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Helen Ivory

The Anatomical Venus

Helen Ivory

Publication Date : 23 May 2019

ISBN: 9781780374697

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Winner of the East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award (East Anglian Book Awards 2019)

Shortlisted for the poetry category of the East Anglian Book Awards 2019

An Anatomical Venus - which gives this book its title - was an eighteenth-century anatomical wax sculpture of an idealised woman, a heady mix of eroticism, death and biological verisimilitude. Venus could be opened up and pulled apart by all the men who studied her. She would give up her secrets the first time of asking.

Helen Ivory’s new collection The Anatomical Venus examines how women have been portrayed as ‘other’; as witches; as hysterics with wandering wombs and as beautiful corpses cast in wax, or on mortuary slabs in TV box sets. A hanged woman addresses the author of the Malleus Maleficarum, a woman diagnosed with ‘Housewife Psychosis’ recounts her dreams to Freud, and a sex robot has the ear of her keeper. The Anatomical Venus imagines the lives of women sketched in asylum notes and pictures others shut inside cabinets of curiosity.

The cover of The Anatomical Venus, which features Helen Ivory's own artwork, won the East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award (East Anglian Book Awards 2019).

‘This is a collection to browse, to devour, to return to. Unless you have a strong stomach for nightmares, it is not bedtime reading. Maybe it is best read in daylight, beside an open window so the ghosts and horrors can escape. Every library, wunderkammer and bookshelf needs a copy of this book.’ - Hannah Stone, The Lake on The Anatomical Venus

'The poems deal with women treated as curiosities of various kinds, from the anatomical Venus of the title... to witches, dolls, asylum inmates and even a sex robot... It's an excellent idea, both a history of different sorts of objectification and a mirror of mens' attempts to catalogue what they identify as aberrant, and it works beautifully... an absorbing, intriguing collection.' - Frank Startup, The School Librarian

‘This collection is a rich exploration of the vast difference between men and women at a time when gender definition is becoming blurred and contentious…These poems, at times using archaic language and referencing fixed misconceptions, form a sort of Wunderkammer of precious specimens for us to gaze upon in amazement. As with any cabinet of curiosities, the contents are both beautiful and intriguing, shocking and bizarre, but most of all a reminder of attitudes and practices which should stay in the past.’ – Pat Edwards, London Grip

'Whether using the language of religion, science or domestic abuse, the ironies here are obvious, and Helen Ivory explores them with a lingustic and imaginative energy which is both inventive and exhilarating.  This is exciting stuff from a writer with a long way yet to go.’ – William Bedford, Poetry Salzburg Review on The Anatomical Venus

'Helen Ivory creates a troubled yet beguiling world rich in irony and disquiet. She possesses a strongly-grounded narrative voice which, combined with her dextrous transformative takes both on reality and on what lies beyond reality’s surface, puts one in mind of the darker side of Stevie Smith who said that poetry "is a strong explosion in the sky".' – Penelope Shuttle.

'She is a visually precise poet, with the gift of creating stunning images with an economy of means…Ivory has established an eerily engaging style. Her poems are like mobiles suspended on invisible threads, charming to watch as they seem to spin by themselves in the air, but capable of administering more than a paper cut on the sensibility of the reader.' – James Sutherland-Smith.

 

Helen Ivory: 'The Hanged Woman Addresses The Reverend Heinrich Kramer'

Helen Ivory reads 'The Hanged Woman Addresses The Reverend Heinrich Kramer' from The Anatomical Venus in her 'from the basement' series filmed in The Butchery in Norwich. Kramer was one of the authors of Malleus Maleficarum (1486), a popular handbook for witchfinders at the time.

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Helen Ivory: 'Hellish Nell'

Helen Ivory reads 'Hellish Nell' from The Anatomical Venus in her 'from the basement' series filmed in The Butchery in Norwich.

 

Helen Ivory reads from The Dog in the Sky and The Breakfast Machine

Helen Ivory reads a set of nine poems: 'Learning to Talk', 'Alchemy', The Disappearing' and 'Missing You Spell' from her second collection The Dog in the Sky (2006), and 'Magicians', 'Bedtime Story', 'Sleep' and 'The Beginning' from her third, The Breakfast Machine (2010). Neil Astley filmed Helen Ivory at her home in Norwich in November 2009.


 

  

BOOKS BY Helen Ivory

The Breakfast Machine

Helen Ivory

The Breakfast Machine

Publication Date : 29 Apr 2010

Read More   amazon.co.uk
The Dog in the Sky

Helen Ivory

The Dog in the Sky

Publication Date : 23 Feb 2006

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Waiting for Bluebeard

Helen Ivory

Waiting for Bluebeard

Publication Date : 30 May 2013

Read More   amazon.co.uk

Related News & Publicity

News & Publicity


Helen Ivory's The Anatomical Venus wins the East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award

Helen Ivory's The Anatomical Venus wins the East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award

Helen Ivory's fifth collection, featuring her own artwork on the cover, wins the East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award 2019.

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