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Leslie Scalapino Papers
MSS 0668  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Publishing Rights
  • Restrictions

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Leslie Scalapino Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0668
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: English
    Physical Description: 49.5 Linear feet (116 archives boxes, 1 flat box, 3 card file boxes and 9 oversize folders)
    Date: 1959 - 2011
    Abstract: Papers of Leslie Scalapino, Bay Area poet, scholar, experimental prose writer and founding editor of O Books, an Oakland, California publisher. The collection contains correspondence with other prominent poets and writers, typescripts of published and unpublished literary works, and talks given at various conferences. The papers also include production materials for books published by O Books; sound and video recordings of spoken word events and play performances; and miscellaneous biographical material including interviews, photographs, and reading announcement flyers.
    Creator: Scalapino, Leslie

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Papers of Leslie Scalapino, Bay Area poet, scholar, experimental prose writer and founding editor of O Books, an Oakland, California publisher. The collection contains correspondence with other prominent poets and writers, typescripts of published and unpublished literary works, and talks given at various conferences. The papers also include production materials for books published by O Books; sound and video recordings of spoken word events and play performances; and miscellaneous biographical material including interviews, photographs, and reading announcement flyers.
    Accession Processed in 2008
    Arranged in eleven series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) PUBLISHED WORKS BY SCALAPINO, 3) PLAYS BY SCALAPINO, 4) ESSAYS WRITTEN BY OR ABOUT SCALAPINO, 5) COLLABORATIONS, 6) OTHER WRITINGS, 7) TALKS GIVEN BY SCALAPINO, 8) O BOOKS, 9) SOUND RECORDINGS, 10) VIDEO RECORDINGS, and 11) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS.
    Accession Processed in 2011
    Supplements to the first accession; primarily correspondence, notebooks, and writings by Leslie Scalapino, as well as O Books manuscripts. The bulk of the materials date from 1989 through 2010.
    Arranged in five series: 12) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 13) CORRESPONDENCE, 14) WRITINGS, 15) WRITINGS ABOUT SCALAPINO and 16) O BOOKS.
    Accession Processed in 2015
    Additional biographical materials, correspondence, and memorial materials including readings and tributes. Of note are additional manuscripts for That They Were at the Beach - Aeolotropic series and Crowd and not evening or light.
    Arranged in six series: 17) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 18) CORRESPONDENCE, 19) WRITINGS, 20) WRITINGS ABOUT SCALAPINO, 21) O BOOKS and 22) MEDIA.

    Biography

    Leslie Scalapino was born in Santa Barbara, California, in 1944 to singer Dee Jessen and political science professor Robert Scalapino, founder of UC Berkeley's Institute for Asian Studies. Because of her father's academic focus in the politics of Asia, Scalapino traveled throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe at an early age. Her later work reflects some influence from these travels including meditation on Zen writing and Tibetan philosophy. In the 1960s, she attended Reed College, graduating in 1966. Her graduate studies in writing continued at the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a M.A. in English (1969), after which she began to focus on writing poetry.
    Scalapino's work evokes radical reaction to the human condition beyond the traditional means of expression. Her work is metaphorically often compared to Gertrude Stein and the experimental poetry associated with the Language poets. Unbound by a single format, she published poetry, fiction, critical essays, and plays. Her work has been published in many poetry and academic journals since the 1970s, and she participated in numerous conferences, including the Page Mothers Conference held at UCSD in 1999, that explored innovative writing by American women. Her long poem titled Way won the Poetry Center Award, the Lawrence Lipton Prize, and the American Book Award in 1989.
    In 1986, Scalapino founded O Books, which operated out of Oakland, as a publishing outlet for younger and emerging writers, but also for prominent writers such as Alice Notley, Robert Grenier, Fanny Howe, Carla Harryman, and Tom Raworth. Her self-published works with O Books include Crowd and Not Evening or Light: A Poem (1992) and War and Peace 3 (2007) with Judith Goldman. As a press, O Books has published nearly a hundred contemporary poetry books.
    Scalapino served as a faculty member at San Francisco State University, Mills College, University of California, San Diego, California College of the Arts in San Francisco, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Naropa Institute, and Bard College.
    Leslie Scalapino died on May 28th, 2010. A memorial was held for her on July 1st, 2010 at The Green Dragon Temple, Green Gulch Farm in San Francisco.
    From Cohen, Alicia, "Leslie Scalapino 1947 -, " Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, 1st ed. (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2001), 647-648.

    Preferred Citation

    Leslie Scalapino Papers, MSS 0668. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 2006, 2011, 2014.

    Publishing Rights

    Publishing rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Restrictions

    Original sound and videorecordings in Series 9 and 10 are restricted. Digital media in Series 22 is restricted. Researchers may request listening/viewing copies be produced in advance.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Davies, Alan, 1951- -- Correspondence
    Grenier, Robert -- Correspondence
    Hejinian, Lyn -- Correspondence
    Levy, Andrew, 1962- -- Correspondence
    O Books. -- Archives
    Scalapino, Leslie -- Archives
    Shein, Keith -- Correspondence
    Silliman, Ronald, 1946- -- Correspondence
    American poetry -- 20th century
    Women poets, American