Poems presents four unpublished poems by American writer and actress Zoë Lund (1962–1999), written in the 1980s. An incandescent voice emerges, revealing the might, sincerity, and precision of her expression, as well as her vulnerability and defiance in the face of death. This is the first publication dedicated to her work.
Translated into French by Stephanie LaCava and Manon Lutanie, and presented in a bilingual volume (English, French), the poems are introduced by Stephanie LaCava, who retraces their genesis and examines the personality of their author:
"She is unsure of her identity, but hints at certain proclivities: action as the only true form of activism (sustained readiness to strike); a taste for contradictory characters (strength exists where there is also cowardice); romance. [...] Uninterested in mute beauty, Lund wanted to write and produce her own projects. In a news clipping from 1983, titled 'Young Political Filmmaker Shooting at Mount Holyoke,' there is a striking picture of Lund 'working on a film about the radicalization of a young woman,' per the caption. The article talks of her 'uncompromising idealism' and feelings about the naïveté of both American liberals and leftists.
Three years later, in 1986, 'Touchstone Levity' was written, and [...], the same year, "Opium Wars." The latter speaks to Lund's interest in drugs (she had a taste for heroin and would die of heart failure at thirty-seven)."
Printed offset in Italy on a matte, natural paper, stapled, the book also features black-and-white pictures of Lund taken in Paris by the filmmaker, critic, and activist Édouard de Laurot, then the author's partner, in the early 1980s. It's striking to see her in Paris on these images, smoking and posing in front of the Eiffel Tower, disheveled in a nightclub, caught on camera at a shooting range, at such a young age—when we know she would die in Paris fifteen years later. It seemed right to choose these images to accompany the poems, which were written in the same decade, and in the context of this French-American publication.
"They'll never understand why you did it.
They'll just forget about you tomorrow.
But you gotta do it."
Zoë Lund, "The Vampire Speech," Bad Lieutenant, 1992
"Like everything Zoë created (for instance her performance in Ms .45, the script of Bad Lieutenant, and her unpublished novel trilogy 490), it returns us to the most naked and vivid state of existential necessity."
Nicole Brenez, "Hot Ticket (1993): Freedom High," 2002
Zoë Lund (née Tamerlis) was an American writer, screenwriter, director, actress, and model, born in New York City in 1962. From a young age, she was a talented musician, composer, and a bright student with an inclination toward political activism. She dropped out of school at the age of 15. She made her acting debut in Abel Ferrara's cult Ms .45 (1981). From 1980 to 1985, she was the partner and collaborator of the filmmaker, critic, and activist Édouard de Laurot—best known for his film with Malcolm X, Black Liberation (1967). She appeared in several other feature films and television shows in the 1980s, including Larry Cohen's Special Effects and Miami Vice. She married Robert Lund in 1986. Lund wrote and starred in Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant (1992), in which she addressed her addiction to heroin. Among her many film and television screenplays is the first draft of New Rose Hotel (1998). She wrote and directed the short film Hot Ticket (1996), in which her character's last line says: "That which is not yet, but ought to be, is more real than that which merely is." She died in Paris in 1999, at the age of 37, of heart failure due to cocaine use, leaving behind several unpublished novels, short stories, essays, and screenplays that remain unproduced.