Abstract

Abstract:

Lyn Hejinian’s My Life and Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day both articulate a domestic quotidian devoted to what Rita Felski in Doing Time calls “the repetitive tasks of social reproduction.” Mindful of the over-determined relationship between gender and the everyday, Hejinian and Mayer use the long poem to convey the elusive quotidian while engaging with its gendered associations. The exhaustive inclusions of Mayer’s “day” and the unexpected selections and juxtapositions of Hejinian’s “life” both use metonymy to represent a subversive poetics of the detail. Specifically, Hejinian reverses background and foreground, repeats phrases with shifting emphasis as analogue for the habits of everyday life, and defamiliarizes metonymic selection to render it visible. Mayer, in contrast, tests the long poem’s capacity for radical inclusiveness and traces metonymic connections between daily routines and larger social issues. Ultimately, My Life and Midwinter Day both assert the co-existence and indeed the interconnectedness of intellectual inquiry and the domestic work of cooking, cleaning, and care.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 42-64
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-22
Open Access
No
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