Selima Hill talks to Emily Berry

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.

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