Selima Hill (b. 1945, London) builds up her collections from characteristic sequences of short, disturbing lyrics: each a brief glance, then a turning-away, from a central subject: in the case of Men Who Feed Pigeons, seven different men and their relationships with women (a companion book with the sexes reversed, Dressed and Sobbing, is forthcoming from Bloodaxe in 2023). What redeems her work from bleakness is Hill’s knack for manipulating surreal imagery, and her sense of humour, unlike anything else in contemporary British poetry.
Hill was born into a family of artists: ‘I am only a writer in as much as I am not a painter or musician like the rest of my family’, she writes. ‘I thought writing was more cool because it was less public’. Her advice for poets starting out today is pragmatic: ‘Sweep the floor; clear the workspace; don’t have one more coffee.’
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