Subversive and Elusive Steven Jesse Bernstein Seattle's Grunge Era Poet

"The angry pre-slam poet who helped invent Seattle culture."

-Gillian G. Gaar, Seattle Weekly





"Steven Jesse Bernstein was born in Los Angeles, California. He moved to Seattle, Washington in 1967 where he adopted the moniker Jesse, and began performing and self-publishing chapbooks of his poetry...Bernstein would become something of an icon to many in Seattle's underground music scene. Notable fans included Kurt Cobain and Oliver Stone."

- Subpop



Larry Reid, Steven Jesse Bernstein and Kathy Acker. May, 1989.

“It would be so easy to dismiss Jesse as a crank, as a peddler of the profane, but that’s a pretty shallow reading of things,” says Dave Rosencrans. “Jesse Bernstein is a pivotal and crucial figure in the development of the Seattle music scene at the moment that I think it will forever be the most famous for. So to me, it seems like a great opportunity to tell this person’s story and try to cement it in history.”

- Seattle Weekly



(Watch Trailer: I Am Secretly an Important Man)



'I Am Secretly an Important Man' is a portrait of writer and poet Steven J. Bernstein (aka Jesse Bernstein), one of Seattle's most celebrated and troubled voices. His angry, surprisingly fresh and lyrical writings are about sensitive souls, drifters and drug addicts; the people alienated by a society that refuses to understand them. Bernstein peels back the ugliness and the darkness of life on the fringe to expose tender and not so tender human feeling. His unique rhythms, filled with humor and pain, were especially exciting when read in his own gravely voice. Bernstein was an integral part of the legendary Seattle rock scene of the late 80's and early 90s, and in 1991 was dubbed the "Godfather of Grunge" by the British magazine THE INDEPENDENT. Available to watch on Vimeo and for free on Kanopy.



STEVEN J. BERNSTEIN BOOKS IN THE AVANTPOP BOOKS COLLECTION



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