Rental Format(s): 35mm film

'way' - 68 minutes, 35mm, color/sound (from 16mm, DAT audio and various video sources), 2013
Text and voice: Leslie Scalapino
Image and montage: Konrad Steiner

Leslie Scalapino's poem 'way' is composed of six parts. The film 'way' consists of a soundtrack of Leslie reading her poem and six accompanying films, made in the manner of lyrics set to music.

The four 35mm reels contain the six parts as follows

reel 1 Titles and part one "walking by" (CGI graphics and stills)
reel 2 parts two and three "bum series" (16mm orig.) and "The Floating series" (PAL video orig.)
reel 3 parts four and five "Delay series" (PAL video orig.) and "noh setting" (downloaded web video)
reel 4 part six and end credits "hoofer" (processed DVD excerpts) and end credits

Note on the film:

The project was to create in cinematic space, where images are synchronized to speech, but in a way for visual and verbal work to interact without subordinating one to the other. On one level the film is composed of gestures of illustration and description, echo and abstraction between poem and montage, joining them by topic, rhythm, color, locale, etc. The sequence, phrasing and flow of these gestures creates a counterpoint of text and image the audience can follow or simply watch. On another level a spectator may more opely associate how the poem radiates images to the mind, other than what is shown, or how the montage suggests language to describe itself, alternate to what the poem says. In this way the mind can feel itself moving with the world.

The film begins with a scrolling title, Leslie's epigraph to the book, which is a quote from physicist David Bohm's Causality and Chance in Modern Physics. This text stands as a philosophical reflection that informs the poem and the film in turn. It considers the paradoxical view that all things and beings undergo constant transformation and redefinition, even to the extent of ceasing to be identical with themselves over time.

We recorded Leslie reading the entire book in March 2000 at her home in Oakland. That recording (including environmental background sound) forms the soundtrack to the film. The image material was gathered from 16mm film and video taken in public and private spaces in San Francisco, digital imagery from DVD and internet sources, and computer generated animation. That material is formed into a montage in six distinct styles, changing with evolution of the poem's own prosody.

Previews of most of the film are available at:


About the poet:

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.

Scalapino is the author of thirty books of poetry, prose inter-genre-fiction, plays, and essays. She published her first book, O and Other Poems, in 1976. way the book-length poem presented in this film, was published in 1988. 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).

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.

Rental Fees

35mm film $250.00  

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