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The Hideous Hidden


Sylvia Legris (Author)

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From the winner of the Griffin Prize, a richly lyrical collection of poems exploring the body’s minutiae

In her first full-length collection published in the United States, Sylvia Legris probes and peels, carves and cleaves, amputates and dissects, to reveal the poetic potential of human and animal anatomy.

Starting with the Greek writings of Hippocrates and the Latin language of medicine, and drawing from Leonardo da Vinci’s Anatomical Manuscripts, the dermatologist Robert Willan’s On Cutaneous Diseases (1808), and Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, Legris infuses each poem with unique rhythms that roll off the tongue. The Hideous Hidden boldly celebrates anatomy’s wonders: “Renounce the vestibule of non-vital vitals. / Confess the gallbladder, / the glandular wallflowers, / the objectionable oblong spleen.”


“Rapidly gets deep and electric as the corded nerves running through the spinal channel.” — Lightsey Darst, Bookslut

“In The Hideous Hidden, Legris performs a poetic autopsy that untethers the language of the body and its “hideous hidden” from the morgue, the medical lab, the anatomy book—spaces from which women for centuries were long excluded—and creates from the history and language of this body her own stranger thing.” — Adriana X. Jacobs, Music & Literature

“Legris isn’t interested in solving the “riddle of meat,” preferring instead a jangling, sound-dense poetry that ruminates on the substance of the human body...” — Shane Neilson, Poetry Magazine

“Legris loves language, the way it radiates, not just for what it can say by syntactic regularity and accumulation, but for its cellular resonances.” — Open Letter

“Her work crackles with exuberant wackiness.” — CBC

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  • 9780811221849 72

    Poetry Pamphlets 1-12 (Boxed Set)

    Osama Alomar, Lydia Davis, Hilda Doolittle, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Forrest Gander, Oliverio Girondo, Susan Howe, Sylvia Legris, Bernadette Mayer, Dunya Mikhail, Alejandra Pizarnik, Nathaniel Tarn, Eliot Weinberger

    Paperback, 2015

    Collections 1-12 in New Directions' Poetry Pamphlet series