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(12 Mayıs 1945, Brooklyn, New York) She received her B.A. from the New School for Social Research in 1967, shortly after which she began teaching there on a part-time, semi-permanent basis. From 1967-1969, Mayer and conceptual artist Vito Acconci edited the experimental journal 0 TO 9, which published work from experimentalists in a range of genres and media. In the early 1970s, Mayer lived with film-maker Ed Bowes, with whom she collaborated on numerous projects. In 1975, Mayer married writer and publisher Lewis Warsh, with whom she had three children. Warsh and Mayer collaboratively edited United Artists pres, which published a number of seminal books of poetry, including Ted Berrigan's SONNETS and Mayer's own UTOPIA.
Throughout the 1980s, Mayer was director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in New York where, as well as teaching writing workshops, she produced the Poetry Project's reading series. Mayer's position made her a central figure in the community of artists and writers gathered at that time in New York City's Lower East Side, and many of her students from this period -- Lee Ann Brown and Lisa Jarnot among them -- have gone on to become writers themselves. As a writer, Mayer is most often associated with the New York School, a rubric which refers to composers, painters, visual artists, conceptual artists, and choreographers in addition to writers. Mayer's use of compositional methods such as chance-operation, collage, and cut-up identify her as an artist pursuing concerns similar to those of John Cage, Jackson Mac Low or Frank O'Hara -- central figures in the New York School -- as well as more contemporary figures associated with L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writing. But Mayer's work is also significantly influenced by modernist figures such as James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, as well as by her background in classical studies, evident in her syllabi, reading lists and in her informal translations of Catallus.
- Story, New York: 0 to 9 Press, 1968.
- Moving, New York: Angel Hair, 1971.
- Memory, Plainfield, VT: North Atlantic Books, 1976.
- Ceremony Latin (1964), New York: Angel Hair, 1975.
- Studying Hunger, New York: Adventures in Poetry/ Bolinas, CA: Big Sky, 1976.
- Poetry, New York: Kulchur Foundation, 1976.
- Eruditio Ex Memoria, Lenox, MA: Angel Hair, 1977.
- The Golden Book of Words, Lenox, MA: Angel Hair, 1978.
- Midwinter Day, Berkeley, CA: Turtle Island Foundation, 1982.
- Utopia, New York: United Artists Books, 1984.
- Mutual Aid (Mademoiselle de la Mole Press, 1985)
- Sonnets, New York: Tender Buttons, 1989.
- The Formal Field of Kissing, New York: Catchword Papers, 1990.
- A Bernadette Mayer Reader, New York: New Directions, 1992.
- The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, West Stockbridge, MA: Hard Press, 1994.
- Another Smashed Pinecone, New York: United Artists Books, 1998.
- Proper Name & other stories, New York: New Directions, 1996.
- Two Haloed Mourners: Poems, New York: Granary Books, 1998.
- Midwinter Day, New York: New Directions, 1999 (reprint of 1982 edition).
- Scarlet Tanager, New York: New Directions, 2005.
- Poetry State Forest, New York: New Directions, 2008.