Leslie Scalapino

March 11, 1999 (Thursday) at 8:00 p.m.
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany, Uptown Campus

4:00 p.m. Afternoon Seminar, Humanities 290

Leslie Scalapino is a poet whose books challenge the boundaries of poetry, prose and visual art. She is the author of eighteen books of poetry, plays, prose and essays. Her work is characterized by an interest in extreme emotional states, depictions of human behavior in animalistic terms, outrage at social injustice, and an artfully disjointed style in which dashes interrupt unfinished thoughts. Recent books include Defoe (1995), a novel, and two collections of writing, Objects in the Terrifying Tense (1993) and Green and Black / Selected Writings (1996). Books of poems include, The Woman Who Could Read the Minds of Dogs (1976), Considering how exaggerated music is (1982), way (1988), which received the American Book Award, and crowd and not evening light (1992). A new volume of poetry, New Time, and a collection of essays, The Public World / Syntactically Impermanence, are due to be released in the spring of 1999.

She describes her recent book, The Front Matter, Dead Souls (1996) as, "a serial novel for publication in the newspaper" with "paragraph-length chapters" that "can also be published singly on billboards or outdoors as murals." She also describes the book, which contains many allusions to current events, as "a political cartoon in language."

". . .one of the most unique and powerful writers at the forefront of American literature." - Library Journal

"[Scalapino possess a] 'serial form' of discrete units of text potentially infinite in number, unconstrained by the basic linearity of a beginning, middle and end." - Dictionary of Literary Biography

"Scalapino captures the flux and motion that is late twentieth-century living, and she does so with freshness, daring, and subtle skillfulness." - Janet St. John in Booklist on The Front Matter, Dead Souls

"A major poet, and somebody worth watching very closely through long passages and infinitely subtle variations." - Andrei Codrescu, Baltimore Sun

". . .she makes everything take place in real time, in the light and air and night where all of us live, everything happening at once." - Philip Whalen on way

from the book cover. . .
"One of the most unique and powerful writers at the forefront of American literature." -Library Journal

Widely identified as one of the most accomplished innovative writers in America, Leslie Scalapino has received both the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and the Poetry Center Award from San Francisco State University.

"'Though there is a relation to the retina. There is no way to live,' Leslie Scalapino writes in Orion. Scalapino generates meaning through relation--difference in class, difference in age, difference in pleasure, difference in position along a sight line. Like those other wayfarers, Piers Plowman with his 'fair field full of folk' and Bunyan's Pilgrim who walks 'through the wilderness of this world,' Scalapino turns relation outward, and she travels ceaselessly through that network in writing so ferocious it chews up the landscape. Put another way, Scalapino ceaselessly arrives into the present, where we also continually arrive for the first time, so we are foreign to each other and strangers to every moment of our lives. There is no way to live, only living itself in a present that is intolerable, dangerous, sexual, blunted, and ecstatic." -Robert Gluck

Praise for The Return of Painting, The Pearl, and Orion: A Trilogy:

"A terrific book. Edges of meaning and relationship become here the intensive ground of their endlessly volatile statement. So that. As if. It were. Leslie Scalapino thinks the so-called world as real, and so it is, each instance. Each instance in place." - Robert Creeley

"There is a hallucinatory exactitude in her presentation of sentences, an intense encapsuling of the moment with no latitude for the illusions and comforts of reflection and detachment.... The book's great virtue is claritas.... the intensity of the experience itself." - MultiCultural Review

"What makes this writing go is an incredible ease. A sense of a text that is capable of breathing." - Village Voice

"The event of the text is one long organism of proposal, conviction, occurrence. And like a diary, it all remains, locked in language until it's opened, found. The trilogy stands, not so much as a life proposed, or even a life found, but a life standing. That things are as they are." -Talisman

(Talisman House, Publishers, ISBN: 1-883689-57-0, $16.95)