Thursday, July 1, 2010

Poet Leslie Scalapino

to make my mind be actions outside only. which they are. that
collapses in

grey-red bars. actions are life per se only without it.

(so) events are minute—even (voluptuous)
~ Leslie Scalapino*

The innovative, highly original, so-called "experimental language" poet Leslie Scalapino, founding editor in 1986 of O Books and the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, as well as fiction, plays, and essays, died May 28, 2010, of cancer.

Scalapino's O Books published the work of such renowned writers as Alice Notley, the late Ted Berrigan, Robert Grenier, and Fanny Howe, as well as anthologies. It continues to be a leading publisher of contemporary poetry, essays, and plays by established and young emerging writers.

       I. . . sought (later in writing) the 'anarchist moment'—
the moment that would be only disjunction itself.
       In the process, I've created this memory track.
Yet had the sense that I had to make fixed memories
move as illusion,  that they move as illusions.
      ~ From Zither & Authobiography

Considered a visionary in her approach to writing, teaching and mentoring, editing, and publishing, Scalapino was drawn to collaborations with visual artists including Kiki Smith and Petah Coyne; musicians such as Larry Ochs; dancers; and, of course, other writers. 

We are fortunate to be able to hear Scalapino's voice. In the video below, she reads from her Floats Horse-Floats or Horse Flows (Starcherone Books, March 2010). (Versions of chapters 1 and 4 were published at The Brooklyn Rail in March 2007.) 

In this second video, the poet reads from The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom:


* Closing of announcement by Tom White, Scalapino's husband, of her death

Remembrance by Lyn Hejinian at

Call at Delirious Hem for Tributes to Leslie Scalapino (deadline August 1)

It's Go in Horizontal: Poems 1974-2006  (New California Poetry, 2008)

Zither & Autobiography (O Books, 2003)

The Tango (Granary Books, 2001)

New Time (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 1999)

The Front Matter: Dead Souls (Wesleyan Poetry, 1996)

Scalapino Books Not Published by O Books

Penn Sound Recordings

Poet Ron Silliman's Roundup of Links on Scalapino


Louise Gallagher said...

What an enjoyable and uplifting way to start my day listening to her voice and her words.

Thanks once again for revealing treasures in other's voices.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

A beautiful and sensitive tribute, M. I would certainly send links to this to Silliman and others...thanks so much for your support yesterday. xj

sarah said...

I'm sorry I haven't commented more often lately, I feel bad about it as you are such a supportive commentor on my own weblog, but my mind seems shut to poetry at the moment - resting, I'm sure.

I really do admire how you promote other people and offer such great resources for us all.

Anonymous said...

Such a thorough and thoughtful homage to Scalapino, Maureen. As always, you epitomize Clay Shirky's concept of the culture of generosity. We all are enriched because of your efforts.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

she had a very nice voice.

E. Tracy Grinnell said...

Thanks for this feature! There is also now an official Leslie Scalapino website collecting resources and information for those who are interested: