What seems to be the case about our collective time: either
a mental breakdown or a mental breakthrough is about to occur... The project
for the poet is to lead us toward the latter, to stake everything on the
potential for transformation in all that is terrifying now... Disassociation
between mind and body, between world and self... These have to be studied
and articulated by the poet. it is her assignment. Few take it on, but
in this volume, Jean Day has, and wholeheartedly.
Against "the great rhetoric of the power lords," Jean Day employs
an intimate, elliptical style that uncovers startling new spaces, right
here on urban earth. "I don't speak for everyone/ but for the brave
and curious/ alien," she writes, moving in and out of the crowd with
a kind of wise-acre puritanism. It is her pleasure to tease meaning out
from under the sheets of being a person. In a refracted account of a sojourn
in Russia with native and fellow traveling poets, she locates a sense
of the irrational that is neither out-of-control nor self-destructive,
but generative, flashing possibility. The title poem is more like musical
mind tunes. The life of these poems has only begun. They will surprise
us far into the future.
Sixty years ago, Stein in Paris could write of Oaklad, California, "There
is no there there" and--wit, smugness, and anxiety aside--mean something
that pointed steadily to her own writing. Today, "If here isn't here,
then where is it?" is a question anyone could ask. How to write out
of that spot is a next question.
The I and the You was written in Oakland and is a detailed answer.
Jean Day's subjects are love, sex, work, and philosophy's absentminded
affair with gender. Her writing is quick, skeptical, and passionate enough
to stay on the scent of a life present to itself in particular, with the
current world for economy.