Crowd and Not Evening or Light

Leslie Scalapino

1992 • 103 pp. • $14.00
ISBN: 9781557131416

Purchase from Small Press Distribution

Poetry and poems that are plays which open a terrain of action which is stillness and turmoil together on the written page. The title sequence is phrases to photographs taken by the author as if photographing the inside of dense phenomenal existence floating, which is intended to be just looking at vast space inha- bited. The flatness and stillness of the crowds seen standing in water are reflected back in the written text.

“… a work in phrases and photographs, in which the stasis (formulation) and movement (extension) of thought as reflection (hence the aptness of the photographs) is beautifully displayed.
— Lyn Hejinian

“Leslie Scalapino is a stunningly original writer. Poised on an edge between space and claustrophobia, this poet bears stark witness to the broken narratives of thousands dead or off shore. CROWD AND NOT EVENING OR LIGHT scatters literary criticism, drama and the photographic index across a wilderness of everyday language like love”
— Susan Howe

Leslie Scalapino (1944 – 2010) is the author of thirty books of poetry, prose inter-genre-fiction, plays, and essays. Granary Book just published a collaborative book by artist Kiki Smith and Leslie Scalapino, titled The Animal is in the World like Water in Water. Scalapino’s It’s go in horizontal/Selected Poems, 1974-2006 was published by University of California Press at Berkeley in 2008. Other books of Scalapino’s poetry include Day Ocean State of Stars’ Night (Green Integer), a collection of eight years; Zither & Autobiography (Wesleyan University Press), The Tango (Granary Press), Orchid Jetsam (Tuumba), Dahlia’s Iris—Secret Autobiography and Fiction (FC2 Publishers); a reprint of the prose work Defoe (Green Integer); and It’s Go In Quiet Illumined Grass Land (The Post-Apollo Press).


not returning – without there being
anything for them – long times spent
isolated – but wrestling miserably without comprehending
it – but there being love between men and
women – for one thing – not from parents
it’s sort of pushed out
the other side – from such
being serene – but not comprehending
anything about it – having to go down the street to
try to be calm – and separately,
the couples – strolling – there only being love
between men and women
woman – in cart
but then killed for some
reason – by the men shouting
spitting – rubbed with shit – the women having been enslaved after
the war, the men dead – suffering, brutalizing
– humiliated, all of them – the
woman in the cart – as some forgotten
woman – carried off, separated from
the others – their crying to her – some dying
not concentrating on certain wrongs – not having anything
to return to – savage – people who may go after
– others – in the street – so frightened –
and suffering as not the sense of custom or wanting
people finding out what
they are – because they don’t have any
custom any longer – we don’t
not from suffering – though going on
or their finding out, the women having been enslaved
the men dead – custom – suffering
made to be that
children – outside
all crying, as some
game – at once – like birds, or for some
occasion – whaa – hear
from an
apartment – city
not rowers – not written – seen – as being
the bourgeoisie – from a
mentality – not ours
warriors – rowers – on the
blue – sea
– of – rowers
men – on the –
sea – ours – as not
to return to that – more inactive
taking a longer time – and
men – with
chains – in subway
threat – who
are either inactive
as that
the same – as – the
action – rowers – on
the blue – stowaway – being
rowed to the other, freighter –
not from that
not to return to
stowaway, falling in – when
being in the rowboat – going – to the other
freighter – or warriors – rowers – on
the – blue – ocean
with blue hair – some
shaved – ear
rings – nose ring
in subway – from
city – hear
with shaved hair
chains – come in
– subway – as finding out
– suffering – of them – or from– whether
– city – that is
not to return to
the mood – theirs – of people who
happened – to be strolling – embracing
in light – when I was coming to them –
again – as – struggling
which isn’t – their, the couples
– seen – strolling – an
indication of anything – my – and wouldn’t
or wasn’t thought to
be such
not in that –
though it is –
and – held to it
to a man fast
in subway car
– out
sun – driver
of taxi hailing me – who’s walking,
I must look like – someone – who needs – or
would – take – or wants
a taxi
making jokes
– not in that
though it is