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Women in Comfortable Shoes | Bloodaxe Books
selima-hill-women-in-comfortable-shoes

Selima Hill

Women in Comfortable Shoes

Selima Hill

Publication Date : 22 Jun 2023

ISBN: 9781780376677

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

The King's Gold Medal for Poetry, 2022

Poetry Book Society Recommendation

Hot on the heels of her previous collection Men Who Feed Pigeons, Selima Hill's Women in Comfortable Shoes is her 21st book of poetry, presenting eleven contrasting but well-fitting sequences of short poems relating to women:

Fishface: A disobedient young girl is sent to a Catholic convent school to give her mother a break.

My Friend Weasel: The 50s. A girls' boarding school where the girls are somehow managing to make new friends.

Susan and Me: On friendship. Two close friends, one of whom, Susan, is heading for a nervous breakdown.

Dolly: Dolly is a duck. The other 29 women are, in their various ways, human.

My Mother with a Beetle in Her Hair: A daughter's passion for swimming – despite of her mother hating every minute.

Fridge: Lorries, geese and fridges speak of death, grief and absence.

My Spanish Swimsuit: A daughter fears her rabbit-trapping father.

The Chauffeur: A pair of bad-tempered sisters, a parrot and a cat.

Girls without Hamsters: An older woman's obsession with a spider-legged young man.

Reduced to a Quivering Jelly: Vera is old, and getting older, but she doesn't seem to care.

Dressed and Sobbing: A woman is surprised to find herself getting older and lazier.

 

'I would recommend Selima Hill's Women in Comfortable Shoes.  There's no-one like her. And everyone likes her. I don't know how she does that.' – Ali Lewis, The Poetry Society (Poetry Books of the Year 2023)

'The miniaturism of Martial and Emily Dickinson is reinvented in this iridescent collection which brings together 11 sequences whose subjects range from girls misbehaving in convent schools to fridges contemplating death, plus a pair of bad-tempered sisters, a parrot and hair clips... Over 254 pages, Hill creates a new kind of narrative poem, which has all the rewards of reading a good novel – or novels – yet she retains poetry’s unique ability to zoom in on minutiae, as when contemplating ants whizzing about like bumper cars...' – Philip Terry, The Guardian (The best recent poetry) on Women in Comfortable Shoes

‘Her poems resist analysis. Short, precise and startling, funny in both senses, they make everything else look like pretentious waffle… Hill is especially good at capturing young girls’ voices, a strength of the early sequences here, in a book that charts a kind of Seven Ages of Woman … Selima Hill is a great poet.’ – Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph (Poetry Book of the Month), on Women in Comfortable Shoes

‘This is the twenty-first poetry collection from the unstoppable Selima Hill. These days she tends to present her work as sequences of small poems, some extremely minimal. Women in Comfortable Shoes consists of eleven such sequences. Their power lies not so much in the individual poems as in the cumulative, immersive effect of each sequence, and in Hill’s charismatic voice which seizes attention from the get-go … I seem to see the world more vividly and sense it more intensely after reading Selima Hill, and this highly readable collection is no exception. She shakes things up and wakes up your mind like no other poet. She’d probably hate to hear me saying this but – genius!’ – Annie Fisher, The Friday Poem

'A lovely and generous book this if you enjoy Selima Hill’s wry sense of humour and surreal approach to difficult subjects. Her latest is a collection of eleven sequences of poems and is a masterclass in how to tie poems together with imagery and motif ... Hill’s collection demonstrates how the pitch perfect short poem can be woven into a series of troubling woman-centred tales. It is a rewarding read, one to be returned to often.' – Kate Noakes, London Grip

'Surging with shrieks of pain and howls of laughter, these poems transform life’s inevitable mundanities into the fizziest, memorable moments.' – Jo Clement, PBS Selector, Poetry Book Society Summer Bulletin 2023, on Women in Comfortable Shoes, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation

'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

‘Hill’s writing has always been characterized by her original approach to the image. Her images are always three dimensional, like sculptures. We don’t just see them, we feel them, too [...] Hill’s most recent book, Women in Comfortable Shoes, comprises eleven sequences—atypical of the shape of much of her work, which is often made up of many short poems grouped together to form a kind of fragmented narrative [...] These fictionalized narrative frameworks seem to allow Hill the distance to avoid exposure of the self, while also giving her the freedom to explore aspects of the female experience.’ – Kim Moore, Poetry Magazine

 

Selima Hill: Women in Comfortable Shoes

Selima Hill reads a selection of short poems from eight of the eleven sequences in Women in Comfortable Shoes : ‘Fishface’, ‘My Friend Weasel’, ‘Susan and Me’, ‘Dolly’, ‘My Mother with a Beetle in Her Hair’, ‘Fridge’, ‘The Chauffeur’ and ‘Dressed and Sobbing’. Neil Astley filmed her reading in the octagonal Garden Tower in Dorset in May 2023.

 

Octagonal Readings: Selima Hill reads from eight of her books

Selima Hill reads a selection of short poems from eight of the collections she has published between Gloria: Selected Poems (2008) and Women in Comfortable Shoes (2023): Fruitcake (2007), People Who Like Meatballs (2012), The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism (2014), Jutland (2015), The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence (2016), Splash Like Jesus (2017), I May Be Stupid But I’m Not That Stupid (2019) and Men Who Feed Pigeons (2019). Neil Astley filmed her reading in the octagonal Garden Tower in Dorset in May 2023.

 

Selima Hill: Men Who Feed Pigeons

Selima Hill talks to Emily Berry about Men Who Feed Pigeons and reads a selection of poems from the book first published in The Poetry Review: 'Standing on His Doorstep', 'The Beautiful Man Whose Name I Can't Pronounce', 'A Happy-looking Man', 'Jelly', 'Bucket', 'What Kind of Woman Am I', 'Chickens', 'You Either Love a Person or You Don't', 'My Horse-hoof Soup', 'Berries' and 'The Tank'. The interview was recorded by Emily Berry for The Poetry Society podcast in 2021. This film was edited by Neil Astley and Peter Hebden and included in Bloodaxe's online book launch event shared with Hannah Lowe and Stephanie Norgate on 16 September 2021. The full podcast can be heard by clicking on the RELATED AUDIO tab below.

Selima Hill reads seven poems from Gloria

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). 

 

Ireland & EU: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin

USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or Bookshop.org

  

BOOKS BY Selima Hill

Fruitcake

Selima Hill

Fruitcake

Publication Date : 28 May 2009

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Gloria

Selima Hill

Gloria

Selected Poems

Publication Date : 27 Jun 2008

Read More   amazon.co.uk
I May Be Stupid But I'm Not That Stupid

Selima Hill

I May Be Stupid But I'm Not That Stupid

Publication Date : 26 Sep 2019

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Jutland

Selima Hill

Jutland

Publication Date : 26 Mar 2015

Read More   amazon.co.uk

RELATED BOOKS

People Who Like Meatballs
Men Who Feed Pigeons
The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence
The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism

Related News & Publicity

News & Publicity


Selima Hill's Women in Comfortable Shoes reviewed in The Guardian & The Telegraph

Selima Hill's Women in Comfortable Shoes reviewed in The Guardian & The Telegraph

Women in Comfortable Shoes reviewed in The Guardian, The Telegraph, London Grip & The Friday Poem; Books of the Year 2023; essay on Selima Hill in Poetry Magazine USA,...

Read More  |  View All

Poetry Events


Launch reading by Selima Hill and Mark Waldron, with guests

Launch reading by Selima Hill and Mark Waldron, with guests

Launch reading by Selima Hill and Mark Waldron – with guests – celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections, now on YouTube.

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News & Publicity


Selima Hill wins The King's Gold Medal for Poetry 2022

Selima Hill wins The King's Gold Medal for Poetry 2022

Selima Hill has been named winner of The King's Gold Medal for Poetry, 2022.

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