Selima Hill podcast interview

Selima Hill podcast interview

Men Who Feed Pigeons by Selima Hill brings together seven contrasting but complementary sequences about men and different kinds of women’s relationships with men, combining startling humour and uncomfortable truths with skilfully hewn brevity.’ - Forward Prizes for Poetry



The Poetry Review Podcast, online 9 April 2021

For the April 2021 Poetry Review Podcast Selima Hill read poems from her forthcoming collection Men Who Feed Pigeons and was in conversation with Emily Berry, editor of The Poetry Review.  A rare interview with Selima Hill, who no longer likes to give either interviews or readings.  This was a joyful meeting of minds.

‘In a searching, wide-ranging and often very funny exchange, Selima Hill talks to Review editor Emily Berry about being both a prolific writer and a private person, about secrecy and rebellion, embodiedness and encodedness. Her writing process is, she says, less about cutting (“which sounds so violent”) and rather like “lifting your hair – loosen, loosen, then tighten, tighten, tighten – spread it as far as you can, then tighten”. They discuss relationships with family, men, audiences, Eastern European literature and animals, including Hill’s pet giant land snail. She also describes how her diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, her experiences in psychiatric hospital, and periods of muteness have affected her writing. Hill gives vivid readings of all of her poems published in the winter 2020 issue of The Poetry Review, including ‘Standing on his doorstep’, ‘Jelly’ and ‘Berries’, which will appear in Men Who Feed Pigeons, published by Bloodaxe this September.’

This news piece on The Poetry Society’s website links to the podcast - read and listen here.

Selima Hill's 20th collection Men Who Feed Pigeons brings together seven contrasting but complementary poem sequences by ‘this brilliant lyricist of human darkness’ (Fiona Sampson) relating to men and different kinds of women’s relationships with men. It will be published on 16 September 2021 by Bloodaxe Books, and is on the shortlist for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2021. Her previous collection I May Be Stupid But I'm Not That Stupid has six contrasting but complementary poem sequences relating to family, fear, foreboding and felicity.




‘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

Read the full review in the The Guardian's round-up of best recent poetry here.


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.’ – Hannah Stone, The Lake

Read the full review here.


‘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

Read the full review here.


[05 May 2021]

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