Jigs & Reels

Michael Stephens, Author Hanging Loose Press $18 (76p) ISBN 978-0-914610-85-4
This collection of short descriptions, reflections, daydreams and nightmares centers on the author's changing perceptions of a world in which he has become mature father and husband rather than youthful indulger of a New York writer's life. His forms and styles change with his mood as he focuses in turn on some detail like sheets on a laundry line or finds in a sharp kitchen knife an apt description of emotional betrayal. In remembering the places of his Brooklyn childhood or reviewing his family history in search of the whys and wherefores of who he has become, Stephens ( Lost in Seoul ) expresses disappointment that maturity does not necessarily bring much wisdom. Except for a few gripping passages, the author conveys little excitement about the world in which he lives. Youth's sublime moments, whether of anger or of beauty, grow toward a middle ground in which the most one can hope for is a clever rehashing of ideas and commitments that were less on the edge than had been anticipated. At best, Stephens uses his obvious talents with craft and language to offer an honest portrait of someone who no longer expects the world to offer new avenues of discovery, intensity or challenge. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Hardcover - 89 pages - 978-0-914610-86-1
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