Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Leslie Scalapino Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 668
Mandeville Special Collections Library
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Language of Material:
44.27 Linear feet
110 archives boxes and 2 oversize folders
Date (inclusive): 1982 - 2011
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and unpublished literary works including collaborative projects and talks given at various conferences. The papers also include
production materials for books published by O Books; audio and videorecordings of spoken word events and play performances;
and miscellaneous biographical material including interviews, photographs, and reading announcement flyers.
Scope and Content of Collection
ACCESSION PROCESSED 2008
The Leslie Scalapino Papers reflect the literary and editorial career of an editor, poet, and experimental prose writer associated
with the "Language School" poetry movement. Materials include correspondence with the scholarly and poetry community; manuscript,
typescript, and pre-publication materials of Scalapino's published and unpublished works, essays, plays, and talks given at
various conferences; and collaborative writings. The papers also contain a selection of published work by O Books including
monographs and anthologies. In addition, the materials also contain video and audiorecordings, interviews, with Scalapino
reading annoucements, and book reviews. The papers are arranged in eleven series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) PUBLISHED WORKS BY
LESLIE SCALAPINO, 3) PLAYS BY LESLIE SCALAPINO, 4) ESSAYS WRITTEN BY OR ABOUT LESLIE SCALAPINO, 5) COLLABORATIONS, 6) OTHER
WRITINGS BY LESLIE SCALAPINO, 7) TALKS GIVEN BY LESLIE SCALAPINO, 8) O BOOKS, 9) AUDIORECORDINGS, 10) VIDEORECORDINGS, and
11) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS.
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series, arranged alphabetically, contains letters both to and from prominent poets and scholars. Notable
correspondents include Charles Bernstein, Ted Berrigan, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Robert Creeley, Clayton Eshleman, Lyn Hejinian,
Susan Howe, Bernadette Mayer, Alice Notley, Jerome Rothenberg, Ron Silliman, and Anne Waldman. Typescript manuscript attachments
of writings for individual authors are included.
SERIES 2: PUBLISHED WORKS BY LESLIE SCALAPINO
Arranged by date of publication, the PUBLISHED WORKS series consists of notebooks with handwritten drafts, typescript drafts,
edited drafts, page proofs, and galley materials for twenty-three collected poetry and prose works by Leslie Scalapino from
1978-2006. This includes second edition materials for a few titles. The papers are arranged within the folders in the order
of the publication production workflow.
SERIES 3: PLAYS BY LESLIE SCALAPINO
In addition to poetry and prose, Scalapino wrote for live theatrical performance. Any of which are published within collected
works as poetry. The materials are arranged chronologically and include typescript drafts, playscripts, working scores, performance
announcement programs and, photographs.
SERIES 4: ESSAYS WRITTEN BY OR ABOUT LESLIE SCALAPINO
This series includes essays written by Scalapino and critical commentaries on Scalapino's work written by others. The works,
both published and unpublished, are arranged alphabetically by title.
SERIES 5: COLLABORATIONS
The COLLABORATIONS series contains typescript drafts for poetry collaborations that Scalapino authored with Lyn Hejinian,
Hearing (1998) and
Sight (1999); and
Stone Marmalade (The Dreamed Title) (1996) with Kevin Killian.
SERIES 6: OTHER WRITINGS BY LESLIE SCALAPINO
The OTHER WRITINGS* series is arranged in three subseries: A) Works in Progress, B) Unpublished Works, and C) Miscellaneous.
A) Scalapino's Works in Progress, arranged alphabetically by title, are typescripts, notebooks with handwritten drafts, and
notes for unfinished or in-progress poetry works.
B) The Unpublished Works subseries contains typescript drafts including annotations of essays, fiction, and poetry.
C) The Miscellaneous subseries contains Scalapino's notes on writing, reviews of other writers authored by Scalapino, and
various untitled works.
*Please note: Some of these materials were works in progress or unpublished at the time that they were accessioned and currently
are published material.
SERIES 7: TALKS GIVEN BY LESLIE SCALAPINO
The TALKS series, arranged alphabetically by title, contains conference lectures given between 1992-2005. Included are typescripts
SERIES 8: O BOOKS
O BOOKS specialized in innovative and contemporary poetry, prose, essays, and plays. The series is arranged in three subseries:
A) Individual Published Works, B) Anthologies, and C) Unsolicited Manuscripts.
A) In the Individual Published Works subseries are materials related to poetry published and edited by O Books including authors,
Ted Berrigan, Michael Coffey, Robert Grenier, P. Inman, Michael McClure, Alice Notley, and Stephen Ratcliffe. For each title,
arranged alphabetically by author, typescript drafts, page proofs, and handwritten drafts are included.
B) The production materials for five Anthologies represent the second subseries, arranged alphabetically by title. Leslie
Scalapino was the principal editor, along with Rick London for
Basta Assez Enough (2003),
O-One/Two (1988/1991), and
War and Peace 1 and 2 (2004/2005). The materials consist of typescript drafts, page proofs, correspondence, and galley proofs.
C) Scalapino received many Unsolicited Manuscripts from various individuals in the poetry community. These are manuscripts
unpublished by O Books. The manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by author and include submissions from Alan Davies, Lyn
Hejinian, and Aaron Shurin.
SERIES 9: AUDIORECORDINGS
The AUDIORECORDINGS series contains selected spoken word recorded readings and interviews by Leslie Scalapino and others.
SERIES 10: VIDEORECORDINGS
The VIDEORECORDINGS are mainly recorded performances of plays by Leslie Scalapino and spoken word readings.
SERIES 11: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series is arranged in two subseries: A) Interviews and B) Miscellaneous.
A) The Interviews subseries features published and unpublished articles on Scalapino from 1988-2001. Notable interviews include
Laura Hinton's interview with Lyn Hejinian and Leslie Scalapino conducted in 1993.
B) The Miscellaneous materials subseries, alphabetically arranged by folder title, includes articles about Scalapino, photographs,
reading announcements from 1988-2004, resumes, and the program for the 9th Annual American Book Award awarded in 1989.
ACCESSION PROCESSED 2011
The accession processed in 2011 supplements the first accession and includes primarily correspondence, notebooks, and writings
by Leslie Scalapino, as well as O Books manuscripts. The bulk of the materials date from 1989 through 2010. The papers are
arranged in five series: 12) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 13) CORRESPONDENCE, 14) WRITINGS, 15) WRITINGS ABOUT LESLIE SCALAPINO
and 16) O BOOKS.
SERIES 12: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series includes three subseries: A)Miscellaneous, B) Interviews and C) Notebooks. Included in this
series are applications, appointment books, curriculum vitaes and materials relating to Leslie's memorial. This material ranges
from 1990 through 2010.
SERIES 13: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series is arranged alphabetically, and contains letters both to and from poets, scholars, editors and others.
Some notable correspondents include Rae Armantrout, Charles Bernstein, Michael Cross, Alan Davies, Judith Goldman, Lyn Hejinian,
Michael McClure, and Alice Notley. Also included is correspondence relating to the estate of Philip Whalen and letters of
condolence to Leslie's husband Tom White regarding her passing.
SERIES 14: WRITINGS
The WRITINGS series is arranged in six subseries: A) Books, B) Plays, C) Essays, D) Collaborations, E) Other Writings and
F) Other Projects. Books are arranged by date of publication and consist of typescript drafts, edited drafts, page proofs,
and galley materials for twenty one collected poetry and prose works by Leslie Scalapino from 1985 - 2011. Plays are arranged
chronologically and include typescript drafts, playscripts, working scores, cover art and some photographs. Drafts of sixteen
essays, mostly undated, are included in the Essays subseries and are arranged alphabetically by title. Leslie also collaborated
with other notable poets. Five works are included in the subseries Collaborations and include works with Lyn Hejinian, E.
Tracy Grinnell, Judith Goldman and Michael McClure. Other Writings include works not published as books, plays or essays,
and untitled handwritten drafts and notes on index cards. Other Projects includes Scalapino's readings and literary announcements,
reviews of her work and teaching materials.
SERIES 15: WRITINGS ABOUT LESLIE SCALAPINO
The WRITINGS ABOUT LESLIE SCALAPINO series includes other authors' writing about Scalapino or commentary about her work. Materials
include writings by Patricia Pruitt, Lisa Samuels, perspectives from attendees at a workshop on Scalapino and Poetics at University
of Pennsyvania, Alan Davies, Paul Vangelisti and Catherine Wagner.
SERIES 16: O BOOKS
The O BOOKS Series includes materials from 1989 through 2011 and contains O Books published writings edited by Leslie Scalapino,
and are arranged in three subseries: A) Office Files, B) Individual Works and C) Anthologies. Individual works, arranged in
alphbetical order by author include manuscripts by Alicia Cohen, Judith Goldman, E. Tracy Grinnell, Amy Evans McClure and
others. Included in the subserise Anthologies are drafts of
War and Peace 3 - The Future and
What is the Outside?: O/Two An Anthology and book announcement and artwork for
War and Peace 4 - Vision and Text. Also included in this series are O Books grant applications, book announcements, readings, reviews and early subscription
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 thoughout 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
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,
the 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.
Leslie Scalapino Papers, MSS 668. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Master audio and videocassettes and reel-to-reel recordings in Series 9 and 10 are restricted. Researchers must request a
listening copy to be produced.
Publishing rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Davies, Alan, 1951-
Levy, Andrew, 1962-
Silliman, Ronald, 1946-
American poetry--20th century
Women poets, American