Bernadette Mayer Folio: Agitate Against Delimitations
Last year I curated and constructed a collaborative, hand-sewn, one-of-a-kind book for Bernadette Mayer, with submissions from artists/writers around the country. This effort, and the gift that came to fruition, led us to conceptualize this larger folio of work in Issue 14 of Drunken Boat.
Mayer’s writing experiments, from the 1970s to the present, challenge artists to change the world. We sought art and writing that responded to this notion and/or to Bernadette Mayer.
We are particularly delighted to host selections from the iconic magazine 0-9, reprinted with permission from Ugly Duckling Press. In addition, we host facsimiles from Ceremony Latin by way of the online archive Eclipse. We link to Bernadette Mayer’s 1978 and 1989 workshop, reading and lecture from Naropa’s Poetics Audio Archives. And we are thrilled to feature video and accompanying text of the Poets Roundtable in April, 2011 with CA Conrad, Brenda Coultas, and Dorothea Lasky as part of the Modes of Love and Reason: A Bernadette Mayer Symposium at University of Buffalo.
Sandra Doller’s sound experiments in Memory of the Prose Machine are not to be missed for their kinship with Mayer’s experiments in movement and time, such as Memory and the recently republished Studying Hunger Journals (Station Hill Press 2011). The New Intellectual— collaboration by Lee Ann Brown and Kara Thomas, is dedicated to Bernadette Mayer and documents an ephemeral handmade book project. Art pieces by John Sparrow, Jim Manning/Pat Leonard/Brash, Kathryn Cowles, and Emily Severence are no less compelling.
In addition to these special selections, we have nonfiction and essay pieces from Laynie Browne, Michael Ruby, Renee E. D’Aoust, and Jon Rutzmoser.
A variety of poetry manifestations are found in this folio too by the following writers who, as Lee Ann Brown said of the Buffalo symposium give us “an even wider sense of Bernadette’s arc”: Steven Alvarez, Micah Ballard, James Belfower, Cara Benson, Lee Ann Brown, Laynie Browne, Louis Bury, Melissa Capozzi, Christophe Casamassima, Colie Collen, Stephen Cope, Valerie Coultan, Steve Dalachinsky, Catherine Daly, JenMarie Davis, Derrick Stacey Denholm, Anna Eyre, Susana Gardner, Philip Good, Emari DiGiorgio, Michael Tod Edgarton, Vernon Frazer, Adam Golaski, Nicholas Grider, Joseph Hall, Chad Hardy, Joan Harvey, R. Joyce Heon, Christine Herzer, Janis Butler Holm, Robert Karimi, Jennifer Karmin, Matthew Klane, Meg Matich, Bernadette Mayer, Soham Patel, Sarah Rosenthal, Michael Ruby, Kate Schapira, Michael Schiavo, Ed Smallfield, Eleanor Smith Tipton, Gene Tanta, Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, James Valvis, Stephen Webber, Nicholas YB Wong, and Changming Yuan.
Disturbing political forces call for new artistic and poetic creation as much as for new philosophical or theoretical discourse. Artful expression that is aware of the ways in which knowledge is produced can be fruitful in negotiating human experience. Understanding art, sound, narrative and language as impulses rather than categories provides a lens not only through which to look at Mayer’s work but to these contributors’ pieces and our ability to shake things up, to reshape experience, to reach towards “changing the world.”
Maggie Nelson, in her book on women and the New York school, writes of Mayer’s work and the way in which it “agitates against delimitations.”1 Here we revel in such agitation.
Deborah Marie Poe
1 Nelson, Maggie. Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions, pp. 103. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007. Print.