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Scarlett Tanager: Poetry

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New work from one of America's most original experimental poets. Comprised almost entirely of never-before-collected poems, Scarlet Tanager is Bernadette Mayer's first collection of new work in nearly a decade. Mayer, "one of the most original writers of her generation" (The Washington Post), has mixed together here delightful epigrams ("The Mammal Epigram": "Sexually / it's cute"), long-line fr(The New work from one of America's most original experimental poets. Comprised almost entirely of never-before-collected poems, Scarlet Tanager is Bernadette Mayer's first collection of new work in nearly a decade. Mayer, "one of the most original writers of her generation" (The Washington Post), has mixed together here delightful epigrams ("The Mammal Epigram": "Sexually / it's cute"), long-line free verse, and her astonishing sonnets. There are also curious translations of Mayer poems into joking, free-styling French, which are then re-translated back into English, landing somewhere extremely witty and quite some ways from the original. There is no one writing today who can touch Bernadette Mayer for sheer pleasure and throw-away brilliance.


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New work from one of America's most original experimental poets. Comprised almost entirely of never-before-collected poems, Scarlet Tanager is Bernadette Mayer's first collection of new work in nearly a decade. Mayer, "one of the most original writers of her generation" (The Washington Post), has mixed together here delightful epigrams ("The Mammal Epigram": "Sexually / it's cute"), long-line fr(The New work from one of America's most original experimental poets. Comprised almost entirely of never-before-collected poems, Scarlet Tanager is Bernadette Mayer's first collection of new work in nearly a decade. Mayer, "one of the most original writers of her generation" (The Washington Post), has mixed together here delightful epigrams ("The Mammal Epigram": "Sexually / it's cute"), long-line free verse, and her astonishing sonnets. There are also curious translations of Mayer poems into joking, free-styling French, which are then re-translated back into English, landing somewhere extremely witty and quite some ways from the original. There is no one writing today who can touch Bernadette Mayer for sheer pleasure and throw-away brilliance.

30 review for Scarlett Tanager: Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    An eclectic mix of experimental writings, witty epigrams, and inventive free-verse poems, Scarlet Tanager gathers together previously unpublished work avant-garde writer Bernadette Mayer has penned since the turn of the century. These pieces span a wide range of topics, from middle-class malaise to feminist ethics; few poems address the same subject, but there are some clusters that read as variations on a theme. At once chatty and introspective, Mayer marries the witty insouciance of the New York Scho An eclectic mix of experimental writings, witty epigrams, and inventive free-verse poems, Scarlet Tanager gathers together previously unpublished work avant-garde writer Bernadette Mayer has penned since the turn of the century. These pieces span a wide range of topics, from middle-class malaise to feminist ethics; few poems address the same subject, but there are some clusters that read as variations on a theme. At once chatty and introspective, Mayer marries the witty insouciance of the New York School poets with the self-consciousness of midcentury personal poets. The pairing is bizarre, but Mayer’s so talented that her poetry is consistently vibrant and pleasurable to read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    mwpm

    There are echoes of so many influences in Mayer's poetry. Among the influences, I detect traces of Richard Brautigan, Anne Carson, Gertrude Stein, and Ted Berrigan (among others). A sequence of poems, loosely connected, integrates references to maple syrup in a way that reminded me of the way Richard Brautigan integrates trout fishing into Trout Fishing in America ... syrup's up again day dawns gloomy but birds have found the feeder at last, march 22, 2003 of course there's a war bush says, the war is going well phil's tending the evaporator fire [...] - Maple Syrup Sonnet (pg. 27) the boys are playing frisbee and the females (sophie & me... There are echoes of so many influences in Mayer's poetry. Among the influences, I detect traces of Richard Brautigan, Anne Carson, Gertrude Stein, and Ted Berrigan (among others). A sequence of poems, loosely connected, integrates references to maple syrup in a way that reminded me of the way Richard Brautigan integrates trout fishing into Trout Fishing in America ... syrup's up again day dawns gloomy but birds have found the feeder at last, march 22, 2003 of course there's a war bush says, the war is going well phil's tending the evaporator fire [...] - Maple Syrup Sonnet (pg. 27) the boys are playing frisbee and the females (sophie & me) are climbing the tree of my trunks, sorting letters, non-letters, garbage, poems, etc in an attempt to find papers i need - Addendum to Maple Syrup Sonnet (pg. 28) phil is not the fire he is (not) the meaning of his name either except sometimes but soon we'll have - windy, clear, warm, hardly any snow left to harm us? who cares? - more syrup, it's not ecstatic [...] - Maple Syrup Again (pg. 31) or maybe not your said anyway we saw the condemned chaos that you will out in order, bravo! thanks for the maple syrup too [...] - Stargnoc Caz! (pg. 33) The poem "Large Craft Warnings", with it's use of repetition, elicits comparison to Gertrude Stein... Working entirely from a cup of water tossed in the air turned into a puff of snow endeavor has been added to a cup of water tossed in the air turned into a puff of snow [...] - Large Craft Warnings, collaboration with Miriam Solan (pg. 45) The poem "To Admiral Scott about Space", in its form rather than its content, elicits comparison to Anne Carson's red doc> . Unlike the other comparisons I have made, Scarlet Tanager was published first... BRIGHT CURRENTS LEAP the air. They come together surprisingly gently and shift direction to a swooping curve that heads off southward. Winged man and musk ox are parts of each other although not parts of a whole. G doesn't have time to wonder as he works his wings against the thickening air why Io is no longer falling toward him but planning steadily and horizontally above his back. . . . - Anne Carson (red doc>, pg. 139) Fractious glaciers, there is In it no mention of the rest Some of the stuff seemed his Oh God, the house was a mess - To Admiral Scott About Space (pg. 46) There are a number of poems that, while their content is seemingly simple their form and the form they take in the context of the collection, are reminiscent of Ted Berrigan, specifically The Sonnet... I wake up back aching from soft bed Pat gone to work Ron to class (I never heard a sound) it's my birthday. I put on birthday pants birthday shirt go to ADAM's buy a pepsi for breakfast come home drink it take a pill I'm high. I do three Greek lessons to make up for cutting class. I read birthday book (from Joe) on Juan Gris real name Jose Vittoriano Gonzales stop in the middle read all my poems gloat a little over new ballad quickly skip old sonnets imitations of Shakespeare. Back to books. I read poems by Auden Spenser Pound Stevens and Frank O'Hara. I hate books. I wonder if Jan or Helen or Babe ever thinks about me. I wonder if Dave Bearden still dislikes me. I wonder if people talk about me secretly. I wonder if I'm too old. I wonder if I'm fooling myself about pills. I wonder what's in the icebox. I wonder if Ron or Pat bought any toilet paper this morning - Ted Berrigan, Sonnet LXXVI Wake up from dream on July 9 1965, dream was erotic (can't remember what was in it), I think the woman was attempting to sit on her chair while lifting the man's wallet but then on the boat ride my hand got caught in the elevator door by the firecracker tossed in by a child who was a woman as missing as the coffee money, anyway I lost balance and, falling, woke up jerking off through the chair, another chair, was still falling on my foot, sorry. - Incidents Report Sonnet, for Grace (pg. 73) My favourite part of Scarlet Tanager was the sequence of "Epigrams", part of which incorporated descriptions of objects from the perspective of the objects... i am a hump-backed whale i am smarter than you are & always will be i am an uncaught house mouse i hid your chocolate-covered espresso beans in a drawer & then surprise! they spill onto all your clothing i also destroy your black velveteen overalls - from Epigrams (pg. 2 - 3) i am the hidden owl in the upper right hand corner of the american dollar bill i don't have i am a cockroach in a roach motel soon i'll be convicted for murder my name is louis anemone - from Epigrams (pg. 14) i am beef wellington you could have had me at the swiss restaurant on new year's eve with consomme celestine, but you didn't i am the small coke you got at loew's i was too sweet and it goes without saying much too expensive the movie was kundun. - from Epigrams (pg. 18) I'm the bottle of beer you emptied You drank to learn about love Nobody told me how crazy you'd get When you threw me to smash the jealous well When she walked in - from Laundry & School Epigrams (pg. 22) I am loud, I am the radio that plays "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head." The rain and the rainbow & the one sleeping with the frog are on me and the one sleeping with the other girls sharing yellow are on me. I was stolen from a playground in Massachusetts and I have lasted a long time. I have notes on me. - from Toy Epigrams (pg. 23) Difficult to read a poem like "To a Politician" and not think of the politicians from the era in which the poem was written (early 2000s). Read this poem and tell me you don't think of George W. Bush and Stephen Harper... Your penis is homeless You are covered with as many warts as the lies you've told You pat maggots on their backs Your syphilitic mouth sucks the slugs from the irradiated cocks of your cohorts This gives a bad name to syphilis, if I mention it in relation to you Your asshole farts from overeating of civilian casualties The toxic fingernails of your leprous hands Flip through the reports of your medievally botulistic bubonic policies Your brain is full of lice, tickling it with greed for pesticide-ish powder Cockroaches fill your pancreas with their eggs But this is an insult to cockroaches Your lungs fill with the blood of the dead Poisonous snakes of freedom crawl into your every orifice, bu to no avail Spiders come out of your nose Your heart is being pinched by Lyme-diseased tics, stung by killer bees, bitten bu the rattlesnake of prevarication First thing every morning your gangrenous arms embrace the rabid turds of your generals Your penis is the size of the junkie's needle Your nostrils resemble the assholes of cops It seems to us you convert farts into speeches Your disease-ridden mouth is full of the incurable sores of your lies Your petrified eyes eat the bulimic vomit of your violent words All words, all humans, insulted, disgusted, bu your depraved existence. - To a Politician (pg. 41)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jesse De Angelis

    The poems in this book were very interesting, and while I often found individual lines in the poems that I liked a lot, they never quite felt like they all came together. Part of that has to do with the fact that many of the poems in this collection seemed to be written in very different styles - I think that if I had more time to get acquainted with one of them before they switched I would have ended up getting more from the collection. I didn't realized this until after reading the book, but i The poems in this book were very interesting, and while I often found individual lines in the poems that I liked a lot, they never quite felt like they all came together. Part of that has to do with the fact that many of the poems in this collection seemed to be written in very different styles - I think that if I had more time to get acquainted with one of them before they switched I would have ended up getting more from the collection. I didn't realized this until after reading the book, but it seems to be made up of previously uncollected poems written over slightly more than a decade - it's like the poetry equivalent of a B-Sides and Rarities album, and like those, it's probably for fans only. I plan to read one of Mayer's other books soon, since I found a lot in this collection that was interesting, but I wouldn't recommend starting here for anyone else who's never read her before.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Bernadette Mayer writes funny, serious, innovative poems. It's inspiring. I can't say enough - I would love to study with her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ally

  6. 5 out of 5

    C

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tommy Jacobi

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trever Polak

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Ward

  12. 4 out of 5

    W.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Chin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael S.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carl

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laynie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Barnes

  19. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Piccinnini

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Duke

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Harvey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marcus

  25. 5 out of 5

    Scott Tschirhart

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate Sands

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Barton

  29. 4 out of 5

    gail

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

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