Scarlet Tanager (Paperback)
New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811215824, 117pp.
Publication Date: June 1, 2005
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.