poem index


Leslie Scalapino

1944-2010 , Santa Barbara , CA , United States
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Born on July 25, 1944, in Santa Barbara, California, Leslie Scalapino received a Bachelor's degree from Reed College and an M.A. in English from UC Berkeley.

Her numerous collections of poetry include It's go in horizontal: Selected Poems 1974-2006 (University of California Press, 2008); Zither & Autobiography (2003); The Tango (2001); New Time (1999); Sight (1999), a collaboration with Lyn Hejinian; way (1988), which was the recipient of the American Book Award; that they were at the beach (1985); Considering how exaggerated music is (1982); and O and Other Poems (1976).

She is also the author of many plays and works of prose, such as The Weatherman Turns Himself In (1999), Dahlia's Iris: Secret Autobiography and Fiction (2003), The Public World / Syntactically Impermanence (1999), Green and Black, Selected Writings (1996), and the trilogy The Return of Painting, The Pearl, and Orion (1991).

As publisher, she was the founder of O Books. She also edited numerous books, including The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen (2007).

Of her work, the poet John Ashbery writes:

Leslie Scalapino's language is often of the disenfranchised kind that rubs elbows with us every day—from graffiti, computer terminals, and cereal boxes. Sometimes this language corresponds with life... Most often it seems to be standing in for life when it has to absent itself for a few minutes, which happens so often.

Scalapino received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1976. She taught at the Naropa Institute, Bard College, Mills College, and UC San Diego, where her papers are held in the Mandeville Special Collections Library.

She died on May 28, 2010, in Berkeley, California.

by this poet


She heard the sounds of a couple having intercourse and then getting up they went into the shower so that she caught a sight of them naked before hearing the water running. The parts of their bodies which had been covered by clothes were those of leopards. During puberty her own organs and skin were not like this

to have
ed still—
though not
wanting to
be serene

I was in school; the bus driver seeing a girl crossing the street hadn't stopped—she'd been hit—so


Playing ball—so it's like paradise, not because it's in the past, we're on a field; we are creamed by the girls who get together on the other team. They're nubile, but in age they're thirteen or so—so they're strong

(No one knows each other, aligning according to race as it happens, the color of the girls,