Launch reading by Selima Hill and Mark Waldron, with guests

Launch reading by Selima Hill and Mark Waldron, with guests

Bloodaxe Books editor Neil Astley was joined by Mark Waldron and special guests Julia Copus and Wayne Holloway-Smith for this online event celebrating the publication of two new poetry collections.

Selima Hill’s reading from her new book Women in Comfortable Shoes was included as an exclusive prerecorded video presented in tandem with Mark Waldron reading live from his new collection A Straight Up Giant, followed by a discussion with Mark Waldron, Julia Copus, Wayne Holloway-Smith and host Neil Astley. This free Bloodaxe launch event was streamed on YouTube Live and is now available to watch on our YouTube channel:


To order copies of the poets’ books direct from Bloodaxe, please click on these links (available via the Bloodaxe website from early June). If you are in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU, you can pre-order via Books Upstairs in Dublin:

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.
Selima Hill was awarded the King’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2022, recommended for her body of work, with special recognition for her retrospective Gloria: Selected Poems, published by Bloodaxe Books in 2008, which draws on ten collections including Bunny (2001), winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award. She has published ten further collections with Bloodaxe, most recently Men Who Feed Pigeons (2021), which was shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the 2021 T.S. Eliot Prize, and the Rathbones Folio Prize 2022, and Women in Comfortable Shoes, her 21st book of poetry, published in June 2023, which is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
Read a review of Women in Comfortable Shoes in The Guardian's best recent poetry round-up here.
Serious, comic, brave, cowardly, engaged, disengaged, urgent, unurgent, chattering chiffchaff, talking horses, unpretentious, pretentious, all of God’s creatures are here. There’s also an almost – but not quite – dialogue between the poems and the laconic (and sometimes furious) musings of the passages which punctuate them. There are a series of fairytale poems, and others which give unfettered voice to Marcie, a character who has appeared in Mark Waldron's previous books. Behind the humour and playfulness, there is always something deeply unmeant, meant.
Mark Waldron was born in New York in 1960 and grew up in London. He lives in East London with his wife and son, and began writing poetry in his early 40s. He published two collections with Salt, The Brand New Dark (2008) and The Itchy Sea (2011), which were followed by two from Bloodaxe, Meanwhile, Trees (2016) and Sweet, like Rinky-Dink (2019). His fifth collection, A Straight Up Giant, is published by Bloodaxe in June 2023.
Julia Copus is a poet, biographer and children’s writer. She has published two collections with Bloodaxe, The Shuttered Eye (1995) and In Defence of Adultery (2003), and two with Faber, The World’s Two Smallest Humans (2012) and Girlhood (2019). She has won the National Poetry Competition, the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and the Derek Walcott Prize.
Wayne Holloway-Smith is editor of The Poetry Review. He has published two collections with Bloodaxe, Alarum (2017) and Love Minus Love (2020). He won the National Poetry Competition 2018 for 'the posh mums are boxing in the square’ from Love Minus Love, which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and and the Ledbury Munthe Poetry Prize for Second Collections.

[17 May 2023]

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