Lisa Samuels has written thirteen books of poetry and prose, with recent experiments in memoir (Anti M, Chax 2013) and the novel (Tender Girl, Dusie 2015). Her editing work includes the critical edition of Laura Riding’s Anarchism Is Not Enough (California 2001) and A TransPacific Poetics (Litmus 2016, with Sawako Nakayasu), and her essays include a new chapbook, Over Hear: six types of poetry experiment in Aotearoa/New Zealand (TinFish 2015). Her poetry appears in anthologies such as Out of Everywhere 2 (Reality Street 2015) and has inspired scholarly essays and musical scores internationally. A U.S.-born transnational writer, Lisa has lived since 2006 in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where she is Associate Professor at the University of Auckland. Her current projects include Symphony for Human Transport (poetry), The Long White Cloud of Unknowing (prose), and the essay collection Imagining What We Don’t Know. Some of her writings and recordings are archived with the Electronic Poetry Center, pennsound, and elsewhere.
“In the Comte de Lautréamont's Les Chants de Maldoror (1868), the hero copulates with a female shark in the frenzied sea of a shipwreck. Tender Girl invents a daughter as the offspring of that coupling. A visceral Little Mermaid, Girl comes out from ocean and crosses the land of the father, finding speech, sex, law, violence, and art.”
So begins the front matter for Tender Girl, a “poet’s novel” I wrote over a period of five years because the inciting idea riveted my attention. I wanted to think about how it feels to be a humanimal ruptured from one medium to another, and I wanted to give words to a kind of non-normative consciousness that anyone can have in surprising encounters with a world of violence and love. Girl’s body respires and reacts in events that are both picaresque and simultaneous. Her being doesn’t know time.