The idea of “canon” is appalling to Bernadette Mayer—
a club she would not enter alone without her students, comrades and contemporaries; she credits this piece of writing, Experiments, as “written with her St. Mark’s Poetry Project Workshop.” This piece of writing which performs in so many directions: as pragmatic muse, as granting of permission, as Ars Poetica about not “what is poetry,” but literally “what poetry can be”—which says it all about Mayer’s Poetics. Mayer’s poetics include just about everything (and radically well or better at that), but I’ll mention here poetry as communal practice: the poetry of dialogue whose daily place in the wordplay of society means everything to all of us. In Experiments, Mayer opens the door to generativity in the most democratic of manners. And how expansive and resonant the conversation! What a terrific symbol of our era!