Bernadtte Mayer

Help Support Bernadette Mayer

Bernadette Mayer, one of the great American poets who has inspired and guided many writers over the years, needs our help. The Poetry Project has put together a fundraiser to support the beloved poet, teacher, and former Poetry Project director as she is treated for and recovers from pancreatic cancer.

This summer, Bernadette’s friends and family began planning a fundraiser to support her ongoing work as a poet and teacher and prepare for her retirement. A major goal of this initial effort was to raise funds to make some desperately needed repairs on the house that Bernadette and her partner, Phil Good, share in upstate New York. This house, and the surrounding woods known as the Poetry State Forest, has served as the site of many poetry workshops, readings, and gatherings and provided a library and home for various visiting writers and artists for over twenty years; these repairs would ensure that the house would continue to be a comfortable home as well as a place to welcome poets and others in the future. In early October, just as friends and supporters were getting ready to launch, Bernadette was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Bernadette is doing well and her doctors are currently working on a treatment plan, which will likely involve surgery and other treatments.


Bernadette Mayer Needs Our Help


While efforts are now focused on supporting Bernadette and Phil as she goes through treatment and recovery, they are also continuing to assess the long-term goals to meet their material needs and to repair the aging infrastructure of their home.

Please join us in honoring and celebrating Bernadette’s contributions to poetry and the arts by supporting her and her partner Phil during this challenging time. Funds are being received by the Committee on Poetry, with more information here.



This current fundraising effort will cover expenses for the next 6 months of recovery, going towards: making up lost wages, additional medical expenses not covered by insurance, urgent house repairs, and supporting the general comfort and well-being of Bernadette and Phil as they navigate this health situation. Any additional funds will go towards house repairs and the preservation of the house as a place for workshops, readings, and other gatherings into the future. A more targeted fundraising campaign for the house that identifies specific needs and projects will be announced soon. The ultimate fundraising goal is $100,000.


Other Ways to Help

Midwinter Day Reading, Saturday, December 18

For the past several years, people have gathered all over the country and even the world to read Bernadette’s classic text, Midwinter Day. This year’s reading will be coordinated with these fundraising efforts. St. Roccos is hoping to get a massive showing of support for Bernadette. If you are interested in tuning into this reading, please contact

Click here for information and to register for the Midwinter Day reading.


Write to Bernadette

Bernadette and her family appreciate your concern about her health and well-being. She has requested that people do not call her to check in. She would, however, love to hear from you in print.

You can send letters or cards to her at 53 Tsatsawassa Lake Road, East Nassau, NY 12062 or email a message to


Subscribe to the Newsletter

Finally, please subscribe to the Friends of Bernadette Mayer Newsletter for updates on fundraising efforts and Bernadette’s work.