Bernadette Mayer was born on May 12, 1945, in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BA from the New School for Social Research in 1967.
She is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including: Eating the Colors of a Lineup of Words: The Early Books of Bernadette Mayer (Station Hill Press, 2015), Poetry State Forest (New Directions, 2008), Scarlet Tanager (New Directions, 2005), Two Haloed Mourners (Granary Books, 1998), Proper Name and Other Stories (New Directions, 1996), The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (Hard Press Editions, 1994), The Bernadette Mayer Reader (New Directions, 1992), Sonnets (Tender Buttons Press, 1989), Midwinter Day (New Directions, 1982), The Golden Book of Words (Angel Hair Books, 1978), and Ceremony Latin (Angel Hair Books, 1964).
From 1967 to 1969, Mayer and conceptual artist Vito Acconci edited the journal 0 TO 9. She received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979. With her husband, writer and publisher Lewis Warsh, she edited United Artists Press. She has taught writing workshops at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in New York City for many years and she served as the Poetry Project's director during the 1980s. Bernadette Mayer lives in East Nassau, New York.