bees, you put things into things now, you empty cups and trucks on your own articulating oh and no the same, grabbing for the fifteenth-century Dutch woman who looks chiding, that’s why I put her up, that polar bear won’t go into that nesting cup.

So many more great sections. I can’t share them all, or do them justice in little pieces, but here’s part of the end of section 5: I know you speak And are as suddenly forgiven, It’s the consequence of love’s having no cause Then we wonder what we can say I can say I turn formally to love to spend the day, To you to form the night as what I know, An image of love allows what I can’t say, Sun’s lost in the window and love is below Love is the same and does not keep that name I keep that name and I am not the same A shadow of ice exchanges the color of light, Love’s figure to begin the absent night.


View all 5 comments. Oct 29, kaelan rated it really liked it Shelves: Superficially speaking, Midwinter Day is almost everything I hate about contemporary poetry: Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Bernadette Mayer’s syntactically-scrambled sentences, when read a little more closely, have a tendency for exploding outwards in waves of heavy, focused meaning.

Perhaps the comparison’s a slight stretch, but it’s kind of like how you can midwjnter almost any part of a Milton epic and subject it to microscopic analysis, uncovering something new and interesting in the process. Nevertheless, it’s not all readerly roses. For Midwinter Day is long. Long to the tune of pages. And for certain neural-physiological reasons no doubtit remains a fact that close reading is impossible to sustain over prolonged stretchs bernasette time. Yet unlike Paradise LostMayer’s poem is not a whole lot of fun to read when you’re taking it in on a purely aesthetic-level.

That is, provided you’re the kind of person who reads Paradise Lost for aesthetic pleasures. But if you are, you’re probably also the kind of person who could get something out of this poem.

And if I can’t find a system to understand something, but it fascinates me, I keep listening to or watching it [or reading it] in order to understand.

Often, after a year or so, it becomes one of my favourite midwinetr. And it’s why I plan on someday returning to this strange, tedious and perplexing work of poetry. Berndette thirty-six years later, I decided to re read the poem under comparable maeyr. It had been about a year since I first trudged my way through Mayer’s long poem, and yet I found that my general impressions hadn’t changed much. It still struck me as esoteric, sporadically lyrical, and at times quite trying on the ol’ attention span.

But I also found that I had a greater appreciation for Mayer’s overall project—of creating an epic about domesticity and routine. And this is perhaps what makes Midwinter Day so bernadete attractive and alienating: For even though I’m a bespectacled young atheist from the 21th century, Modwinter fancy that I can on some level relate to the puffed-up masculinity of Homer, the imaginative theology of Milton.

But tantrums, grocery bills, daycare—even bernarette I can identify with such things, it still feels somehow wrong to immortalize them in poetry Yet that’s precisely the point, isn’t it? As I read through Midwinter Day for the second time, I began to realize miewinter my own approach to literature was founded upon untried assumptions, that it was steeped in ideology.

Poetry—I always used to tell people—took you outside of yourself. For me, Midwinter Day did just that, and the result was profoundly unsettling. Dec 15, Mark Desrosiers rated it did not like it Shelves: A calm sentence like a story. I used to know a man who had a dog and I followed their steps in the snow, I got into the habit of walking just as far as they did every day.

At the same time I also knew a woman whose husband had seven guns. I used to know a woman who’s the woman who married Neil Simon. I like the woman who used to work in the Lenox market, she never wears boots, then she retired I can’t go on.

I know Mayer’s heart was in the right place — and I’ll probably receive a Christmas l Midwintee calm sentence like a story. I know Mayer’s heart was in the right place — and I’ll probably receive a Christmas lump of coal for pointing this out — but this is one long droning proto-yuppie diary entry utterly devoid of mystery, music, strangeness, or ambiguity.

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