The Underlook


The Underlook balances precariously between the real and the surreal. Informed by experiences of physical disability, surgery, and medical trauma, this collection articulates a life lived under the bed, at the bottom of a well, in the glances exchanged between doctors. The poems revel in the uncanny and in the power of ignored or repressed spaces, summoning us under to ‘listen … crouch down … press [a] hand against the white gloss shuddering’.

Read Helen in conversation with Sarah Barnsley about The Underlook in The Understory Conversation here.

Read a Sample.

Published January 2022.

What Writers and Critics Think

  • Her mind is always unconventional and very funny, her subjects are important and her voice is much needed

    Hannah Silva
  • Helen Seymour is the most exciting writer I have come across in years.

    Harry Baker
  • Helen is an extremely talented poet with a unique and darkly comic vision of the world.

    Apples & Snakes


In Helen Seymour’s fantastic debut collection, the poems fizz with controlled anger, satire, and surreal examples of how we navigate a society that constantly dehumanises disabled people […]. Seymour utilises the surreal and satire to face up to such injustices and there is much arresting imagery; “I’m sucking in the air of a bouncy castle / breathing in the bumps.” Not only is this an impressive debut, it is an impressive and urgent collection, full stop.Peter Raynard, Everybody’s Reviewing (read the full review here)

Seymour opens up the poem and invites us in to empathise with her narrators and characters, and to see ourselves in them too. There is something utterly compelling about this — it suggests so many ways in which we are all stuck in versions of ourselves that we are once trying to escape from and can also hide away in.Emma Simon, The Friday Poem (read the full review)

Every single doctor and nurse should see this showNHS Doctor on To Helen Back

Helen Seymour is a disabled writer and performer. She won gold in the Creative Futures Literary Awards (2017), was longlisted for the Outspoken Poetry Prize (2018), and was shortlisted for the Jerwood Poetry Fellowship (2019). She is published in The Emma Press Anthology of Illness (2020) and is frequently commissioned by such organisations as Apples and Snakes and DadaFest. Helen has written and performed two spoken word theatre shows, directed by Hannah Silva: To Helen Back toured nationally, exploring sickness, health and what it really means to recover; Helen Highwater focused on dating, disability and intrusive thoughts and premiered as part of London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre in 2019.

Additional information

Dimensions 21 × 13.8 × 0.7 cm

eBook (ePub), Paperback


978-1-914914-00-3, 978-1-914914-01-0

Publication Year

January 2022