Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009




MAYER, Gerda

A Heartache of Grass



Original Cover Price:



Poems by Gerda Mayer


Gerda Mayer was born in 1927 in Karlsbad, Czechoslovakia, and came to England in 1939. She was educated at Bedford College, University of London. A Heartache of Grass is Gerda Mayer’s first Peterloo volume. Earlier publications include two volumes of poetry for children: The Knockabout Show (Chatto & Windus, 1978) and, shared with Norman Nicholson and Frank Flynn, The Candy-Floss Tree (Oxford University Press, 1984). Her main, previous volume of poetry for adults (still in print) was Monkey On The Analyst’s Couch (Ceolfrith Press, 1980), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

From reviews of Gerda Mayer’s earlier volumes:

“Gerda Mayer’s poems have that direct simplicity of approach that gives them an air of timelessness, something of the atmosphere of the folk tale . . . a superb talent and Gerda Mayer’s own.”
John Cotton / Contemporary Poets (Macmillan, 1980)

“. . . original and enigmatic . . . Gerda Mayer is full of wicked humour and nearly imagistic lyricism.”
George Szirtes / The Literary Review

“She is a genuine aphorist, and far truer to the human spirit than most manufacturers of haiku . . . her poems of everyday disenchantment are deepened by a powerful bitterness. She is funny but never a stand-up comedian. Like Stevie Smith she writes children’s rhymes for grown-ups.”
Peter Porter / The Observer

“. . . cool, witty, sometimes on the edge of nursery rhyme . . . and often on very big subjects . . . beautifully effective.”
Laurence Lerner / Encounter


Poetry Doesn’t Move

Poetry doesn’t move – not at tenpence
and not at one penny: but the gold-lettered bookmarks
donated by Stan are selling well.

Yesterday all was sunshine on the old
manor-house lawn. The Community Centre’s annual Do
is, today, ill-feted. We bring plastic sheeting in case . . .

The art is insipid, the Pottery rather rough,
The Flowers (arranged) are gasping. O Rose, thou art sick!
Have we seen the Soft Toys on the other side of the lawn?

I buy one, a copydexed pretty with daffodil hair,
and muse the comparative use of verses and dolls.
Will my words wash? Will they last? Will they at least
give someone ephemeral pleasure? The sky is all mildew and
It drizzles. The wind flicks the leaves . . .


Price 3.95 per copy post free
Cover Poem: The Poet Reclining (Marc Chagall, 1915) by Gerda Mayer
Publication: December 1988 (48 pages laminated paperback)