Introductions for Stephanie Young & George Tysh

Stephanie Young lives and works in Oakland. Her books of poetry are Picture Palace (in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, 2008) and Telling the Future Off (Tougher Disguises, 2005). She edited the anthology Bay Poetics (Faux Press, 2006) and her most recent editorial project is Deep Oakland.

I’m probably not the only person in this room who first discovered the poetry blog through Stephanie Young’s highly esteemed The Well-Nourished Moon. She is also the first person I knew of to post photographs of poets and readings on the internet and the first person to make my name appear on the internet, which gave me the feeling that I had somehow “made it” and led to a period of unhinged self-searching – but more than anything, I realized that poetical loneliness would never be the same, that poets are social, if awkward, people, and this new technological engagement could and would facilitate collective experience / what I know today as my community.

Her most recent book, Picture Palace, called “an anti-lyric-memoir-sob”, engages with autobiography “as a process rather than a product” (that’s Stan Apps in ON 2). Apps points out that in traditional memoir “the reader is not mired by language” – however, Young sees the state of being overwhelmed by language as a prerequisite for something to happen to her person and by extension the person of the reader. This is not a poet who would never “unfairly limit us to description” especially when writing about the several that we are (to paraphrase Bachelard) in our trial lives in childhood, or the complexity of the kinds of interconnectivity and solitude we seek as adults. Please welcome Stephanie to the Poetry Project.

George Tysh was born in Passaic, NJ, and educated in Detroit. In Paris in the ’60s, he edited Blue Pig with poet David Ball, and collaborated with conceptual artists Christian Boltanski and Sarkis. From 1980 to 1991, he directed LINES: New Writing at the Detroit Institute of Arts, a series that brought more than 300 authors to read and discuss their works in the Motor City, and (with poet Chris Tysh) edited In Camera, a project devoted to works of the sexual imaginary. His latest collection, The Imperfect (United Artists Books), completes a sequence that includes Ovals (In Camera) and Echolalia (United Artists Books). Currently, he teaches at the Roeper School in Birmingham, MI.

In the book Dream Sites, George Tysh responds to the Dieter Roth drawing “2 Times 5 Trophies” – a drawing that shows a Rorschach-like blot, a bust of 2 facing each other with speech balloons springing from their heads each containing the word “trophy” – with the lines “Poetry / dreams up / its own rewards”. The rewards of Tysh’s poetry are here apparent in his rigor, concision and wit.

The content of his new book The Imperfect is on one hand less overtly erotic than Echolalia, on the other hand, he, always “very hot brain” (to quote Bob Holman) comes to achieve eros in language itself, through craft. There are few poets who are as wildly successful at allowing poetry to lead “to the same place as all forms of eroticism—to the blending and fusion of separate objects” (That’s Bataille). Tysh appeals to our senses, which of course means our bodies, eyes, ears and tongues, with linguistic fusions such as “sees / it seize / my inner seas.” And mustache / must ache / mind over matter in / a body of thought”. Please welcome George to the Poetry Project.