Transpiration/Transpiring was published by Leslie Scalapino’s O Books divided into three sections: Minnesota, Transpiration/Transpiring, and What I Believe. The pages are presented as loose sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch heavy-weight copier paper in a specially printed box with interleaves of bright green card-stock separating the three sections.
Grenier’s text is a form of love poem comprised of three parts. In the first part, “What I Believe,” the poet addresses Kathleen Frumkin; in the second part “Transpiration Transpiring,” he makes “a little magic book” to endeavor to imagine “what else is in the world,” and is cast on transformation itself, “only hope” in which this literal shape is the form of the world (such as in the drawing of the moon as a skull with the writing scrawled in that space “I’ll try to draw the Moon last night it was like this”).
The finding of the world is the writing of shapes , moving to the (horizon) recognition that there are “no end to shapes” or translations in the word/world.
The third section, “Minnesota,” constitutes a movement of integration in sound and shape, rising to a love poem to a loon (moon) and the loon’s love song to the moon. The latter occur on split double-reflecting pages in a simplicity of beauty arrived at only by the prior process of the (going there) decipherment of the handwriting.
Praise for What I Believe
Robert Grenier’s “scrawl” is comparable to Stan Brakhage’s films which Brakhage described as poems. Grenier’s “book” is drawing, which has no other translation (“reading”) than its pictorial being (“shape”)… [The poems] just exist in that space, which is also “non-translatable” (in the sense of an act of politics) as not graphic or “fine art” in its material or technique… These poems are an attempt to have the “word” (“world”) read as “world” (“word”) as a form or “societal function” or love.
— Leslie Scalapino