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People Who Like Meatballs by Selima Hill

People Who Like Meatballs

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Reviewed and selected by our poetry expert, Liam Parkin.

Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2012.

Selima Hill’s new collection People Who Like Meatballs is a collection that is all about making sense. Through the exploration of the self within relationships we encounter throughout our lives, she lays bare experiences and the often-uncomfortable dynamics between what is said and unsaid. Split into two sections, ‘People Who Like Meatballs’ and ‘Into My Mother’s Snow-Encrusted Lap’, Hill’s poetry is refreshing in its ability to balance the surreal with the real, investigating areas of the conscious that are uncharted but now open in a stark and vibrant language. Both funny and meaningful, People Who Like Meatballs possesses the voice of a true poet who isn’t afraid to face disparaging emotions and open up communication between the self and our experience within the rest of the world.


People Who Like Meatballs by Selima Hill

Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2012.

People Who Like Meatballs brings together two contrasting poem sequences about rejection by 'this brilliant lyricist of human darkness' (Fiona Sampson). The title-sequence, People Who Like Meatballs , is about a man's humiliation by a woman. Into my mother's snow-encrusted lap is about a dysfunctional mother-child relationship.


'Arguably the most distinctive truth teller to emerge in British poetry - Despite her thematic preoccupations, there's nothing conscientious or worthy about Hill's work. She is a flamboyant, exuberant writer who seems effortlessly to juggle her outrageous symbolic lexicon - using techniques of juxtaposition, interruption and symbolism to articulate narratives of the unconscious. Those narratives are the matter of universal, and universally recognisable, psychodrama - hers is a poetry of piercing emotional apprehension, lightly worn - So original that it has sometimes scared off critical scrutineers, her work must now, surely, be acknowledged as being of central importance in British poetry - not only for the courage of its subject matter but also for the lucid compression of its poetics' - Fiona Sampson, Guardian.

'Her adoption of surrealist techniques of shock, bizarre, juxtaposition and defamiliarisation work to subvert conventional notions of self and the feminine - Hill returns repeatedly to fragmented narratives, charting extreme experience with a dazzling excess' - Deryn Rees-Jones, Modern Women Poets.

About the Author

Selima Hill grew up in a family of painters in farms in England and Wales, and has lived in Dorset for the past 25 years. She received a Cholmondeley Award in 1986, and was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Exeter University in 2003-06. She won first prize in the Arvon International Poetry Competition with part of The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness (1989), one of several extended sequences in Gloria: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), which also includes work from Saying Hello at the Station (1984), My Darling Camel (1988), A Little Book of Meat (1993), Aeroplanes of the World (1994), Violet (1997), Bunny (2001), Portrait of My Lover as a Horse (2002), Lou-Lou (2004) and Red Roses (2006). Violet was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for all three of the UK's major poetry prizes, the Forward Prize, T.S. Eliot Prize and Whitbread Poetry Award. Bunny won the Whitbread Poetry Award, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Lou-Lou and The Hat were Poetry Book Society Recommendations. Her most recent collections from Bloodaxe are The Hat (2008), Fruitcake (2009) and People Who Like Meatballs (2012).

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Book Info

Publication date

27th September 2012


Selima Hill

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Bloodaxe Books Ltd


128 pages


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