Hidden is a gender-queer narrative poem that continues throughout Sleam’s first poetry collection. An unidentified narrator recalls an affair with a married woman while facing memories of a violent childhood. It’s FICTION folks, FICTION in a poem…
“Memory lives on the cusp between life and dream, seeing and saying, falling to pieces and finding form. Sleam’s Hidden is a brilliant constellation of fragments, flashes, and waves that collect emotion, memory, desire, love, animals, land, and identities. This work is nothing short of breathtaking to me. Defiant in form, tender of heart, I took it into my body without hesitation. A heart triumph.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, (Verge, Misfit Manifesto, Chronology of Water)
“Tess Gallagher once said that ‘The best love poems confirm something we secretly felt but never said’. I think this is true about Sarah Leamy’s Hidden though the poems in this collection go even further: not just confirming something we never said but giving that secret thing a language that can hold it. In this beautifully narrative collection we are blessed by a poet whose central power is love. What a gift. Especially in a world that seems less and less interested in something so radically powerful. Hidden should not be hidden at all. It should be shared with everyone.” —Matthew Dickman, Wonderland, Mayakovsky’s Revolver, 50 American Poems (cowritten with Michael Dickman, 2012)
Hidden is a letter to a married woman, a queer love affair still remembered years later. Written by an unidentified narrator, the chapbook recollects the passion and connections of a new relationship as a newcomer to a small town —one that stirs up a childhood that sent out the writer into a world without family. Hidden touches upon bullying, violence, and trauma, but balanced with sensuality, compassion and connection.
Blending lyrical prose poems within a stacatto voice, Sleam has created a unique persona who does the best they can when flooded with desire and fear.
“Humorous, sensual, and vulnerable. Sleam’s narrative poems whisper the intricacies of relationship, appealing to the voyeur in all of us.”
—Jasminum McMullen, (By the Hour)
“Sarah Leamy writes with the rhythm of life. Her words are crushing, sorrowful and hopeful.Hidden is a collection of pieces remembered. Some that maybe would have been preferred to be forgotten but they cannot let go. Through the use of short stories and poetry it engages one to keep going, but I actually made myself stop occasionally, so I could savor the subtle ,raw and honest emotion I had just experienced.”
— Denise Jones, Madrid, NM
Publication March 26, 2021.