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Publication release date: 15th July, 2024


Book Specification:

67 pages printed on recycled paper

Paperback handsewn limited edition

13cm x 20.5cm x 0.5cm

Print run of 100

Book design and production by Lucy Wilkinson


Arthropod, Lydia Unsworth

  • 'Lydia Unsworth’s Arthropod bursts open with ‘Starlight Express’, a long prose poem about protection and harm, containing cannibal flowers, lecherous men, and family dynamics as constellatory and atomised as the poem. Like Selima Hill, Will Harris and Caroline Bird, Unsworth’s images and associations are seductive with crystallised mystery – ‘Knowing is holding a field in your palm’. At its dense core, the collection orbits a divorce and single motherhood oscillating between clinical, declarative registers and a nuclear facility for metaphor. There is a philosophical drive to Unsworth’s questioning (‘18a. If this, then that. / 18b. If that, then rupture.) as strange occurrences happen to an alien speaker in a foreign land. Arthropod’s candour startles – how ‘Finding a nest is almost always an act of transgression’ – yet one cannot and should not look away from this alarmingly consequential collection, where ‘every comma [is] glut with assembly’.' - - Tom Branfoot


    'Lydia Unsworth has the uncanny ability of showing us things as they are in their unvarnished, most truthful state. A propulsive read, Arthropod is filled with vehicles: planes, bikes, buses. Even bodies are made purposeful as a means to carry out journeys: practical, maternal and sexual. The poems enact the contemporary struggle to settle somewhere, anywhere; houses are deconstructed around the reader, tents are pitched on tarmac and the speaker is constantly on her way to somewhere new. This restless movement is reflected in the musicality of the writing, at times words seem to lift off the page, threatening to take flight. The repeated image of the inside of a plane is a manifestation of the collection’s preoccupation with control and the possibilities of relinquishing it, even briefly. Resisting the impulse towards resolution, Arthropod is a clever rendering of the reality of living – a journey rather than a destination.' - - Emily Cooper
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