The Silent B by Hilary Sideris


The Silent B – twenty-nine short poems, each based upon a single word: dumb, fire, sack, mint, dole, bank, seam. Each a punch to the solar plexus. Each another breath knocked out of you. Will she remind you of Emily Dickinson? Probably. Of Kay Ryan? More than likely. Surely they are soul sisters for whom life is language and language life. But this is Hilary Sideris for whom no word is allowed to keep silent. For whom the word Praise must be shouted from the rooftops. —J.R. Solonche


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 46
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: April, 2019
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-44-2


Even the poem titles in The Silent B by Hilary Sideris—each just one word—read as an archetype of uncluttering. Each short line is necessary as any given nucleotide in a string of DNA. In “Word,” Sideris tells us, “Pain began in language/when I looked at dog/& saw god/& the highway sign/for Tulsa as Altus…” In “Snap,” pain is felt in the curt delivery of short lines: “Sharp clamping/sound, teeth/biting down … before he fired/on kids in class.” The power of the compressed narrative is evident throughout The Silent B. In “Cell,” the whipping of flagellum under a microscope looms alongside our glimpse of neurobiologist Rita Levi-Montalcini as a child, hiding from the Nazis in her parents’ house. This is a collection that demands to be read aloud, the alchemy of word and voice able to reveal and interrupt the language we thought we knew. —LYNN MCGEE

Do not read this book…unless you love John Donne, Cole Porter, and Richard Pryor; unless you dote on word-play, satire, and wit; unless you cherish the silent “b” in “dumb,” cognates for “fire,” and the leap from “gaffe” to “laugh”; and unless you feel for the dyslexic, the dysphemic, and the different. —GEORGE HELD



Where inner
meets outer,

forms a ridge,
a stiff, stitch-

edge, desire
frays with

wear, thread-
bare & bound

in time to un-
ravel, reveal

who, all along,
we’ve been.


Hilary SiderisHilary Sideris has recently published poems in Bellevue Literary Review, Flock, The Lake, Main Street Rag, Rhino, and Salamander. She is the author of Most Likely to Die (Poets Wear Prada 2014), The Inclination to Make Waves (Big Wonderful 2016), and Un Amore Veloce (Kelsay Books, 2019). She has a B.A. in English literature from Indiana University and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn and works as a curriculum developer for The City University of New York.

Additional information

Weight 3.6 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .375 in