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Book Title

Four-Legged Girl

Author 1
Diane Seuss
Poem Excerpt
For, having imagined your body one way I found it to be another way, it was yielding,
            but only as the Destroying Angel mushroom yields, its softness allied
            with its poison, and your legs were not petals or tendrils as I’d believed,
            but brazen, the deviant tentacles beneath the underskirt of a secret queen
—from “Oh four-legged girl, it’s either you or the ossuary”
In Diane Seuss’s Four-Legged Girl, her audacious, hothouse language swerves into pain and rapture, as she recounts a life lived at the edges of containment. Ghostly, sexy, and plaintive, these poems skip to the tune of a jump rope, fill a wishing well with desire and other trinkets, and they remember past lush lives in New York City, in rural Michigan, and in love. In the final poem, she sings of the four-legged girl, the body made strange to itself and to others. This collection establishes Seuss’s poetic voice as rich and emotional as any in contemporary poetry.

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About the Author

Diane  Seuss
Credit: Gabrielle Montesanti
Diane Seuss is the author of six books of poetry, including Modern Poetryfrank: sonnets, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Prize; Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She was a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2021 she received the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Michigan.
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  • “Hypnotic. . . . Four-Legged Girl obsesses over the body’s lush strangeness, and Seuss’ fevered lines get under your skin until reading becomes a visceral experience.”San Francisco Chronicle
  • “Seuss [has] access to that sacred place high in the ozone where experience, deep feeling, memory, love and killer metaphors hover. . . . Objects come alive, like toys springing from a chest when darkness comes.”The Rumpus
  • “Endlessly inventive with her language and feats of imagination, Seuss makes a world full of the trappings of death feel vibrantly alive.”Publishers Weekly
  • “Seuss makes the kaleidoscope magically readable because Seuss is a true original with a grip on real emotion, vulnerability, anger, defiance and pain.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
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