Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic
by Chris Tysh
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.