Saturday 23 November 2019

Lydia Towsey, "The English Disease"

Lydia Towsey is a poet, performer, cat keeper, mother and ukulele strummer – with an MA in Creative Writing and a primary school certificate in "tap dancing." Previously shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize, she’s spoken and performed everywhere from London’s 100 Club, Roundhouse and the House of Lords, to "On the Buses," with Literary Leicester and Arriva (bus company).

Commissioned by the Guardian, Royal Albert Hall, Kew Gardens, Apples and Snakes, Poet in the City and more, Lydia has UK toured three shows, funded by Arts Council England. In 2018 she was one of the artists listed for the Outspoken London Prize for Poetry in Film and in the UK Saboteur Awards for Best Show (The Venus Papers) and for Best Spoken Word Performer.

In addition to her practice as a writer and performer, Lydia works for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and is the Artistic Director of WORD! – a poetry organisation delivering one of the longest running poetry nights in the UK.

Widely published in journals and anthologies (with Bloodaxe Books, Candlestick Press, Five Leaves and others) her debut collection, The Venus Papers, was published by Burning Eye Books in 2015. The English Disease is her second collection. 

The English Disease (Burning Eye, 2019)

"The English Disease" has been coined as a term to describe everything from missed penalties and vitamin D deficiency, to no sex please, tea and rickets. Exploring contemporary world events, including the international migration crisis and the British EU Referendum, alongside the lived experience of becoming a mother in a year of celebrity death and continental fracture, this collection examines the condition afresh.

With zombies, cats, Bowie, break-ups and the weather; eating disorders, buses, Beatrix Potter, queueing, nature, war and nursery rhymes, The English Disease draws upon class, colonialism and other undead matters to explore identity at a time of now … apocalypse?

“This book is a new national anthem. Visual, vivid, curious and kind” (Joelle Taylor).

You can see a trailer about the book here

And below is a poem from the collection: 

Love Poem to a Zombie Government

You – are my sugar lump,
my spark in the dark, prairie flower,
swamp duck, blue cheese,
break-in-the-clouds, apocalypse breeze. 

You’re my Sunday, Monday, Tuesday week
at the knees and in the feet.
Last night I dreamt you tried to kill me.

You’re my chickadee,
sweet pea, sweetheart, honey,
baby, darling, kick 
the bucket.

My sun, my moon, my stars, my rain,
baby; last night I dreamt you tried to kill me, again.

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