Showing posts with label Leslie Scalapino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leslie Scalapino. Show all posts

Friday, November 23, 2012

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Leslie Scalapino,
wherever you are

Scalapino reading at The Drawing Center, Tucson, 2008

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A memorial reading for
Leslie Scalapino
at UC Berkeley

Monday, August 02, 2010

4 complete books by Leslie Scalapino

Click on cover to download PDF file

Thanks to the Electronic Poetry Center

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Today is Leslie Scalapino’s birthday. She would have been 66, a number that would have interested her not at all. Because we grew up in neighboring towns, she is someone who has been an integral part of my world as long as I can remember. We gave a couple of readings together – one of which drew exactly three people at the University of San Francisco. It was a great reading, actually, although only she & I may have known that. And we had at least one deep & long-term disagreement, which we carried out in print, & the result of which was that we became friends for life. Since she’s died, it’s her voice that has come back to me repeatedly, the way she always said “Hi” as though it were a question, with just a hint of laughter half-hidden in the vowel. Nobody else I’ve ever known said hello in quite such a signature fashion.

So today I want hear her more than anything. I want to point to a couple of Leslie’s readings & discussions that are available through PennSound. The first is a reading Leslie gave at Kelly Writers House in November, 2007, introduced by Charles Bernstein & -- and this is unique – followed by nearly an hour and one-half of discussion with the audience.

Introduction by Charles Bernstein (3:33)

Complete Reading (41:28)

Discussion (1:25:43)

Next come a pair of shows that Leslie recorded as part of Leonard Schwartz’ fabled radio program, Cross-Cultural Poetics, from KAOS-FM at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. The first is episode 35 – there are over 200 of these programs recorded since 2003 available on PennSound, a great deep record of contemporary poetics. Leslie reads from It's go in / quiet illumined grass / land. In addition to Leslie, there are segments that include Mary Margaret Sloan discussing Moving Borders, the landmark anthology of innovative writing by women, and a poem by Judith Roche. I like situating Leslie’s work in this larger context. The second is Leslie’s portion of episode 95 in which Leslie reads from & discusses New Time.

Episode #35: Making It Happen (entire show 59:53)

Episode #95: New Time/The Long Moment (28:52)

It’s worth noting that ten years ago, you would not have been able to get such resources as these at your fingertips. And given Leslie’s commitment to small presses – SPD’s catalog lists 32 books, which doesn’t include the volumes from Wesleyan, for example – finding her writing itself would have been hard enough. Now, however, we have no excuse should we ever let ourselves forget Leslie Scalapino’s extraordinary contributions to the community of poetry, and beyond.

O Books

Friday, June 18, 2010

This weekend in New York City

Two performances of
Flow-Winged Crocodile: A Noh Play
by Leslie Scalapino

Directed by Fiona Templeton,
with Katie Brown, Stephanie Silver and Julie Troost.

Dance by Molissa Fenley.
Music by Joan Jeanrenaud.
Projected drawings by Eve Biddle.
Technical director: Ray Roy III.

& Monday @ the Poetry Project,
A memorial reading for Leslie
with Petah Coyne, Simone Fattal, Joan Retallack,
Charles Bernstein, Susan Bee, Ann Lauterbach,
Susan Howe, Paolo Javier, Molissa Foley,
Fiona Templeton, Laura Elrick, Rodrigo Toscano,
Steve Clay, Rachel Levitsky, Susan Landers,
James Sherry, Brenda Iijima, Pierre Joris,
Judith Goldman, E. Tracy Grinnell & Tom White

Monday, May 31, 2010

Leslie Scalapino & Tom White, Valentine’s Day 2010

Leslie Scalapino: “Disbelief”

Michael Cross on Leslie Scalapino

Floats Horse-Floats or Horse-Flows:
“brilliant, confusing, occasionally maddening, tour-de-force”

How2 special feature on Leslie Scalapino
coordinated by Laura Hinton

Scalapino reading at the University of Chicago, 2008
(download video) (download audio)

Scalapino reading at University Press Books, Berkeley
earlier this year

Pablo Lopez, introducing Leslie at UPB

Leslie Scalapino: “Secret Occurrence”

As: All Occurrence in Structure, Unseen – (Deer Night)

From The Forest is in the Euphrates River

walking person who has sky flowing – by one who beside is as if

Scalapino reading at The Drawing Center, Tucson, 2008

Correspondence: Leslie Scalapino & Judith Goldman

Sarah Rosenthal talking with Leslie Scalapino

Google Books preview of
Dahlia’s Iris: Secret Autobiography + Fiction

Google Books preview of
Zither & Autobiography

Leslie Scalapino reading Way

Scalapino as Buddhist

Though now / time / has passed since that

Naropa Workshop, 1989

Reading with Clark Coolidge & Bernadette Mayer,
July 1989

1991 class on poetic composition

Laura Moriarty on Leslie Scalapino

Tenney Nathanson: “The Poetics of Non-Experience:
Repetition, Simulation, and Anxiety
in Leslie Scalapino’s Trilogy

Ted Burke on Scalapino

Burke on Leslie’s passing

she spoke like she wrote

David Lehman on Scalapino

June 19 & 20 @ Poet’s House in New York,
Flow, Winged Crocodile
directed by Fiona Templeton

June 21 will see a memorial reading for Leslie
at the Poetry Project

Scalapino’s works at Small Press Distribution

Books distributed by the University Press of New England

Leslie Scalapino Facebook Group (#1)

Leslie Scalapino Facebook Group (#2)

Leslie Scalapino papers at UC San Diego

Leslie was a founder & director of Poets in Need

Saturday, November 11, 2006

photo by Tom Raworth

If you happen to be in New York City today, you would do well to head down to the Poetry Project, East 10th Street at 2nd Avenue, at 1:00 PM, for the conference on:

The Work of Leslie Scalapino

A celebration and inquiry into the work of prominent contemporary experimental Bay Area writer and publisher (of O Books) Leslie Scalapino. Leslie Scalapino's over 20 books challenge the boundaries of poetry, prose and visual art. Her most recent titles are Orchid Jetsam, Dahlia's Iris and Zither & Autobiography. Six poets will each present a short talk on aspects of Scalapino's work, followed by a question/answer session. Poets will include Brenda Iijima, who will host the discussion, Rod Smith, Laura Elrick, Alan Davies, Jennifer Scappettone and Rodrigo Toscano.

Rod Smith is the author of In Memory of My Theories, Protective Immediacy, The Good House, Music or Honesty, and, forthcoming You Bête. He publishes Edge Books and edits the journal Aerial in
Washington, DC. Smith is also co-editing, with Peter Baker and Kaplan Harris, The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley, for the University of California Press.

Laura Elrick's book Fantasies in Permeable Structures is recently out from Factory School (2005) in Vol. 1 of the Heretical Texts series. She is also the author of sKincerity (Krupskaya, 2003) and is one of the featured writers on Women In the Avant Garde, an audio CD produced by Narrow House Recordings in 2004.

Alan Davies is the author of many books of poetry including Active 24 Hours (Roof), Name (This), Rave (Roof), and Candor (O Books).

Jennifer Scappettone's recent poetry, prose, and translations from the Italian are forthcoming in 4x4, Drunken Boat, P-Queue, The Cracked Slab Anthology of New Chicago Writing, Jacket, Modern Philology , and Zoland Annual . She is working on an archaeology of the landfill & opera of pop-ups in progress, provisionally entitled Exit 43, commissioned by Atelos Press. She teaches at the University of Chicago.

Rodrigo Toscano is the author of To Leveling Swerve (Krupskaya Books, 2004), Platform (Atelos, 2003), The Disparities (Green Integer, 2002) and Partisans (O Books, 1999). His poetry has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Toscano is originally from California (San Diego and San Francisco). He lives in New York City.

Brenda Iijima is the author of Around Sea (O Books, 2004) and two forthcoming titles: Animate, Inanimate Aims (Litmus Press) and Eco Quarry Bellwether (OtherVoices). She runs Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs from Brooklyn, New York. Iijima originally hails from Tredyffrin Township, Pennsylvania, the home as well of Silliman’s Blog.

Hopefully someone will think to collect – and publish! – everything that is presented there. And double hopefully someone will speak to the endlessly fascinating question of Scalapino’s theory of genre. And (final hopefully) someone will think to send a detailed a report.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Responses to my reading of Jennifer Moxley’s The Sense Record fell rather evenly into three categories:

<![if !supportLists]>§         <![endif]>People who liked my reading & like her work & were glad to see that this was shared

<![if !supportLists]>§         <![endif]>People who thought my reading was way off, because I didn’t see her poetry as a mode of deadpan humor

<![if !supportLists]>§         <![endif]>People who agreed with my assessment that her work is serious, but don’t much care for it, at least in part because of its seriousness

Those diverse reactions combined with my own positive response to Pattie McCarthy even as I admit that there are places where her interest in medieval Christian concerns leads her that I can’t (or don’t) follow and with Gary Sullivan’s most revealing comment yesterday that, when he was a mere lad, he used to find Woody Allen, Donald Barthelme or Firesign Theater more funny before he learned what they were riffing on. These diverse experiences all ring what for me is by now a rather old bell, a 1981 Parnassus review in which Peter Schjeldahl effusively praised the poetry of Joe Ceravolo even though “I rarely know what he is talking about.”

All of these items share in common the problem of how one receives and deals with the unfamiliar. Sometimes, as with Sullivan’s laughter at Firesign Theatre, we welcome it. But other times not. My own sense of the responses I’ve heard toward Moxley’s work is that the more skeptical positions sound almost identical to comments I recall hearing a quarter century ago directed at the work of another new poet who was coming forward with an unconventional but distinct sense of style, Leslie Scalapino. Moxley & Scalapino are radically different poets, but their position vis-à-vis the poetry world strikes me as not dissimilar. Each can, simply by their practice, be read as a critique of their generational scene as it is constituted.

Twenty-six years after the publication of The Woman Who Could Read the Minds of Dogs, Leslie Scalapino has demonstrated beyond any doubt the wisdom & power behind strategies that once seemed to many oblique or simply obscure for the sake of obscurity. If Scalapino has required patience on the part of her audience, she has rewarded them (us) for sticking with it handsomely. Her argument, to call it such, is a vision of literature that is virtually panoptic. To catch only a glimpse of it in some ways is just sort of a teaser – it makes greater sense to take as much in as possible, so that the references & key points accumulate.

Moxley’s long sentences & deliberately neutral vocabulary strike me as being as integral to her project as poet as Scalapino’s syntactic angling is to hers. I can see not buying any of it – no reader is going to “get” all poets. I know that I will always find William Bronk torturous and I have yet to figure out, after all these years, why Gustaf Sobin seems important to so many other writers I know. So, in a sense, I find myself thinking of the people who take Moxley seriously, but opt out at that point, as being “better” readers of her than fans who think it’s a spoof.

Let me give an example, a single sentence midway through  the first poem in The Sense Record, “Grain of the Cutaway Insight”:

Long lost friend, with whom I once
spoke into the night of books and

left, thinking to myself on my short

walk home of all the things I wanted so

to tell you

            in a poem, I am lonely
            in the in-commiserate word,

its small sound remains

            an incipient dis-harmony

sounding through dissembled day’s

            would-be routinization.

This passage moves not in one but two profoundly opposite directions. Up to the word “you,” every single line is enjambed – after it, none are. It is right at that word also that the first step away from the left-hand margin occurs in this sentence, as though the second-person pronoun were a literal hinge to this statement. In fact, it makes great sense to look at this sentence having just such a fulcrum. Before it, in five lines, all cemented to the left margin, we have 33 words, only three of which are even two syllables long. After it, we have 23 words spread out over six lines, 23 long words. Two have five syllables, two others have four. The second half of this sentence only twice returns fully to the margin, each time to register a verb that will carry the next major chain of syntax.

There is a chain of sound as well, following principally through the deployment of vowels, especially “o.” Thus the long “o” in the first half carries both “spoke” and “home” into that terminal “so” – the most important word in the first part of the text, a tone that gets heightened measurably in the concluding portion. The use of “o” becomes far more complex here – the “ou” combinations emerging to carry the thrust of the idea in the final couplet. But Moxley won’t let us not hear that term “lonely,” the section’s melody of “o” sounds challenged by a contrary rain of short “i” combinations, “in” and “is.” That hiss in good part is why “in-commiseraterather than “incommensurate” is the right word at that moment in the text. One need only note the number of “o” and “o”-combination syllables appear in this sentence compared with, say, those for “a” and “e.”

Yet if one reads this sentence as bald text without hearing its remarkable articulation of vowels, without registering enjambments & end stops, it might prove to be all but invisible as language. It’s a fabulous moment in the history of formal devices & really one of the great aesthetic flourishes in recent poetry – but in the same moment, it’s also a test of the reader & the levels of attention they bring to the poem.