Lydia Kennaway

© Simon Wiffen Photography

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the poet

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. 

the poems

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

00:00 / 01:11
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                  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

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                  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

                  walk home.

The Invention of Walking

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                  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,

                  fall

Publishing credits

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)