Lydia Unsworth’s collection Some Murmur will be published with Beir Bua Press in October 2021. Her collection, Mortar (Osmosis), was published in summer 2021. Her most recent pamphlets are YIELD (KFS) and cement, terraces: A Manchester Enchantment (Red Ceilings). Work can be found in places like Ambit, Banshee, Bath Magg, Blackbox Manifold, Tentacular, and The Interpreter’s House.
Introduction to Some Murmur
… my mass, my matter, the way other people might view that matter (how it moves, what it does), my idea of the things that matter, and the way other people might view my idea of the things that matter, is nearly always stopping me.
However, sitting across from this rubble of awkward selfhood is the desire to leak out of my own corporeal limitations; a desire that fidgets and pleads and leaps about, banging its impatient forks on the table. The desire to be a form of self not seen since childhood, a wild and cocky little thing that doesn’t have the capacity to give a damn about what any of those other selves hanging around and watching it think it is doing. A desire to become something else, formless and forever escaping, hovering like a fine film over the most precarious aspects of existence.
People are always trying to get me to read my poetry, but I try not to do it. Until recently…..
Preview of Some Murmur to be updated shortly before its release in October 2021.
Like a Mother Writes In fragments of one-handed time we survey the day’s impressions. They put the injection in the left arm, always taking blood from the left arm. ‘Which arm do you write with?’ Like a mother writes. I do the heavy lifting with my left side. Baby-monster on left hip. A ledge. It grows with him. My model slant, my catalogue twist. I write with whichever side I am not feeding with. Left-handed phone type. Phone held in air above baby’s head. Phone swiped behind back as baby’s eyes move to that other life. ‘Which is your dominant side?’ Stay put, baby. Comply. ---------------------------------------------------------- She is on the phone writing poetry. On the phone again. She has RSI for poetry. Insomnia for poetry. She needs WiFi for poetry. Disrupts her melatonin for poetry. ---------------------------------------------------------------- MARCHING a diary (spring 2020, or How hard it is to sustain a thing without belief) 1/ I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet throughout these adjustments, acts of kindness, that sort of thing. It’s hard to believe this is only day four. Hard to believe I wanted more time with my toddler and now I’ve got it there’s no one to share it with. Living in a country that is not mine I was always kind of hesitant in crowds, trying to second-guess which language I was about to be spoken in. Now, there’s hardly any social concern at all, no one’s even looking each other in the eye. It’s a communal spreadsheet, a shared document, and I keep checking it to see if anybody’s playing with me. We went to the park, I know the quiet parts of the city, but when I tried to show my child the goats through the fencing, she kept ramming her little bike against the gate, trying to get in. It’s closed, I said. Daycare is closed. Your friends are at home too, I said, it’s not just you. Come away from the gate.
Words of Praise
“Lydia Unsworth’s meditation on the ‘iterations of self’ resulting from her pregnancy, relocation to a new country and evolution into the role of mother-and-writer amid the backdrop of Brexit and a global pandemic, is a bold and affecting study of the fragmentation, dislocation and recalibration which occurs when that self is ‘sawn in half’, at once irrevocably altered yet in essence the same. Remarkable.”
- A J Moore; Angela Carter Prize winner from the University of Sheffield and currently researching for a PhD in literature. Collection, m[p]atriarchive, out with Beir Bua Press.
“Unsworth’s latest work is a full-bodied mothership of a collection. Exploring both embodiment and the often disembodied state of motherhood, these poems are a vital and visceral dispatch from the frontline of parenting in a post-Brexit, pandemic-ridden world.
Themes of change, transition, crossing boundaries / borders / bodies abound in Some Murmur. The murmured echoes of the unborn to their mother, matter taking shape and form, the muttered moans of understanding between parent and child; motherhood as luck, pluck, mutation, constraint and collage.
This collection is as varied as it is expansive, innovative in style and subject. Unsworth has gifted the reader with a series of corporeal and hyperreal milk dreams.”
- JP Seabright, poet, Assistant Editor Full House Lit.