Thursday December 20, 2012

LENOX -- When Matthew Tannenbaum, owner of The Bookstore in Lenox, found out that Bernadette Mayer was free for a reading of "Midwinter Day" a collection of poems about a day in the 1970s, he said there was really only one place to read her work: in the town in which the prose was written, in Lenox.

The book chronicles her experiences on Dec. 22, 1978, moves through the day in details of what happened near 100 Main St., just down the street from Tannenbaum's store.

"She did for Lenox what Joyce did for Dublin," Tannenbaum said.

What: Bernadette Mayer from her classic ‘Midwinter Day,' a book-length poem describing a single day in Lenox -- Dec. 22, 1978, and Peter Gizzi will read from ‘Threshold Songs,' just out in paperback

When: Tonight at 7

Where: The Bookstore, 11 Housatonic St., Lenox

Admission: Free

Information: (413) 637-3390, bookstoreinlenox.org

Her work blends the nature of the universe with domestic details with captivating beauty, he said.

"A shadow of ice exchanges the color of light / love's figure to begin the absent night. ..."

Mayer, a critically acclaimed author, photographer, and most notably a poet, in the New York school, has published poetry and prose collections for more than 40 years.


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She has spent most of her life in New York City -- but 35 years ago, she and her husband spent a winter in the Berkshires.

On a quiet and lonely mid-winter day here, she reflected on a time in "stream of consciousness, one of her favorite methods," Tannenbaum said.

She and her friend the local poet Peter Gizzi, will read new work at The Bookstore at 7 tonight, and Tannenbaum couldn't be happier.

"They're both amazing writers that just seem to know how to draw audiences in," he said. "People show up to listen to them read like they did when (Allen) Ginsberg would perform back in the 1960s."

Gizzi, a literary professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has just finished his latest collection, "Threshold Songs," which juxtaposes a "transcendental vision of the world filled with mystical New England perspective" and his grief at the loss of loved ones.

Recently Gizzi's mother, older brother Michael, and a dear friend all died, and his poems are filled with the thresholds that people stand on both literally and figuratively, Tannenbaum said.

During the reading Peter's brother, Tom Gizzi, will provide guitar interludes, as he does in most of Peter's live performances, Tannenbaum said.

"We're extremely lucky to have them here," he said. "The two friends always put on a wonderful show."