The Grand Piano




The Grand Piano is a collaborative autobiography by ten poets. Centered on the rise of Language poetry in San Francisco in the second half of the 1970s, the project explores a wide range of issues in poetics and the lives of poets — then and now.


The Grand Piano was written over a decade of close collaboration by Rae Armantrout, Steve Benson, Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian, Tom Mandel, Ted Pearson, Bob Perelman, Kit Robinson, Ron Silliman, and Barrett Watten. An eleventh pianist, Alan Bernheimer, took the lead in organizing project documentation.



Carla Harryman begins:

Drift à deux

An overview. Would be a contradiction for writing everyday life. Works such as La Quotidienne: An Atmospheric Play and The Middle reflect a preoccupation with the concept “everyday life” that includes a reading of the world as a text layered into the reading and writings of “works.” Or “plays,” and I don’t just mean plays for the theater, although those too, but as in “making plays” in poker or athletics or love or friendship or philosophy or words or politics or social existence and as a complement or challenge to works, with their serious sense of labor and quasi-permanence, against which play(s) may seem connected to some feminine impossibility ludi-city impermanence immensity extending sentences ludicrously lengthily. If we slide from the space of labor to a poly-ground of activity, then we let seriousness come in when she feels like it without taking over the game.



Grand Piano Site:

Steve Benson:

Tom Mandel:

Bob Perelman:

Ron Silliman:

Barret Watten: