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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Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer

Mayed an attempt to write down every thought she has in a single day, Bernadette ends up getting sidetracked down different alleys of memory and belief, her personal life intrudes on the purity of her mental life, and the two blend together into a sort of philosophical soup. Email required Address never made public.

This is a telling line as the poem itself is working under a time constraint and within that constraint it reveals how much of the time of the day is devoted to other activities besides writing.

By referring to an everyday-life aesthetic, I mean the broad turn away from the extraordinary, the exotic, or the heroic towards the mundane, the small, and the ordinary that has often been hailed as a central feature of twentieth-century literature and art: No mother is an island, and no poet-mother must write as if her experience raising children removes her from politics, history, and culture. For Mayer, every element of a day can become fodder for a self-assigned research project: Smashing the confines of the short lyric poem, Midwinter Day features a dizzying variety of forms, moving from disjunctive free verse, to strangely antiquated rhymed quatrains, to long-lined stanzas, to rambling prose paragraphs, and back again to poetry—with different sections of the poem and of the day corresponding to different poetic modes.


As I read through Midwinter Day for the second time, I began to realize that my own approach to literature was founded upon untried assumptions, that it was steeped in ideology.

Midwinter Day [Excerpt]

The Anxiety of Influence: It is midwintrr poem of a mid-winter’s day in the life of a 70’s poet with two children and a husband – also a poet. From the bedroom, curtains blue as ink I stare at, red Godard floor white walls all crayoned, from the bed raised on cinder blocks at Dr.

Instead of choosing one form in favor of another, Mayer is consistent in her attempt to include say. Death is always present in the poem running parallel to the fading of the light on this short day.

In fact, I doubt it was written in one day it took me all day just to read it, it is pages long. Her aim is to capture the basic details of life. 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 berrnadette routine.

We visit a market,a library, a town squared. Just as the poem explores different forms to capture memory in words, Mayer herself employs various methods for capturing the mind at work. Jul 12, Avishay Artsy rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: But tantrums, grocery bills, daycare—even if I can identify with such things, it still feels somehow wrong to immortalize them in poetry Did a review of this book here: Capturing the basic and the ordinary becomes the essence of her poetry.

Poetry—I always used to tell people—took you outside of yourself. The family survives the long night, and Mayer stays awake literally stoking the fire with her pen and her endless memories that she lays out to keep kidwinter dark at bay. Reading it now, it seems to me the written-in-one-day thing is much less of a big deal than the actual poem. The eye of the narrator telescopes outward from the detail of seeing the family unit poised on the threshold of their doorstep to a mapping of the small town in all directions: A Union of the Senses.


The entire poem is a metaphor for a house with no doors or a day that exists outside of time, frozen where death cannot find the family that Mayer has immortalized with her words. Well, yesterday I read this book and it is no longer a concept to me. Leaving Lines of Gender: Fill in your daay below or click an icon to log in: The metaphor is that writing is a game that through the use of memory can somehow be played to ward off death.

Midwinter Day

mayet At the time Midwinter Day was just a concept to me, and I imagined a book that was more accomplished as ours, but still an midwintwr, so having many of the flaws that our books did.

She presents the everyday as the paradox it so often is, warts and all—the mix of repetition and change, the clutter, the chaos, the interruptions and burdens, as well as the delights and pleasures. I’m not sure if this makes the work more meaningful since the reason for its existance has become more explicit, or less meaningful since part of its mystique has been deconstructed.

The importance of mdiwinter parallels the motion of the story; the light is short and therefore there is a representation of the events of the day recorded in these bursts of prose: