Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leslie Scalapino (1944-2010)

The Memorial for Leslie Scalapino on Monday at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church was a wrenching, sad, but also incredibly loving collective expression of grief and elation. Though I never met her, she seemed to be everywhere Monday and Tuesday, especially in my thoughts, and as a kind of energy and force--so that my class today, beginning with Emily Dickinson's poem "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--" became both a discussion and meditation about Truth, but as a truth of time and place, as I talked about the memorial and communities of poets. She was there as I announced the new, local, Queens Borough laureate, and we looked at reviews and the cover of Paolo Javier's 60 lv bo(e)mbs, which was published by the press she founded, O Books. But she was there, for me, in that I felt myself somewhere instead of nowhere. I was moved by the tributes and learned how she was both a serious Buddhist practitioner, and a dog telepath! She was a writer of inside and outside, of horizons and what they are and what they do. Inside and outside. "The poet has died, and the poems are born in the readers." --Charles Bernstein

Donations in her memory can be made to these funds :

Poets in Need, PO Box 5411, Berkeley, CA 94705; to Reed College for the Leslie Scalapino Scholarship, 3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, OR 97202-8199; The AYCO Charitable Foundation, PO Box 15203, Albany, NY 12212-5203 for the Leslie Scalapino-O Books Fund to support innovative works of poetry, prose and art; or to a charitable organization of your choice.


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