June 23, 2013

at Timken Hall, California College of the Arts
1111 8th Street, San Francisco CA

event begins at 5pm
reading starts at 5:30pm

The Leslie Scalapino Lecture in Innovative Poetics is an annual lecture series with a focus on critical analysis of innovative poetry, essays, plays, and cross-genre work primarily by women poets. The Series invites contemporary writers to present their work in the spirit exemplified by Scalapino’s own critical writing and editorial vision as publisher of O Books.


Petah Coyne is a contemporary American sculptor and photographer. Some of her works are in the permanent collections of museums and galleries such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Corcoran Gallery of Art,and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Her most recent solo exhibition at the Mass MoCA (May 29, 2010) features large-scale mixed-media sculptures along with silver gelatin print photographs. Coyne layers wax-soaked materials such as pearls, ribbons and silk flowers into large sculptural forms, often incorporating taxidermy birds and animals.
“The works in this largest retrospective of the artist’s work to date range from her earlier and more abstract sculptures using industrial materials to newer works made of delicate wax. All of Coyne’s works take inspiration from personal stories, film, literature and political events. Coyne takes these sources and applies a Baroque sense of decadent refinement, imbuing her work with a magical quality to evoke intensely personal associations. Together these diverse yet intimately connected periods of Coyne’s practice make evident an evolution, which highlights the artist’s own blend of symbolism alongside an innovative use of materials including black sand, car parts, wax, satin ribbons, trees, silk flowers, and taxidermy.”
- Mass MoCA
According to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
“Coyne belongs to a generation of sculptors—many of them women—who came of age in the late 1980s and forever changed the muscular practice of sculpture with their new interest in nature and a penchant for painstaking craftsmanship, domestic references and psychological metaphor.”

Unforgiven sculpture by Petah Coyne
“So that’s what I’m trying to do with the white wax pieces I’m doing now – they’re about those times that are almost perfect but not quite. You go searching to meet them again, and you’re all excited, and it’s never quite the same – but you always have the memory. So it’s not just about people passing, it’s more about friendships that have gone awry or people who have strayed. Just basically, humanity. That’s what all these pieces are about.

I wanted to shift away from black, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I began to work with Irene Hultman. We did this whole installation, half black, half white, and there was also a performance in which she wore the pieces, or her dancers did. A lot of them come out of hat shapes or chandeliers. The wax is not a normal wax, it’s made by a chemist so that it won’t melt except at very high temperatures. It can get up to 180 degrees before it melts. In the summer my studio can get up to 120, 125, and in the winter I don’t have heat so it’s very cold. So these pieces have to be able to freeze.”
- Petah Coyne March 24, 1994. In her studio, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Coyne was born in Oklahoma City in 1953. She lives and works in New York and New Jersey.


Leslie Scalapino (July 25, 1944 – May 28, 2010) was born in Santa Barbara, California and raised in Berkeley. She traveled throughout her youth and adulthood to Asia, Africa and Europe — including Tibet, Bhutan, Japan, India, Mongolia, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere — and her writing was intensely influenced by these experiences. She published her first book, O and Other Poems, in 1976. In 1986, she founded O Books, dedicated to publishing innovative works by young and emerging poets, as well as prominent and established writers. She also taught writing for nearly 25 years at various institutions, including Bard College (16 years in the MFA program), Mills College, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the California College of Arts in San Francisco. She lived with Tom White, her husband and friend of 35 years, in Oakland, CA until her death in 2010.

Scalapino is the author of thirty books of poetry, prose inter-genre-fiction, plays, and essays. In 2010, the year of her death, she published five books: The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom (The Post-Apollo Press); Flow-Winged Crocodile and A Pair / Actions Are Erased / Appear (Chax Press), two plays published in one volume; The Animal is in the World like Water in Water (Granary Books); a collaboration between Scalapino and artist Kiki Smith; and Floats Horse-Floats or Horse-Flows (Starcherone Books), which is a pair, or preceding volume, to The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom. This same year, she also released a second edition of Crowd and not evening or light (O Books). Scalapino’s It’s go in horizontal/Selected Poems, 1974-2006 was published by University of California Press at Berkeley in 2008. Other books of Scalapino’s poetry include Day Ocean State of Stars’ Night (Green Integer), a collection of eight years of writing; Zither & Autobiography (Wesleyan University Press); The Tango (Granary Press), a collaboration with artist Marina Adams; Orchid Jetsam (Tuumba); Dahlia’s Iris—Secret Autobiography and Fiction (FC2 Publishers); a reprint of the prose work Defoe by Green Integer; and It’s go in/quiet illumined grass/land (The Post-Apollo Press). A revised and dynamically expanded version of her essay book How Phenomena Appear to Unfold (originally published by Potes & Poets in 1989) was published by Litmus Press in May 2011.

For more information about Leslie Scalapino, please visit lesliescalapino.com

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