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Chris Tysh

Chris Tysh is the author of several collections of poetry and drama, including, most recently, Night Scales (United Artists, 2010) and Molloy: The Flip Side (BlazeVox, 2012). A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and...

Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic

Chris Tysh

Preface by Robert Glück
Cover art by Alice Könitz
Book 2 of 5, TrenchArt Logistics Series
Poetry | $15.00
ISBN 13: 978-1-934254-47-9
Size: 9.25 X 4.25
Pages: 144
Binding: Softcover, Perfect

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In Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic, Chris Tysh newly translates Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs, compressing Jean Genet’s disturbing 1943 novel into cuttingly charged verse. In the blue hours of the Parisian underworld, pimps, drag queens, and butchers in bloody aprons are joined by Divine, Mignon Dainty-Feet, and the young assassin Our Lady, three saintly figures in a forbidden realm of the senses. Tysh cuts Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic into a ghostly song that traces the path from prose to lyric where Divine switches gender and names “as if passing under a scarlet awning.” Suturing sexual otherness to an aching of gendered expectations, Tysh’s cadences embrace postmodernism’s emblematic penchant for all manner of appropriation, and recycling finds a radical iteration in the fashion of fairies, queens, and stool pigeons.

Praise for Our Lady

“…like Genet, Tysh is something of a snake charmer, or the snake itself? — lyricism unfolding kaleidoscopically, extending emotions and meanings, fastening this mouse/reader to the spot.”

–Robert Glück

“In drawing the reader’s attention to Genet’s vibrant language, Tysh has created a new lens in which to view Genet’s work”

Alyse Bensel, Los Angeles Review

“This new translation is a perfect gift for anyone whose innocence you want to steal.”

—Max Fox, Cultural Services of the French Embassy

“’In the game of self-contempt / I’ve become a master.’ In 1967 the middle-aged married men of the Australian Customs Department seized my copy of Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers and burnt it to cinders. Nearly half a century later, US poet Chris Tysh has brought it back from that incineration, petal by petal, stained and transfigured. She has taken the French prose of Our Lady of the Flowers and retranslated it with all its monstrous selfishness into a pale and glowing poetry. There is no philosophy or politics in Genet, just specific acts of thievery and brutality, as well as cupids and altars and betrayals and masturbation made luminous by conversion into metaphor. Tysh has transubstantiated even this. This volume of verse, played over by a flickering ghostly flame, is perhaps the book that Genet meant to write, had he the gift for verse, before the Parisian intellectuals got to him…From pulp novels to the angels in heaven, from sodom to the royal family, from “gloom’s infernal ruckus” to a silent field of flowers, Tysh drags her wounded poem.”

–John Tranter

“Chris Tysh has taken Genet’s work and made something completely new out of it.”

—J.T. Maheny, Three Percent

“Tysh’s deft enjambments quickly and gracefully lead us to ‘an elsewhere so real’ as she creates—or rather transcreates—a ‘temporary bridge’ between our world and Genet’s.”

Michael Leong, Hyperallergic