Monday, January 8, 2024

new from above/ground press: These Steady Bulbs, by Lydia Unsworth

These Steady Bulbs
Lydia Unsworth

The poems that follow are a direct response to Ian Waite’s Middlefield: A postwar council estate in time, published by Uniform Books. The setting and timeline is transposed, the concerns and nostalgia in part abstracted.

A Field Remains

Perhaps you wouldn’t call it a field, but at that time it hadn’t quite morphed into anything else. It wasn’t being used, though our childhoods were skimming through it. Those open spaces were erasures, and, like us, ill-defined. Grass stretched for miles, interrupted by fences, private land, electricity boxes, containers far from any kind of workplace. Blackberries and hyacinth balsam with their Parma Violet cloth-to-nose stink. We’d slip down ginnels behind rows of houses and this space that wasn’t any longer where we lived but wasn’t yet the motorway would open out. The motorway couldn’t see us because it never was anywhere, was only ever a going, a driving-toward-death. And the adults, they didn’t disobey the signage or peek over walls designed expressly to keep them out. Nothing for them to see but their imagination, creased and left to rot. Wild fear, rumour, grey flowing capes half-seen and blinked away. We lied and camped wherever it looked soft enough. Metal bridges, leftover streams, fat wet furniture, mossy and bright. We wanted rain in our shoes, we wanted to smell damp like the soil of the planet.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2024
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Lydia Unsworth’s
latest collections are Arthropod (Death of Workers) and Mortar (Osmosis). Pamphlets include Residue (above/ground), cement, terraces (Red Ceilings), and YIELD (KFS). Poems in places like Ambit, Banshee, Bath Magg, Blackbox Manifold, Oxford Poetry, PERVERSE, and Shearsman.

This is Unsworth’s third above/ground press poetry title, after I Have Not Led a Serious Life (2019) and Residue (2022).

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

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