Liberty Laundry by Hilary Sideris


Written during the pandemic in the working class, immigrant neighborhood of Kensington, Brooklyn, Liberty Laundry is a book about freedom, work, grief, love, and the civic and familial divisions and estrangements that have deepened with each new variant of the virus.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 92
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: June, 2022
  • ISBN: 978-1-953252-61-6


“My daughter cuts my damaged/ends in the garden behind/her father’s house where,/per his orders, I am not welcome—” Hilary Sideris’ poems flash forward at lightning speed. Before you can blink, there’s a back story, details become volatile, and we’re catapulted into unfathomable history. The Q train goes express, a plague strikes.  The America of “foaming root beer/in thick glass mugs” confronts active shooter drills. A “BLT’s pale tomato” implies a vast system of servitude. Always, language is a bridge and a wall. Always, events elude the stories we shelter in. Jaime Sabines wrote, “everything happens in silence/the way light is made in the eye;”  Sideris can access that inscrutability of experience, how we know ourselves only through clues and only in retrospect.  LIBERTY LAUNDRY is a book of gorgeous immediacy and depth. D. Nurkse

By applying a microscopic lens to the ordinary details of daily life—a shared meal, a spam text message, a dirty storage closet, or a cat asleep in the clothes dryer, Hilary Sideris discovers the profound in the quotidian. The poems of Liberty Laundry evoke laughter followed by a deeper understanding. The power of this book lies in both the individual poems as well as their sum. Through a chain of hilarious “me episodes,” Sideris carries us through grief, memory, family, and the pandemic. These poems, some originally jotted on paper napkins, show us ourselves, in our absurdity, our generosity, and our legacy. There is no other poet recording our current era in the same way.Robin Reagler

Language Lessons might be a backup title for this bracing collection of Hilary Sideris poems, for the unique ways she weaves other-than-English words and expressions into poems,  as in the attention-grabbing “La Nuova Bicicletta,” which opens with: “Despite the beauty /of the name Bianchi//&the turquoise frame/that lights the room//like my pity for you…”  These lines shimmer with her signature empathy and irony when we land somewhere we didn’t expect to go. Adept at mixing figurative language and the plainly spoken, we cycle through the stories of her life awash in her husband’s Italian, her family’s Greek, and her city’s Spanish, even Yoruba. The insights this poet gleans from substituting just the right phrase when English just doesn’t cut it, is one of the key pleasures in Liberty Laundry. The music and la gioia come naturally to this writer, as does a keen attention to memory and desire, and their sinuous turns. —Elaine Sexton



In white families
like mine, Mom’s

northern European
genes carried more

weight than Dad’s
Lehigh BA. She rubbed

her tiny, turned up nose
in his Greek face & we

agreed she could’ve been
Faye Dunaway in those

bent Polaroids. Looks-
wise, she said,

we should be glad
she married Dad.


Hilary SiderisHilary Sideris grew up in Warsaw, Indiana. Her poems have appeared recently in The American Journal of Poetry, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, OneArt, Poetry Daily, Right Hand Pointing, Salamander, Sixth Finch, and Verse Daily. She is the author of Un Amore Veloce (Kelsay Books 2019), The Silent B (Dos Madres Press 2019), and Animals in English, poems after Temple Grandin (Dos Madres Press 2020). Sideris lives in Brooklyn and works as a professional developer for the CUNY Start program at The City University of New York.

Additional information

Weight 6.5 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in