lowlands pull on my underwater heart
yield by lydia unsworth
knives, forks and spoons press
i have long been a fan of lydia unsworths poetry. one of my images graces the front of i have not led a serious life her briliant pamphlet which can be bought here. densely packed with observation and grim-dark humor, at it’s best it comes across as a monologue from the great british comedian victoria wood mixed with the wry, world-weary exhalations of carol ann duffy or caroline bird. it makes me think about the need to water our myriad houseplants. it makes me think about what will happen when i die.
i am delighted to say yield is, in my opinion, her finest work yet. a testament to how language can be bent and warped to suit the situations it so wonderfully observes. it is not simple assonance at play here, rather a wonderful ability to time and again pluck the perfect word out of the air.
valley-dip of evening and loose loud clink of corner chair in crowded
most of the poems here dovetail superbly between the darkly funny melodramas of every day life and more lofty themes. god is spoken to about the laundry. an airport tannoy revels in existentialism. wet floor signs take on a far more sinister tone in the excellent it does its work.
the best kind of stream of consciousness poetry looks so natural but has clearly been slaved over. each word here seems placed under a microscope, like gold leaf placed on an antique soldier.
try to smile while you say goodbye, stiff lips won’t reveal the
shore, a shaking hand, the clots of origamied life.
i am not a clever man. i stopped studying before i had even started and i find the poetry of certain people goes directly over my head. i do not enjoy being baffled, i have no time for poetry that requires a dictionary in the other hand and i feel like yield is perfectly balanced. these poems make you feel cleverer once you have read them (and maybe re-read them like i did). i can relate to a lot of the themes in yield, be it a seemingly endless supply of laundry or the spiritual exhaustion that comes with living in the 21st century.
i would recommend this highly to anyone who enjoys the work of carol ann duffy or caroline bird, but really, i think anyone would love it.
yield is by lydia unsworth/@lydiowanie handle and can be bought here