Since our gods and our aspirations are no longer anything but
scientific, why shouldn’t our loves be so too? In place of that Eve of
the forgotten legend despised and discredited by Science,
I offer you a scientific Eve…
— L’Eve Future, Villiers de L’Isle-Adam
Let us obtain from science
an equation for love. Give her
silver skin, impregnable
armour. Let Hadaly’s lungs
be golden phonographs, programmed
with great works of art. Let her save
Simple minded men
from the rouge pots
of their deceptive mistresses.
Let this innocent facsimile
replace false, mediocre
with her enchanting, ever-
our electric phantom, our
'Hadaly' (1886) is largely composed of phrases found in Villiers de L’Isle-Adam’s 1886 novel L’Eve Future, translated by Robert Martin Adams (University of IllinoisPress, 1988). This poem comes from a sequence ‘A short history of automata’ which appears in Husk, Chris’ first book published by Auckland University Press. The author of the novel Tomorrow’s Eve (in which the ‘character’ of Hadaly appears), Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, later became the subject of the long essay ‘Variable Stars’ in Chris’ genre-crossing work Brief Lives.
I love the way Chris explores science and technology in unexpected ways. I’m very interested in representations of women as cyborgs and androids, usually that takes place in futuristic writing but here Chris looks to the past, which is a pleasing turn-around for me as a reader. Also the fact that it is a found poem reflects the constructed nature of automata in a most satisfying way!
Read a biography of Chris Price here.
Helen Heath, this week's editor, is a poet and blogger based in New Zealand. In 2009 she completed an MA in creative writing at Victoria University. Her poetry has been published in many journals in New Zealand and Australia. Visit Helen’s Blog and the other Tuesday Poets using our blog list to your right.