Mortar: Lydia Unsworth

‘Regardless of how many times I have read these poems, they never cease to surprise me. Mortar is a remarkable collection attuned to the various structures – both jubilant and woeful – that order life. The poems place the abstract with the concrete, the cerebral with the physical, with invigorating, carefully-pegged precision: “The uncut grass of never asking knots and knots until severance is the only uncalled-for answer”. If these poems were glasses, I would wear them often, to see the world with more curiosity, immediacy, and intensity.’ – Lila Matsumoto

‘Unsworth has built a memorable collection in Mortar. We are thrown into a variation of tightly fisted prose poems which loosen into a confident dance of poetic forms. “My nothingness is manmade” – and indeed the poems make use of architecture and psychology to create a quiet, unnerving intimacy within a domestic space haunted by vivid images and memories. Through a forceful first-person voice, the book investigates the multiple layering of the self, the body, and their vulnerabilities’ – Kit Fan

‘In the essay “Slow Death”, Lauren Berlant considers that “agency can be an activity of maintenance, not making”, to withstand unequal infrastructures set up to dominate and corrode. Lydia Unsworth’s collection Mortar is about as radical a poetics of maintenance as I can think of. It tunes its attention to materials, structures, and forms of getting by as well as the incursions that make so frequently such a task: Bakelite, dangling sofas on cranes, baths falling through ceilings, moulding bicycle seats, bus shelter overhangs, shrink wrap, and sun tanned hands. Unsworth’s poems wrap and envelop, touch and lean, shelter and protect. I don’t ever want to leave the stunning language structures of this book which is just as well because the five mattresses by the door would make it quite a squeeze.’ – Colin Herd

‘The mortar of bodies, relationships (emotional and economic) and domestic spaces binds these extraordinary poems’ diverse materials into a pleasingly unsettling whole.’ – James Knight

Edition of 100 numbered copies. *
ISBN: 978-1-5272-9377-9
Each copy will come with a limited edition Mortar promotional bookmark or a handprinted ‘OSMOSIS’ bookmark. **

Our postage days are Monday and Wednesday. Order before midday for your copy to be dispatched on the post run. Preorders will be posted for the launch date.

Mortar: UK copy

£10 plus £2 postage and £1 author tip


If you are an international customer please get in touch via email – do not purchase a UK copy***

Lydia Unsworth has published three collections of poetry: Mortar (Osmosis Press, 2021), Certain Manoeuvres (KFS Press, 2018) and Nostalgia for Bodies (2018 Erbacce Poetry Prize), and two pamphlets. Her latest pamphlet YIELD (KFS) and her debut novel Distant Hills (Atlatl Press) came out in 2020. Recent work can be found in Ambit, SPAM, Bath Magg, Blackbox Manifold, and The Interpreter’s House.

* once stock has been sold, any further purchases will be refunded.
** specific bookmark requests can be made prior to purchase. Multiple bookmark designs can be purchased at £1 each.
***please look at PayPal refunds policy for refunds

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