Shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2017
The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence is the account of a young woman's stay in the psychiatric ward of a large hospital. The only time she feels safe is when swimming; the only place, the sea, preferably underwater. Selima Hill's 17th book of poetry – her 14th from Bloodaxe – takes her back to the territory of her third book, The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness (1983), but this revisiting is quite different in style and mood. Over thirty years later, ‘this brilliant lyricist of human darkness’ (Fiona Sampson) is more able to chart and illuminate ‘extreme experience with a dazzling excess’ (Deryn Rees-Jones), with startling humour and surprising combinations of homely and outlandish.
'Selima Hill has a beguiling assurance which gives an odd authority to her troubled inner landscape.' - Elaine Feinstein, on behalf of the Judges of the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2017
‘The collection's title is not ironical. There is magnitude and sublimity in this latest chronicle of a long, hard pilgrimage to inner freedom.’ – Carol Rumens, Observer (Poetry Book of the Month)
‘… to be blasé about a new book from Selima Hill would be an error. Stealthily, one small poem at a time, she has been accumulating one of the most remarkable bodies of work by any living poet.’ – Clare Pollard, The Poetry Review [on The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence]
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).