Chris Tysh was born and raised in Paris, and studied American literature at the Sorbonne. Her books include: Allen Ginsberg, a critical study, was published in Paris by Editions Seghers in the series “Poètes d’Aujourd’hui”; Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic (Les Figues Press); Molloy: The Flip Side (BlazeVOX [books]); Night Scales: A Fable for Klara K (United Artists Books); Cleavage (Roof Books, 2004); Continuity Girl (United Artists Books, 2000); In the Name (Past Tents Press, 1994); and Coat of Arms. Her Motor City drama, car men, a play in d, was staged at the Detroit Institute of Arts under the direction of Carla Harryman in 1996. She is a 2003 National Endowment for the Arts fellow. She teaches writing and women’s studies at Wayne State University in Detroit.
“These are poems of a rare and exquisite composure. A sonorous, achingly precise cry from the heart, an antidote to “mock the grotesque braggadocio. Chris Tysh has drawn her sword..."
These are poems of a rare and exquisite composure. A sonorous, achingly precise cry from the heart, an antidote to “mock the grotesque braggadocio. Chris Tysh has drawn her sword, and it is a weapon of great beauty: razor sharp and shimmering, a thing that cuts to the quick.” -Paul Auster
“The very fact that we call heraldic symbols 'devices' makes them vulnerable to another realm - the poetic - where prerogatives can (and, as Chris Tysh believes, should) be rethought and ultimately dispersed. Tysh’s writing doesn’t say we shouldn’t be somewhere, but it acts out a being there in a different (gorgeous and unpunishing) way.” -Lyn Hejinian
Hotel des Archives is a trilogy of books consisting of verse recastings from the French novels of Beckett, Genet and Duras. Synchronous with postmodernism's aesthetics of appropriation, détournement, sampling and other intertextual strategies, the project operates a double shift of genre and language....
Hotel des Archives is a trilogy of books consisting of verse recastings from the French novels of Beckett, Genet and Duras. Synchronous with postmodernism's aesthetics of appropriation, détournement, sampling and other intertextual strategies, the project operates a double shift of genre and language, since she moves from the original French and from prose to lyric. These transcreations, as Tysh has been calling them, allow her to forsake the traditional mode of self-expression in favor of one that "translates" other cultural materials, creating an artistic network beyond boundaries and temporalities.
In Molloy, the Flip Side, she uses the French language in which Samuel Beckett wrote his novel Molloy to guide her into finding a contemporary American vernacular through which the hapless narrator speaks. Her three-line stanza formation compresses Beckett’s diegetic universe, sparse as it is, and allows her to link the two texts through the projection of a new, speaking subject — a funny, witty, old and disabled bum, going slowly nowhere.
In Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic, Jean Genet's 1943 disturbing elegy for social heterogeneity, she attempts to find a poetic equivalent with which to evoke Divine, Mignon-Dainty-Feet, and the young assassin, Our Lady, three saintly figures in a forbidden realm of the senses. The seven-line stanzas of my Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic are spacious enough to accommodate the narrative arc, while foregrounding their lyrical impact.
Her third transcreation flows from the novel The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein by Marguerite Duras, the celebrated author of the Hiroshima Mon Amour screenplay and winner of the Goncourt Prize for The Lover. In this type of relational poetics, she strives to maintain the narrative spaces and affects, while finding a new set of porous networks – lyrical trajectories that pass through various signposts of the text.
Chris Tysh reads in, around, and through Molloy in this ingenious transformation of Beckett’s French prose into compulsively vernacular English tercets. The narrative echoes in Molloy: The Flip Side make for an unsettling familiarity, spiked with the verbal equivalent of dark chocolate and homemade rum.
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.
Chris Tysh’s gorgeous transcreation of Marguerite Duras’s haunted and haunting early novel draws out the lyricism of the text’s emotional algebra almost in the way one might draw poison from a wound. In Tysh’s condensed explorations of betrayal, voyeurism, and imitative desire, one finds a further textual ravishment—a lushly articulated response to Duras’s original that captures both the calculated and explosive qualities of its cry.