Monday, December 13, 2010
PEN Oakland Award: Etel Adnan's Acceptance Speech & Sharon Doubiago on Etel Adnan's "Master of the Eclipse"
Etel Adnan's Acceptance speech:
"I am extremely pleaSED TO RECEIVE THIS AWARD and thank the committee who decided to give it to me, and particularly Sharon Doubiago whose friendship I value, and whose work I particularly appreciate. I am not the recipient of many awards, but this one touches me particularly, as it comes from the Bay Area, which is home, and a place that is a major part of my thinking, and my work. I wish I were present to receive this award, but I am these times weary of airplanes, and it would have been difficult for me to travel. But I am extremely thankful, and am sending you my most friendly thoughts, ETEL ADNAN"
Etel Adnan’s Master of the Eclipse
by Sharon Doubiago
Etel Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1925 of a Christian Greek mother and a Muslim Syrian father. “Beirut in the thirties was itself a preadolescent city: newly installed as the capital for a nation carved out by the Allies from Syria. It smelled of jasmine and orange blossoms, and you could look at the sea from almost any street.” Master of the Eclipse is a collection of memoir stories ranging from girlhood in Beirut to adulthood in Paris and the Bay Area. (For many years Adnan taught Philosophy of Art at Dominican College in San Rafael.) The mysterious, near-omniscient narrator chronicles, in breathtaking, heartbreaking, metaphorical stories, the eclipse of not just the Arab world but of the Western one also. She has been chronicling the apocalypse (The Arab Apocalypse is one of her booklength poems) for much of her life in poetry, painting, criticism and fiction. Her novel, Sitt Marie Rose (1978) is considered a feminist classic of the Lebanese Civil War.
“What are poets for in these destitute times?” “The storyteller as poet as vigilant angel” tells us. The title story, brilliant and stunning both poetically and politically, is of the Kurdish Iraqi poet, Buland al-Haidari, and the poetry festivals at which she encountered him in Baghdad and Sicily, and his death from alcoholism in London in 1996. It is the story of the downward spiral of the poet in exile from his beloved country as it is both self-destructing and being destroyed. “I’m a living wound because I know they’re setting fire to my country because they envy its immemorial mystic power.” Credited with having brought free verse to Arab poetry in the 40s, Buland’s greatest shame is that he loved Sadam Hussein who in turn loved poetry. Who is the Master? On first reading I assumed Sadam but on subsequent readings I’ve seen Buland, then his scholar, the University of Virginia “professor-Agent…the Big Eye, the guardian of a supreme power,” the exact equivalent of the military, the bombers, the movie directors and journalists, all of us (except those going righteously mad) in our bullet proof jackets.
The ironic symbolism and metaphors, if those literary terms work here, are profound. Ibn Arabi, Walter Benjamin, the angel of history, Paul Klee’s angels (the painter who in WWI painted airplane wings), prostitutes, suitcases in Syria of counterfeit money from California, lovers driven mad for the Muse they cannot touch, and the narrator’s love of women. “American Malady” is surely one of the most ironic but lyrical pieces written in recent history: refugees trying to get to the America that’s destroying their country. “Better to be in the tornado’s eye than in its path.” The making of the movies, the making of the news: the boy who digs up, washes and delivers real corpses for the Hollywood movie mogul who refuses to pay him the small asking wage. “‘Love me,’” Um Kulthum was singing, ‘even if you have to curse me.’” “They ended up in Lebanon with only their clothes on, and Father’s black little radio.” A son dead and a father insane because of that radio, those voices in all their different languages penetrating their souls. “All the shelling and the dying…they announced everything except the sorrow.” That’s what Adnan’s stories are about most of all, the sorrow. The eclipse yes, yet: “They say ‘Palestine smells good. She’s worth our lives.’ But I’m not going to die. How can I? I’m not yet born. I will be born over there, on the road to Haifa, as in the days of my grandparents.”
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Etel Adnan, author of 11 books from The Post-Apollo Press (including "Sitt Marie Rose", "The Arab Apocalypse" and most recently, "Seasons"), has won a PEN Oakland award for her latest book, "Master of the Eclipse", published by Interlink Books this past year.
The award ceremony will take place:
Sunday December 11
@ The Oakland Public Library
5366 College Avenue, Oakland 94168
from 2-5 pm
GOOD BIT OF NEWS #2
Brian Unger has published a very insightful and well written review of Denise Newman's "The New Make Believe" in the latest issue (Dec/Jan) of The Poetry Project Newsletter. We hope to post the review here soon!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Leslie Scalapino, Post-Apollo (SPD, dist.), $29 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-942996-72-2
Scalapino, who died this past May, two months before her 66th birthday, is often clubbed together with her Bay Area Language Poet peers, and the designation is certainly not wrong. But it is beginning to be clear that Scalapino is one of the great Zen poets of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, one who reinvents the relations of poetry and practice with effortless movements of mind, sense, and sound in each book. This collection is the companion volume to Floats Horse-Floats or Horse Flows, published earlier this year. Written in prose, it has a complex "plot," which finds the diverse conflagration of "human-like creatures" from the title pivoting around the recent terrorist attack on Mumbai. Illustrations from artists Kiki Smith and Jess are interspersed, in a scene where "Day begins anywhere." The whole has a Bladerunner-ish quality to it, with avatars multiplying and "base runners" populating the "emerald dark." While Way (1988) remains the place to start with Scalapino's work, and posthumously prepared manuscripts are sure to see publication, this collection pulses with life and Scalapino's unmistakable voice. (Dec.)
*I would also like to make clear that Simone Fattal is the publisher of all Post-Apollo books and was the editor and driving force behind the publication of "Dihedrons". Simone and Etel were close friends with Leslie Scalapino and it was very important to Simone that Post-Apollo publish this book, which would sadly be her last.
On Reading Leslie Scalapino’s The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom
I mentioned the difficulty of reading Leslie Scalapino’s wordfall, The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom, to Lindsey Boldt, who published the book with Post Apollo Press. She responded generously, saying
I agree that Scalapino’s work can feel very difficult, and this book I think feels especially daunting. Its prose is incredibly tangled and slippery to an almost maddening degree, which is what makes it so taxing but also so rewarding. I felt really anxious when I first sat down to read it and really fought to understand it on a sense-meaning level. I don’t think I’d faced such a literary challenge since college. I finally caved at some point and just let it turn into a sensory experience, which turned out to be really fun.
Certainly that’s an adequate and lovely review in itself, though it hardly matches the book’s blurbs: Fanny Howe calls it a “mystical vision” and Charles Bernstein said the book “is an ekphrastic implosion inside our severed human-body/animal-mind.” Talk about whoa! Michael McClure said the book comes from the “spagyric hinterlands of purest imagination,” and Etel Adnan called it our Divine Comedy but with “more humanity and more derision.”
So how is it that these syntactically dense word sets come to matter? Even the 176-page book itself is difficult to characterize; the jacket is fuzzy, kind of ugly, an aesthetic that goes hand-in-hand with difficult work in the same way that academic journals forgo cover art for a table of contents–a de facto caveat emptor: there’s no gloss here. In spite of that, this book is glossy, and justifies its $29 price tag with heavy, bright paper and fourteen provocative images by artists like Kiki Smith and Jess (Jess Collins). It feels as dense as it is.
Accordingly, I’m interested in how the bookiness affects the work; at first it increases the austerity and limits my interaction. The artifact in particular makes the writing challenging, while the writing challenges the book’s function; how do you design a serious but inviting book? I think Scalapino and her editors were conscious of the challenge, and the integration of the pictures helps (it’s made explicit, however, that the pictures are not illustrations of the work, or inspirations for it — just representations of the same reality).
But if you check out these excerpts from the book, you’ll see the poems don’t actually seem all that hard. In fact, its language is just the sort of thing an htmlgiant reader might expect to find propped here. I bet Chris Higgs will agree that this first sentence glows: “Out of which the silent dactylology from emerald wastes little girls crossing the roads arriving the green meadows full they do the cakewalk and are celebrated with cakes for their most intricate steps.” Like Lindsey Boldt said, as a sensory experience that linguistic pile-on is a blast.
From the introductory note by Leslie Scalapino:
The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom was written by leafing through Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary choosing words at random by process of alexia, not as mental disorder but word-blindness: trance-like stream overriding meaning, choice, and inhibition. The intention to bring about an unknown future was offset by this action of alexia making as it happens sensual exquisite corpses—leading to the discovery that there isn’t any future, isn’t even any present. Such an exquisite corpse, read, is in an instant yet not even in ‘a present.’ Outside’s events unite gluing to each other a single object. That which had already existed is by chance.
Even that introduction frustrated me with how much it takes for granted. I understand how choosing random words can create sensual exquisite corpses, and I’m big into theories of time, but I am not following how these strings of words illustrate that the future and the present don’t exist. I don’t even know what that means. But when I read an introduction to a process, I’m just looking for a lucid explanation of what to expect. Scalapino isn’t providing a key for the reader, just another lock.
The more I read from the collection, though, the more I understand that in a meaningful way, through sonic and syntactic recurrence, through oblique references to things-which-stand-not-for-themselves (eg. Palin, planes, deb, something complicated about the basics of baseball), the text unlocks itself. Included in this unlocking are the ideas of time that Scalapino mentions in her note, and in that way I think the book becomes more than just a fun book for Kool-Aid drinkers of langpo. There is indeed some ekphrastic implosion, though I wonder if ekphrasis is the best way to characterize it. To me it seems more eschatological, or whatever eschatology would be if it didn’t exist. (It’s a keen strength that the book deprioritizes any thesis, allowing for this kind of joyful, highfalutin response, or this one: Bernstein’s nuts! It’s not ekphrastic, it’s clearly eschatology that’s imploding!) More than anything, the Scalapino dialectic is one of openness. The book can be ekphrastic or phenomenological, sociological or even geometrical, as the title indicates.
At this point I figure I have dabbled in the book, and it has rewarded that dabbling with (yes) a fun experience and an inkling of what is possible from this literature. A couple weeks ago I mentioned to Jamie Townsend, of the New Philadelphia Poets, that I was trying to read Scalapino and he smiled, saying something like, “That’s what everyone does.” I don’t know that one has to try, though, so much as to read her twice. Now that I have sense of the topology of her writing, I’m now going to read her a second time.
Close to the end of The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom, Scalapino unwrites her author’s note, enjambing the lines, deleting phrases and adding even more presumptuous ones, and by this time I have accustomed myself to her demands. What works best about this dilapidation, this uncutting of the stone, reminds me of what I like best about the second section of The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner forgoes chronology and structure the closer Quentin comes to death.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Upon her arrival, Simone will be participating in a group sculpture show and pottery sale in San Rafael. We hope to see you there!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Denis Newman (Post-Apollo Poet Extraorinaire) & Aaron Belz
READING @ 7pm
BookShop West Portal
80 West Portal Ave
San Francisco, CA 94127-1304
Denise Newman is a San Francisco poet and translator whose two previous collections are Wild Goods and Human Forest. Her latest book, The New Make Believe, is, according to poet Norman Fischer, "more haunting than ever, and as needful of contemplation." Newman, who teaches creative writing at the California College of the Arts, is a staff editor at Five Fingers Review, and has been a Djerassi Resident Artist. Her translation of The Painted Room by the Danish poet Inger Christensen was published in 2000 by The Harvill Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Denver Quarterly, Volt, apex of the M, New American Writing, and ZYZZYVA. For the past decade, she has been collaborating with composers, providing lyrics for choral works.
N E X T W E E K E N D : 10/16-17
Etel Adnan & Serpentine Map MarathonIn London: Etel Adnan will give a reading as part of the Serpentine Gallery's "Serpentine Maps Marathon" :
Saturday and Sunday
16 – 17 October
Maps for the 21st Century is an ambitious two-day event bringing together over 50 extraordinary artists, poets, writers, philosophers, scholars, musicians, architects, designers and scientists to showcase possible maps for the coming decade. Read more about the event here.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Semler Sfeir Gallery will exhibit paintings by Etel Adnan at the Frieze Art Fair this October (14-17) in London. (See below for more info).
Etel also wrote to let us know that she will participate in a poetry marathon in London on the 16th & 17th of that October as well.
The eighth edition of the leading international contemporary art fair, sponsored by Deutshce Bank, takes place in London's Regent's Park from 14-17 October 2010.
World's top contemporary art galleries
173 of the world's most exciting contemporary art galleries, representing 29 countries, will present new work by over 1,000 of the world's most innovative artists at Frieze Art Fair.
Galleries new to the main section of the fair include: Bortolami, New York (USA); Pilar Corrias, London (UK); Elizabeth Dee, New York (USA); Xavier Hufkens, Brussels (Belgium); Michael Lett, Auckland (New Zealand).
The successful introduction of Frame, dedicated to galleries under six years old showing solo artist presentations, sees its return in 2010. Frame is supported by Cos. The Frame galleries' selection has been advised by curators Cecilia Alemani and Daniel Baumann.
A listing of all the galleries with work that they are showing at the fair will be online in a new 'Art Finder' section of the Frieze Art Fair website. friezeartfair.com
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Johannes Strugalla working on the engravings for Seasons:
Here is an excerpt from a critical essay by Mark Grimes on Seasons titled "Listen to Etel Adnan", published in a 2009 issue of Al Jadid Magazine:
Imagine a movie screen larger than her native country of Lebanon, positioned in the sky above those timeless cedars, and revealing in anguishing replay the war of 1982. Shatila? Sabra? Again, perhaps. but, we do want a sense of logic, a sense of continuity, in what we read. And this is not to be the case with Etel Adnan's Seasons. No. We are to enter an exquisitely imagined and private world, where "The oak tree is growing with anxiety," and "No object can compete with a sound's intimacy."
Stay tuned for more news from Sausalito, Paris, New York, Beirut and beyond.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Contemporary Greek poet, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, author of Post-Apollo's "Maribor" will be giving a reading at Poet's House in New York to celebrate the release of his newest book "Chinese Notebook", which was also translated by John & Angelos Sakkis. We hope to get him out to the West Coast for a Bay Area reading soon!
Here's what Demosethenes has to say (swiped from translator John Sakkis' blog)
"The Ugly Duckling Press will publish my book "Chinese notebook" in september 2010.
We are going to celebrate the publication with a poetry action in the POETS HOUSE in NY
(see site below),on 6th of October ,at 07.00 pm.
John Sakkis (one of the translators -the other translator is Angelos Sakkis) will be present.
The event includes :video projections,readings in greek,english,french,performance,debate..
I will be happy to invite you for this <>.
If you distribute this information to your friends and collegues,I will be extremely grateful.
I will be in NY from the 2nd until the 10th of October .
I will stay in Brooklyn .
Thanks in advance for your attention.
all the best
Friday, September 17, 2010
November 16th, Dixon Place
New York City
A play by Leslie Scalapino
Directed by Fiona Templeton
Performed by The Relationship
December 3rd, UC Berkeley, Maude Fife Room
Bay Area Memorial Reading for Leslie Scalapino
*Simone plans to contribute to the evening with a short reading.
December 4th, Small Press Traffic
San Francisco, CA
Celebration of Leslie Scalapino's plays
December 21st-22nd, ODC Theater
San Francisco, CA
Directed by Fiona Templeton
Performed by The Relationship
*If you haven't had a chance to check out the extensive and inspiring 4 Day Tribute to Leslie Scalapino happening over at Delirious Hem, we highly, highly recommend you do.
Monday, September 13, 2010
For the past year or so we at The Post-Apollo Press have been plum OUT of two of Jalal Toufic's most engaging and sought after novels: Vampires and Undying Love, or Love Dies. We hope to be able to reprint both books in the future, but unfortunately, do not have the means do so just yet. In the meantime, there is good news: Jalal Toufic has made several of his publications including Vampires and Undying Love, or Love Dies available for download as pdfs on his website JalalToufic.com. Hooray!
I (Lindsey Boldt, assistant editor) recently read Toufic's Two or Three Things I'm Dying to Tell You, which by the bye, is one of the most frustrating,entertaining and mind shuffling works of cross-genre criticism I have ever encountered. Toufic's retelling of Hitchcock's Rear Window and Vertigo as a mashup titled "Rear Window Vertigo", was a highlight definitely worth the price of admission. Since then I have been hot to read his other works but we honestly sold the very last copies in the office! Thank you to Jalal Toufic for generously sharing his work!
Stay tuned for reprints from Post-Apollo.
Monday, August 2, 2010
On The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom
by Leslie Scalapino
The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom, in short chapters usually not more than a page or half page, was composed by process of alexia, word-blindness: unknown words were chosen by randomly leafing through Webster’s Dictionary; these generate characters and events that cohere as a sci-fi novel in which the characters are apparently divided from their senses (said to be dysaphic, they are seemingly without tactile senses, without memory or seeing—though they are also said to see and touch); by virtue of this dysaphic quality they act to heal mind-body split visibly demonstrated by the dihedrons and the gazelle-dihedrals, humanlike creatures with structures opened to show their organs and muscles—who inhabit the emerald dark apparently either cyber or real space. These umbra creatures have been affected by ‘idea’ being the goal and description of everything, divided from ‘being’ itself.
The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom is an endless landscape in which new characters arising from the words, with their own lives and actions that briefly refer to outside events and history (such as Sara Palin, one of the characters for an instant), access spatial-sound openings, tactile and aural sensations, the conception being that we’ve been split distorted, cut off from our present-future-past, time acknowledged as really non-existent as we conventionally define it. The characters are particularly the abandoned orphan girls (left by parents or placed in orphanages as is occurring at present in China and India but here location is not specified, is as if a futuristic everywhere), millions of whom stream through the sci-fi realms in which horses roam as in Mongolia. Leafing through the dictionary I ran across the two words “base runner”—from this, a main character arose, the base runner who is trapped in an emerald dark freezing space where he runs to reach widely separated bases, no one else present in the game from which he can’t depart (if he does he will be killed); he’s bound apparently in a cyber program possibly gulag from which terrorist actions arise or are reflected. One such event, the attack on Mumbai, is the origin and connection of all the events of the book. The avatars of the base runner are an eagle and an octopus; the latter frees the base runner by making love to a woman (another main character named the distaffer) as she is swimming in the sea after her plane with a load of orphans has crashed into the sea. The octopus and the woman “come” allowing the base runner to come to them breaking through from the emerald dark. The dihedrons (seen only sideways, they arrive without appearing to move) and the gazelle-dihedrals (different manifestation of the same creature but this version zooms only forward) are completely opened in the sense that their organs-musculature-skeletons are simultaneously displayed to be literally outside and inside at once. These creatures are either protective or threatening, akin to Tantric Buddhist figures; they are present while the human characters catch on fire in the emerald zone, the living people protected by their avatars (an octopus, a Silvertip grizzly, a white wolf-dog, an eagle).
The characters alter by their experience. Some who are the abandoned girl-orphans growing up become manifestations of characters (loosely conceived) from Greek myths. One main character is “the deb” (the debutant) who is the daughter of a slut named Chrysanthemum (a manifestation of a fiery red Mongolian wrathful deity, a figure of enlightenment); given the hardship of having such a mother, the daughter grows up to be Artemis whose avatars are a Silvertip grizzly and the Silver Wattle Tree. Another main character is a child, one of the abandoned girl-orphans, who grows up to be Venus/Aphrodite (also Venus Williams, the tennis champ). One minor character is Hera, a harridan who is abusive to one of the abandoned orphans.
The intent of this work is free rein of the imagination, as if ‘on a run’ pushing it as far as can be to break through—to have it ‘unite’ with a sense of being real. The intent is also that one as reader have the sense of seeing one’s separation from one’s own senses in living in our society—as our separation from paradise—and as reading, to have even a tactile as well as mental sense of union with that paradise. Though since it is real, paradise as the book’s reality includes also terrifying events of the actual world (as well as daily events, sometimes humorous).
The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom contains images by Jess, Masami Teraoka, and Kiki Smith. Images by Jess and Masami Teraoka (an octopus sucking a woman) are part of the meaning of the text, as if the images are memories of events in the lives of the characters (who have only single memories arising occasionally, or are devoid of memories until these begin to break through). Kiki Smith has given permission to use images from her Spinster Series, included as part of my text. Her figure of a girl (from her already existing series) is used as a reference to a figure of a girl in the emerald dark. The images by these artists are thus real events already existing outside, already experienced in the text independently, neither illustrating the other—verifying each other as part of a huge background of sensory events.
The inside of action and of being in these actions at the same time—have the tactile sense that there is no present even seeing there in its midst experiencing sensations. The characters, the deb (debutant), the distaffer, and the base runner, with their avatars—so they have more than one manifestation at once—exist alongside and somehow programmed in relation to real-time events: a recent terrorist attacks on a cricket team and the recent attack on Mumbai (the two events conflated as if one). Akin to Henry Darger’s endless landscapes, narrative is from the outside always—at the same time the intent is for the writing to be the sensation of having/being other people’s sensations as well as non-human, that of flowers—not only to have the pleasure of this vivid life but the sense of not struggling for future.
This work, possibly referencing a cyber Alice in Wonderland is based in the sound of words intended to make a sensory realm, as if the characters while not having senses, have these given to them as the writing being all of the senses.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom
by Leslie Scalapino
~ August, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Denise had some kind and thoughtful things to say about Simone's commitment to experimental and cross-genre literature, and to Post-Apollo's international character and support of translation. Indeed!
Denise then gave a moving reading from her new book "The New Make Believe"(Post-Apollo). It was especially enjoyable to hear this book read aloud for its often sing-song nature and play with sound.
Angelos Sakkis (left) and John Sakkis (right) read from the original Greek and from their English translations of "Maribor"(Post-Apollo) and from "Chinese Notebook"(forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse)by Demosthenes Agrafiotis. Angelos and John traded off, Angelos reading from the Greek and John from the English. "Maribor" marks the American publication debut of Demosthenes Agrafiotis, who's work as a poet, photographer and performer is well known in Europe. It is great fun to see these two, uncle and nephew read together.
And here's everyone, that's me (Lindsey, assistant editor) in the middle, all of us beaming proudly.
I know Simone and Etel would have loved to have been there for the evening. They are currently in Beirut, recovering from the celebration of Etel's homage, the opening of an exhibition of Etel's paintings and so, so much. I recommend you read this article in The Daily Star to get any idea of what Etel in particular has been up to. Simone and Etel are two truly inspiring women.
Thank you again to Denise, John and Angelos for their inspiring readings. Hooray for 2010!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Leslie Scalapino passed away on May 28, 2010 in Berkeley, California. She was born in Santa Barbara in 1944 and raised in Berkeley, California. After Berkeley High School, she attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon and received her B.A. in Literature in 1966. She received her M.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley in 1969, after which she began to focus on writing poetry. Leslie Scalapino lived with Tom White, her husband and friend of 35 years, in Oakland, California.
In childhood, she traveled with her father Robert Scalapino, founder of UC Berkeley’s Institute for Asian Studies, her mother Dee Scalapino, known for her love of music, and her two sisters, Diane and Lynne, throughout Asia, Africa and Europe. She and Tom continued these travels including trips to Tibet, Bhutan, Japan, India, Yemen, Mongolia, Libya and elsewhere. Her writing was intensely influenced by these travels. She published her first book O and Other Poems in 1976, and since then has published thirty books of poetry, prose, inter-genre fiction, plays, essays, and collaborations. Scalapino’s most recent publications include a collaboration with artist Kiki Smith, The Animal is in the World like Water in Water (Granary Books), and Floats Horse-Floats or Horse-Flows (Starcherone Books), and her selected poems It’s go in horizontal / Selected Poems 1974-2006 (UC Press) was published in 2008. In 1988, her long poem way received the Poetry Center Award, the Lawrence Lipton Prize, and the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Her plays have been performed in San Francisco at New Langton Arts, The Lab, Venue 9, and Forum; in New York by The Eye and Ear Theater and at Barnard College; and in Los Angeles at Beyond Baroque.
In 1986, Scalapino founded O Books as a publishing outlet for young and emerging poets, as well as prominent, innovative writers, and the list of nearly 100 titles includes authors such as Ted Berrigan, Robert Grenier, Fanny Howe, Tom Raworth, Norma Cole, Will Alexander, Alice Notley, Norman Fischer, Laura Moriarty, Michael McClure, Judith Goldman and many others. Scalapino is also the editor of four editions of O anthologies, as well as the periodicals Enough (with Rick London) and War and Peace (with Judith Goldman).
Scalapino taught writing at various institutions, including 16 years in the MFA program at Bard College, Mills College, the San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts in San Francisco, San Francisco State University, UC San Diego, and the Naropa Institute.
Of her own writing, Scalapino says “my sense of a practice of writing and of action, the apprehension itself that ‘one is not oneself for even an instant’ – should not be,’ is to be participation in/is a social act. That is, the nature of this practice that’s to be ‘social act’ is it is without formation or custom.” Her writing, unbound by a single format, her collaborations with artists and other writers, her teaching, and publishing are evidence of this sense of her own practice, social acts that were her practice. Her generosity and fiercely engaged intelligence were everywhere evident to those who had the fortune to know her.
Scalapino has three books forthcoming in 2010. A book of two plays published in one volume, Flow-Winged Crocodile and A Pair / Actions Are Erased / Appear will come out in June 2010 from Chax Press; a new prose work, The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihredals Zoom will be released this summer by Post-Apollo Press; and a revised and expanded collection of her essays and plays, How Phenomena Appear to Unfold (originally published by Potes & Poets) will be published in the fall by Litmus Press.
Her play Flow-Winged Crocodile will be performed in New York at Poets House on June 19th at 2pm and June 20th at 7pm by the performance group The Relationship, directed by Fiona Templeton and with Katie Brown, Stephanie Silver, and Julie Troost. Dance by Molissa Fenley, music by Joan Jeanrenaud, and projected drawings by Eve Biddle. This production is co-sponsored by Belladonna* and the Poetry Project.
There will be a memorial event for Scalapino at St. Mark’s Poetry Project on Monday, June 21st.
A Zen Buddhist funeral ceremony will be conducted by Abbott Norman Fisher in about a month with the arrangements in a subsequent announcement. Tom requests that in lieu of flowers, Leslie's friends consider a charitable donation in her memory to: Poets in Need, PO Box 5411, Berkeley, CA 94705; 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 their choice. Condolence cards may be sent to Tom & Leslie’s home address, 5744 Presley Way, Oakland, California 94618-1633.
to make my mind be actions outside only. which they are. that
grey-red bars. actions are life per se only without it.
(so) events are minute — even (voluptuous)
Friday, May 7, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MAY 5TH, 2010
The New Make Believe
by Denise Newman
In The New Make Believe, one is seeking a vehicle, rejecting lover, God, child, all objects, and in the process, noticing one’s accident, which was always present, as the ground of existence. Once noticed, never losing contact with it, this silent partner, the way Blaise Pascal sewed into the lining of his coat his notes and sketch made upon first encountering his accident. Touch it, dance with it, but avoid the temptation to manage it, which leads to sentimentality, or worse, brutality. So how is the new make believe different from the old make believe? “put it out put it out and try to talk about it.
A strange intelligence guides the works in The New Make Believe toward insistent, yet nearly ineffable, re-definitions of commonplace words, as if everything were, in being named, strange. “Accident,” “law,” “memorial,” “wolf,” “pants” “sex” and other such terms participate in intense proto-symbolic musicalities to reveal (or cover) what seem to be crucial yet cheerily personal insights into what it is to be alive as or in a person surrounded by a baffling world of dark beauty–and mysterious others. Denise Newman’s work is here more haunting than ever, and as needful of contemplation. -Norman Fischer
Denise Newman is the author of Human Forest and Wild Goods (both published by Apogee Press), and the translator of The Painted Room (Random House, UK) and Azorno, (New Directions)—two novels by the Danish poet Inger Christensen. She teaches at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she lives with her husband and daughter.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Exciting news: Please join The Post-Apollo Press in celebrating the release of our 2010 titles, Maribor by Demosthenes Agrafiotis, translated by John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis and The New Make Believe (out this week!) by Denise Newman, for a reading and book release party at Books and Bookshelves on Wednesday,May 26th at 7:30pm.
The three newest additions to Post-Apollo's cadre of wonderfully talented poets and translators, Denise Newman, John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis will be reading together from their respective books. Both The New Make Believe and Maribor will be available for purchase and there will be wine and snacks!
Denise Newman-author of the newest book of poetry in our Small Series, "The New Make Believe" (out this week!). She is also the author of Human Forest and Wild Goods (both published by Apogee Press), and the translator of The Painted Room (Random House, UK) and Azorno, (New Directions)—two novels by the Danish poet Inger Christensen. She teaches at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she lives with her husband and daughter.
John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis- translators of Post-Apollo's newest translation, "Maribor" by Greek poet, Demosthenes Agrafiotis. John Sakkis’ is a poet and translator living in San Francisco. He is the author of the book Rude Girl (Blaze Vox 2009). Angelos Sakkis is a translator and painter living in Oakland, California.
What: A reading and book release party!
Where: Books and Bookshelves @ 99 Sanchez Street in San Francisco
When: Wednesday, May 26th @ 7:30pm
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Photo by Andrew Kenower
So my nephew John calls and says can you help me with some Greek words I say shoot he gives me a list of words most of them no problem on some of them I have to ask for context a few are really difficult technical terms from disciplines I am not familiar with I have to look them up in my dictionary dictionaries then some time later days weeks months there is another list no problem a breeze next time I see him I tell him when is the next list coming hurry up I like doing this then he sends me a thick manila envelope full of copied pages of a whole book I think this is more like it jump to it do the whole thing like in days a first gloss with a number of different alternatives for the critical words John likes that we talk about the different versions and he forms in his head the overview of the whole thing later on that becomes the pattern of our collaboration after he finishes with Siarita’s book I ask him what is next he says take a look at Demosthene’s book his had been the most exciting presentation at the Paros Symposium last summer so I take a look and I am completely nonplused perplexed bewildered not the kind of thing I usually read by choice still the specificity of the language keeps me hooked I struggle with it word by word line by line all the while thinking hey I can read Greek but what is this guy saying here where is he going with this the ellipticity of it the first book we tackle is the Chinese Notebook I am thinking pretty much this is Chinese to me the Greek version of an American’s this is Greek to me sometime later we meet with John and talk about it through our conversations I start to see the sense of the whole thing the logic of it feel the delight of the language sometimes we are stumped by its sudden turns taking us to unexpected directions we work at it revising and revising until we are fairly confident of having arrived at a good equivalent of the original in the translation the next two of Demosthenes books we work on Maribor and Now1/3 are relatively easier both of us more familiar by now with his work the operative word being relatively we go through many many revisions burnishing and polishing the language to get to something approaching the sparseness of the Greek original I usually do the first draft on which we work until John is satisfied with the English text in this sense I am the junior partner fine by me I get plenty out of it.
Monday, March 22, 2010
by Demosthenes Agrafiotis
Translated by John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis
Poetry 86 pgs $15.00 ISBN: 978-0942996-70-8
“who assigns names? // the name itself” Demosthenes Agrafiotis’s name assigned him a superb origin myth. He was born in the Agrafa, a region historically so remote its inhabitants eluded conquest and were thus undocumented or “unwritten” in the records of the empire, a place that consequently became a refuge for forbidden Greek literacy. Agrafiotis translates the paradox of his inheritances into poetry that collaborates brilliantly with the autonomy of the sign, animating its multiple lives and orchestrating the resonances of its indeterminacy. Mining the opaque strata between “epigrams on the gray marble” and what is “written with chalk…/ on the banks of subterranean cause”, Maribor gives us both artifact—of the ephemera of communication, institutions, power—as well as blueprint for imagining an “alphabet of the future.” A master of the contemporary hermetic, Agrafiotis can bring to light in one stroke both the evanescence and endurance of the writing on the wall, the play between these inherent to reading. John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis have performed a great service to English readers with this precise, dynamic translation of one of the most important experimentalists working today. --Eleni Stecopoulos
As a North American I can only nod in awe at the dark mystery these poems offer, and the chastening, steel-eyed precision of European thought. In the hands of a master poet like Demosthenes Agrafiotis—“how many images can the species endure”—an old world emerges that is both bone-tired and on the cusp of renewal. The Europe of cafés, fashionable clothing, insane nationalist wars, & razor-edged critical thought is crisply present; while beneath it all beats a spiritual pulse as archaic as the Magdalenian caves. Into the tiny fractures of modern economy, philosophy, personality, and history, leak the structures of myth. Maribor is Slovenia’s second largest city, riddled with beauty & tragedy, & one site of the ethnic conflicts of the twentieth century. It is also a city that sits at a spiritual center—a center this poem, composed during the tumult of the 1990s, managed to reach. John and Angelos Sakkis are to be congratulated for having brought us a living poem in American-English. They manage to navigate not just contemporary Greek, but French, Italian, Latin, German, and such stunning lines as “the sparrow comes and perches / on the chair and leaves a dropping / all words are available / and suitable.” --Andrew Schelling