It's Go in Horizontal: Selected Poems, 1974–2006

Leslie Scalapino, Author . Univ. of California $16.95 (241p) ISBN 978-0-520-25462-6 ISBN 978-0-520-25461-9

Most often classified with the language poets, Scalapino is shown in this welcome overview to have developed a distinctive idiom, as fresh and powerful here as when first published in 14 mostly small press editions. Scalapino fuses a richly detached Buddhist mindfulness with an algorithmically precise disjunctive syntax to explore sex, gender and violence—their politics and their moment-to-moment embodiedness. The longish, serial form that she favors works well in the selected format when the poems are presented in full. Highlights include the title piece from Considering how exaggerated music is (1982), which relates a set of attitudes toward others shocking in its blank frankness, and “The Floating Series,” from 1988's Way , which turns an act of intercourse into a stop-motion tour-de-force, as if filmed by Muybridge and analyzed by Lacan. Many other poems appear in excerpt, with results that can be frustrating—as with the poetically captioned photographs of Crowd or Not Evening or Light (1992) or “ 'Can't' Is 'Night' ” (from 2007's Day Ocean State of Stars' Night )—but only because one wants to see the works resolve. Readers of Bernadette Mayer, Alice Notley or Ai who haven't discovered Scalapino should use this volume to do so. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Paperback - 241 pages - 978-0-520-25462-6
Open Ebook - 257 pages - 978-0-520-94155-7
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