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Jutland by Selima Hill

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The King's Gold Medal for Poetry, 2022

Shortlisted for the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize

Shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize

Poetry Book Society Special Commendation

 

Jutland brings together two contrasting poem sequences by ‘this brilliant lyricist of human darkness’ (Fiona Sampson), Advice on Wearing Animal Prints, winner of the Michael Marks Poetry Award, and Sunday Afternoons at the Gravel-pits. Like all of Selima Hill’s work, both sequences chart ‘extreme experience with a dazzling excess’ (Deryn Rees-Jones), with startling humour and surprising combinations of homely and outlandish.

Jutland poses questions about forgiveness, ‘but the answers, / like Valentines, are never enough’, as she writes in ‘Wolverine’: ‘And can’t he understand / I’m trying to love him but I don’t know how? / And is it true forgiveness is forgiveness / only if the person first repents? / That kindness isn’t kindness but self-sacrifice?’

'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

'Selima Hill's Jutland has an astounding vivacity. Hill is a complete original whose body of work is unique in British poetry and this volume is an example of her at her best. Jutland consists of two extended sequences: Advice on Wearing Animal Prints, a kaleidoscope of shifting perspectives presenting the character Agatha, and Sunday Afternoons at the Gravel-pits, portraying a little girl and her father. Each poem tells an uncomfortable truth, through fireworks of surreal images. Every image is a surprise, sometimes funny, usually shocking, but at the same time archetypal as a brand new fairy-tale, and all this is achieved with crystalline brevity.’ – Pascale Petit, chair of the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize judges

‘Hill has a consistently refreshing imaginative voice, and a habit of always somehow looking in the opposite direction from everybody else. Jutland, her latest book, is angry, funny, moving and unnerving by turns, with the best poems tackling father-daughter relationships, violence and forgiveness in an uncompromising style. Reading her work is the strange experience of feeling as though you are looking directly through a kaleidoscope, where everything you see shines more brightly than before, only half making sense.’ – Charlotte Runcie, Daily Telegraph

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