Outrunning the Destruction of the World

Leslie Scalapino 1944-2010 - See the Electronic Poetry Center
with a multitude of links to her work, interviews, audio files of readings and many tributes & remembrances.

From Lyn Hejinian, "Leslie Scalapino Remembered": Leslie's work was a manifestation of what she termed "continual conceptual rebellion." "Continual conceptual rebellion" is a means of outrunning the forces that would re-form (conventionalize) one. If you stay in one place too long you'll be taken over—either by your own fixating ideas or by those of others. To survive one must always be outrunning what she called "the destruction of the world." Read the essay.

In another essay Hejinian writes,

"What I’ve called outracing or voyaging without end might aptly also be termed learning without end or, better, outlearning. As Scalapino sees it, one must (constantly and relentlessly) outlearn what one has been (and is being) taught. One inhabits a culture and is taught that it is the universe and one’s own. To go to and then return from a different culture drives a wedge into that universe. The sensation that Scalapino’s writing is wedged into the contemporary American version of the universe is accurate; she wants us to outlearn it, to outrace it." Read the essay, "Figuring Out".

I suggest it useful to consider the differences & similarities between Scalapino's work and the task Henry Corbin left us: to struggle to see through the opacity of every idol & learn to perceive the iconic light flowing through them. Corbin said, “Others have spoken of the necessity of a 'permanent revolution,' I preach the necessity of a 'permanent hermeneutics.’ ” - Now, how to think about the Angel and ta'wil.

Photo by Charles Bernstein


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