Lydia Kennaway's debut pamphlet, A History of Walking, was published in 2019. Her poems have appeared in a variety of anthologies and magazines, including The Rialto, Raceme and Poetry & Audience. Lydia won the Flambard Prize in 2017, and is Walk Listen Create’s Poet-in-Residence for 2021-22. A New Yorker living in Yorkshire, Lydia gained her MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University.
A New and Accurat Map
of the World Drawne
according to ye truest
Discoveries & best
observations y.t have
beene made by English
I have made landfall with a mouth full of sand,
tossed from the sea with splintered fingers
and a barnacled belly.
I will eat nameless fruits and hope against poison.
I will watch the moon rise while the turtles hatch
and make their flappy way to water.
I will scrimshaw a comb for a sweetheart
I never had and sing to longfeathered birds
shanties of blood-red roses.
I will find passage on a passing caravel.
I will return to the town I once called home.
I will draw maps but make no claim
that they are true, only
that these are the things
I have seen and the places
I believe I have been.
Inuit Anger Walk
I am a furnace in the snow.
I have been given my anger-stick
and told to go plant it
where and when my flames
have turned to embers
and so I walk
past my people who know
to look away. I walk
past the Place of Drying Fish,
past the Place of Catching Fish,
past the Place of the Seals who do not know
to look away. I walk
beyond the place called The End of Places
until the heat spills from my eyes.
Here I drive the stick into
the yielding snow and
turn to face the cold
The Invention of Walking
Feathers, tails, claws, fins
and fur, antlers, paws and scales:
these are your creations.
Now you take a lump of clay
in your big tired hands to make
another. You are weary
but roll and pinch and pinch
and roll the clay and
start again. Out of habit
you make four limbs, stick them
to a blob of body, add a head. Oh hell,
not that again. But then
you lift the forelimbs, set the head
so it doesn’t hang but balances,
tricky, on a slender neck-stem.
For locomotion it will stagger,
shifting the weight from one hind
leg to another, a constant fall
and recover. With its forward-looking eyes
it can want. With spare limbs it can carry,
possess, and – being upright –
it displays its sex but doesn’t know this
yet. You make it to crave the having and dread
the losing. You will teach it shame
and blame Eve and a serpent and a tree
while its fate is to fall always
fall and recover,
A New and Accurat Map of the World Drawne
according to ye truest Descriptions, latest
Discoveries & best observations y.t have
beene made by English or Strangers:
Any Change? Poetry in a Hostile Environment
(Forward Arts Foundation)
Inuit Anger Walk / The Invention of Walking:
A History of Walking (HappenStance Press)