How Phenomena Appear to Unfold

Leslie Scalapino

1989 • Poetry
(Potes and Poets Press Publications)
Expanded and revised in 2011 by Litmus Press.

Purchase from Small Press Distribution

“Where critics used to debate, as if it were a real thing, a difference between form and content, so now they would separate ““theory” from “practice,” and thus divide a poet from his or her own intentions and poetry from its motives. But in fact poetic language might be precisely a thinking about thinking, a form of introspection and inspection within the unarrested momentum of experience, that makes the polarization of theory and practice as irrelevant as that of form and content, mentality and physicality, art and reality. Leslie Scalapino is one of a certain number of contemporary poets who have engaged in the struggle, not against distinctions but against the reification of false oppositions. Her work, in her volumes of poetry and in the collection here, is a thinking and a thinking about that, including small details and larger continua; these essays (works) are an essential testament to poetry and to its embodiment and the book is an important contribution to the singularity and wholeness of her project.”
—Lyn Hejinian

“Everything conceives of what Leslie does. It’s one of the functions of literature to take us in and out of time. She writes directly at the subject from inside it. Remembering forgets even itself when taken out of time.”
—Alan Davies

“Leslie Scalapino’s writing is grounded in a singular and acute critical intelligence. It is work which challenges the conventional limits of genre and subject, even as it interrogates the surfaces and spaces of everyday life, revealing the simultaneity of the “floating” – or hidden – world beneath. The essays and plays collected here represent a richly imaginative extension of that exploratory project.”
—Michael Palmer


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).