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Poetry Lgbt

Anatomical Venus

by (author) Courtney Bates-Hardy

Radiant Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2024
LGBT, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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Anatomical Venus is a visceral collection of poems that invoke anatomical models, feminine monsters, and little-known historical figures. It’s a journey through car accidents and physio appointments, 18th century morgues and modern funeral homes. Grappling with the cyclical nature of chronic pain, these poems ask how to live with and love the self in pain. Magic seeps through, in the form of fairy tales, in the stories of powerful monsters, in the introspection of the tarot, and the transcendence of queer love.

About the author

Courtney Bates-Hardy is the author of House of Mystery (ChiZine Publications, 2016) and a chapbook, Sea Foam (JackPine Press, 2013). Her poems have been published in Grain, Vallum, PRISM, and CAROUSEL, among others. She has been featured in Best Canadian Poetry 2021 (Biblioasis) and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is queer, neurodivergent, and disabled, and one-third of a writing group called The Pain Poets. She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Courtney Bates-Hardy's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Anatomical Venus is an expansive look into the meteor of disability—into the ways in which our so carefully constructed worlds can shatter and come apart, both instantly and through the slow unfolding of months and years. Throughout each poem, Bates-Hardy maintains a delicate balance of grief and inquiry, making the body into something at once transitory and also eternal. The specific, compassionate language in this book does the ultimate work of creating a universal experience out of something so personal and raw—we are all this delicate, this worthy of grace. This is Bates-Hardy’s body, yes—but also, somehow, ours.
-Amanda Leduc, author of The Centaur’s Wife and Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space
In Anatomical Venus, Courtney Bates-Hardy traces a historical double helix of femininity and monstrosity steeped in the long art of anatomizing the female flesh. These poems offer a view from within that dissected grace: the duress of chronic pain, compulsory recovery, trauma flashbacks, and prescription drugs that don’t especially work. Bates-Hardy’s “lady anatomist at work” re-appropriates the gaze of Venus, sharpens its focal point, and never lets it waver.
-Tanis MacDonald, author of Mobile: poems and Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female
Healthcare professionals will never tell us that chronic pain can arouse the monstrous and otherworldly in our bodies. We must traverse this transfiguration without a guide. But, every once in a while, a work of literature offers a map. Courtney Bates-Hardy’s sophomore collection is just such a navigational text. The verse in Anatomical Venus is stark and persevering, candid and often fantastically weird. Bates-Hardy shows us the multifold nature of pain."
-Amber Dawn, author of My Art is Killing Me and Other Poems
Anatomical Venus is an urgent interrogation into the ways we hold pain, both bodily and cerebrally. Constructed with precise, almost surgical skill, the collection evokes memory with physicality – the author slicing themselves open, over and over again as they demand readers witness how chronic disability lives in the body. Bates-Hardy has crafted a masterful collection rooted in realism and immediacy that compares and contrasts to the mythological or even mystical expectations of womanhood.
-Rayanne Haines, author of Tell the Birds your Body is Not a Gun
With Anatomical Venus, Courtney Bates-Hardy brings us a deft hand holding a curved knife. She is unflinching as she peels back experiences of bodily trauma to reveal a strength within each layer of each poem’s waxen skin. With surgical precision and an unrelenting gaze, she is meticulous in her dissection of the macabre. And yet her work glimmers with sheer beauty—especially when she is chronicling crisis events and chronic pain. Bates-Hardy’s work is of healing, resilience, and transcendence. She brings cadavers to life! Anatomical Venus revivifies us all.
-Sandra Ridley, author of Vixen

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