Friday, November 02, 2007

James Sherry reviews
The Grand Piano Project
Part 3
San Francisco, 1975–80

Jacket 34 — October 2007
Language Poetry by the Bay
[wood s lot]

Steve himself deplores his self-consciousness, even though his work is himself. The essay is quite difficult, and it must have been hard to write such an open book. “Did I not know how to play?.... What was I seeking in its place? Responsibility? The ability to respond, to integrate reaction and reflection in resolve, in action — I figured maybe it was that.” Remember this was written in the 70s when action was widely considered an ethical question. He haunts bars seeking lovers, but what is his goal? “Is there anyone here who would like to be me? As if my goal were to discover someone to embody this role, about whom I could fantasize afterward.” His progression into relationships with men embodies the traditional poet’s tendency to see the world like or even as the self.