Editor: Becca Klaver
Publisher: Black Lawrence Press (2022)
On December 22, 2018, the 40th anniversary of Bernadette Mayer's writing of Midwinter Day, 32 women poets typed into Google Docs titled Dreams, Morning, Noontime, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. Following the six-part structure of Mayer's book, they composed alongside each other all day, dozens of cursors blinking in a virtual happening. Midwinter Constellation is the result. Part patchwork quilt, part collective consciousness, the book hopes "to prove the day like the dream has everything in it," as Mayer wrote in 1978, and to extend her vision into a global 21st-century everyday.
A radical experiment in collective writing, the book embroiders, echoes, and blurs the voices of poets across the U.S. and beyond. They wake up in bed together and spend the day writing while nursing babies, grading papers, driving home for the holidays, making meals, and gathering in bookstores and living rooms to read Midwinter Day aloud. While threads of identity can be traced through the repeated names of children, highways, books, and pets, Midwinter Constellation declines to identify who's speaking when, exceeding the territory of authorship and rejecting the illusion that we are separate.
Midwinter Constellation was written by Stephanie Anderson, Hanna Andrews, Julia Bloch, Susan Briante, Lee Ann Brown, Laynie Browne, Shanna Compton, Mel Coyle, Marisa Crawford, Vanessa Jimenez Gabb, Arielle Greenberg, Jenny Gropp, Stefania Heim, MC Hyland, erica kaufman, Becca Klaver, Caolan Madden, Pattie McCarthy, Monica McClure, Jenn Marie Nunes, Danielle Pafunda, Maryam Ivette Parhizkar, Khadijah Queen, Linda Russo, Katie Jean Shinkle, Evie Shockley, Sara Jane Stoner, Dawn Sueoka, Bronwen Tate, Catherine Wagner, Elisabeth Workman, and Mia You.
"Challenging capitalism’s relationship to the world as one of objects for use or ownership, the collective of writers of Midwinter Constellation write in creative participation against forms of certainty, mastery, and possession. Boundaries collapse as new psychogeographies form in modes of response and reflection 'for history to be like food / On the table of the window'. A welcomed space of unruly measure. A constellation of meetings, wild and wonderful."
“'Bernadette Mayer is the mother of us all.' Overheard in Brooklyn. Midwinter Constellation, a luminous collaborative poem written on the 40th anniversary of Bernadette Mayer’s epic poem Midwinter Day, is a conversation between 32 women poets and the poet herself. This gathering of poet-daughters continues Mayer’s experiments with form and content to make a portrait of the possibilities of living within the shortest day of the year. Midwinter Constellation raises the bar of what can be written, captures the fullness, the sensuousness, even the tastiness of living with lovers and children."