about tuumba

What's Your Idea of a Good Time?
Bill Berkson & Bernadette Mayer
225 pages
ISBN 1-931157-08-1


Between 1977 and 1985, Bill Berkson and Bernadette Mayer interviewed each other on a range of topics. Collected here for the first time, the resulting documents, along with accompanying letters, are variously celebratory, flirtatious, investigative, experimental, and probing. This volume offers a collaborative portrait of two major American writers in action.

Bill Berkson was born in New York in 1939. His recent books of poetry include Fugue State, Hymns of St. Bridget & Other Writings with Frank O'Hara, Gloria (in a deluxe limited edition with etchings by Alex Katz), and an online chapbook entitled Same Here (, issue 11). A collection of his criticism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings: 1985-2003, appeared in 2004. Berkson was the 2006 Distinguished Mellon Lecturer at the Skowhegan School of Art. He lives in San Francisco, where he has been professor of Liberal Arts at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1984.

Bernadette Mayer was born in 1945 in Brooklyn. She is the author of numerous volumes of both poetry and prose, the most recent of which are Scarlet Tanager and the re-issue of her "epic of daily life," Midwinter Day. Other key works by Mayer include Studying Hunger, The Golden Book of Words, and The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters. From 1967-69, with Vito Acconci, she edited the journal 0-9, and subsequently, with Lewis Warsh, she was the editor of United Artists. Throughout the 1980s, she was the Director of the Poetry Project in New York City and she ha taught there and at the New School. She currently lives in upstate New York.