The King's Gold Medal for Poetry, 2022
I May Be Stupid But I'm Not That Stupid brings together six contrasting but complementary poem sequences by ‘this brilliant lyricist of human darkness’ (Fiona Sampson) relating to family, fear, foreboding and felicity. Elective Mute is about autism and happiness; My Mother and Me on the Eve of the Chess Championships, about a mother who prefers lettuces to life; Fishtank (Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice), about a brother who is somebody else; Lambchop, about a creepy old man; The Boxer Klitschko, on finding refuge with swimming, dogs and a jovial uncle; and Helpless with Laughter, on what the parts of the body have to say about themselves. Like all of Selima Hill’s work, all six sequences in the book chart ‘extreme experience with a dazzling excess’ (Deryn Rees-Jones), with startling humour and surprising combinations of homely and outlandish.
'Selima Hill is an inimitable talent. The mind is fragile and unreliable in her poetry, but is also tenacious and surprising, capable of the most extraordinary responses, always fighting back with language as its survival kit. Life in general might be said to be her subject, the complications, contradictions and consequences of simply existing. Nevertheless, Hill’s writing is eminently readable and approachable, even fun at times, the voice of a person and a poet who will not be quieted and will not conform to expectations, especially poetic ones.' - Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate, on behalf of The King's Gold Medal for Poetry Committee
‘And finally from the UK, three outstanding collections from three mature poets writing at their very best: Selima Hill’s wild, funny heart-breaking I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid (Bloodaxe); Tim Cumming’s devastatingly acute Knuckle (Pitt Street Poetry, and the precisely terrifying Girlhood from Julia Copus (Faber).' - Martina Evans, The Irish Times (Best new poetry of 2019)
‘Selima Hill’s I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid shows that she…is a pioneer of vividly disobedient verse. Her substantial new book brings together six sequences of characteristically short four and six-line poems. Funny and dark, Hill is always a danger to herself and others with her poems of psychic injury and revenge, and here she is at her gadfly best.’ – Fiona Sampson, The Guardian
‘Selima Hill is a unique voice in contemporary British poetry, as the title of her latest collection — I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid — implies, there is more to her than meets the eye. Her poetry is eclectic and electric; it cartwheels through juxtapositions and leaps of logic, and, as Proust opined, thanks to her poetry the world we see, through her art, is multiplied. Seemingly mundane subjects, such as farmyards and country life, are painted with new layers of vivid colour, forever fracturing a new world from the old…. I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid is an entertaining collection from a complex, warmly welcome poet. Highly recommend.’ – Charlie Baylis, The London Magazine
‘I May Be Stupid But I’m not That Stupid is a breathless, breath-taking collection of six more-or-less-consistently themed sequences. Few of the poems are longer than two or three couplets; each punches consistently above their weight. This is fierce and funny poetry...an addictively consumable collection.’ – Hannah Stone, The Lake
'The poet Fiona Sampson has called Selima Hill a “brilliant lyricist of human darkness.” So true! Read I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid and see why.' - Charles Rammelkamp, London Grip
‘Her adoption of surrealist techniques of shock, bizarre, juxtaposition and defamiliarisation work to subvert conventional notions of self and the feminine… Hill returns repeatedly to fragmented narratives, charting extreme experience with a dazzling excess.’ – Deryn Rees-Jones, Modern Women Poets
Selima Hill reads seven poems
Selima Hill reads seven poems from Gloria: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2008): ‘Cow’, ‘Don’t Let’s Talk About Being in Love’, ‘Desire’s a Desire’, ‘Being a Wife’, ‘Why I Left You’, ‘The World’s Entire Wasp Population’ and ‘PRAWNS DE JO’. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Selima Hill in London on 2 November 2007. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).
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