On Reading Leslie Scalapino’s The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom

I mentioned the difficulty of reading Leslie Scalapino’s wordfall, The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom, to Lindsey Boldt, who published the book with Post Apollo Press. She responded generously, saying

I agree that Scalapino’s work can feel very difficult, and this book I think feels especially daunting. Its prose is incredibly tangled and slippery to an almost maddening degree, which is what makes it so taxing but also so rewarding. I felt really anxious when I first sat down to read it and really fought to understand it on a sense-meaning level. I don’t think I’d faced such a literary challenge since college. I finally caved at some point and just let it turn into a sensory experience, which turned out to be really fun.

Certainly that’s an adequate and lovely review in itself, though it hardly matches the book’s blurbs: Fanny Howe calls it a “mystical vision” and Charles Bernstein said the book “is an ekphrastic implosion inside our severed human-body/animal-mind.” Talk about whoa! Michael McClure said the book comes from the “spagyric hinterlands of purest imagination,” and Etel Adnan called it our Divine Comedy but with “more humanity and more derision.”

So how is it that these syntactically dense word sets come to matter? Continue reading “On Reading Leslie Scalapino’s The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom