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I May Be Stupid But I'm Not That Stupid


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Table of Contents

Elective Mute 19 The Fire 19 Thousands upon Thousands of Beetles 19 Elastic 20 The Bear 20 It Seems a Shame to Scream as Loud as Possible 20 I'm Sorry But I Think I Might Be Real 21 Summer Days 21 There's More to Life than Swimming 21 Death and the Smell of Almonds 22 Coconut 22 Dumb 23 The Wedding-cake 23 PLEASE CARRY DOGS 23 Cows in Dreams 24 Rubber Bands 24 DEPTH CHANGE 24 Them 25 My Mother 25 My Head 25 Chatty 26 Made Entirely of Roses 26 Tiddlywinks 26 My Darling Spiders 27 Football 27 My First Boyfriend 27 If It Gets Too Noisy 28 My Wettened Balaclava 28 My Second Boyfriend 28 Blue Murder 29 Rubies 29 Snouts 29 Comfort 30 Sweetcorn 30 Cocoa 30 Fear 31 The Catastrophic Driving Lesson 31 Watches 31 Other People 32 Rubber Cow 32 Purple Eel-grass 32 To Disentangle Wool 33 Happiness 33 How To Smile 33 Telephone Numbers 34 Convivial 34 The Slowness of the Slow 34 Electricity 35 You and Me 35 Coffee? 35 Queen 36 Conversation in a Sheep Field 36 Having Fun 36 Seventeen Sheep 37 Children and Adults 37 Rothko and Mints 37 My Third Boyfriend's Sunbed 38 Tickles 38 Praise and Dust 38 Arson 39 OK, OK, OK 39 Aphid 39 Hazelnuts 40 The Woman in the Changing-room and Me 40 She Follows Me Around and Upsets Me 40 In Love with Roger Federer 41 Swallow 41 Black and White Buttons 41 Why I Like Fish 42 People Who Wear Bobble-hats 42 The Huggers 42 Camping 43 Grab a Wrap 43 Simple Dunes 43 Skin 44 Havoc and Graciousness 44 Kangaroo 44 How to Sparkle 45 A Bird on a Cow 45 Empathy, Empathy, Empathy 45 Potato 46 Octopuses 46 A Person with a Saw and Some Chocolate My Mother and Me on the Eve of the Chess Championships 49 My Mother's Underwear 49 My Mother on a Rock with a Sketchbook 49 The Precious Moments of My Mother's Life 50 My Mother's Handkerchiefs 50 My Mother's Jeans 50 My Mother's Powder 51 My Mother in the Shoe Shop 51 My Mother in Her Nightdress 51 My Mother in the Drawing-room 52 My Mother in August 52 My Mother's Petticoat 52 My Mother in the Studio 53 My Mother's Omelettes 53 My Mother and Me in the Library 53 My Mother in a Swimsuit 54 My Mother's Husband 54 My Mother's New Clogs 54 My Mother on a Mountain-top 55 My Mother on Holiday 55 My Mother's Mother 55 My Mother Keeps Bees 56 My Mother's Hat 56 My Mother's Hair 56 My Mother and the Great Dane 57 My Mother with Flour on Her Hands 57 My Mother and the Snails 57 My Mother's Book 58 My Mother's Shoes 58 My Mother's Washing 58 My Mother at the Tennis Courts 59 My Mother Like a Bird 59 My Mother at the House in Gortahork 59 My Mother Plays Strip-Jack-Naked 60 My Mother in Hangzhou 60 My Mother and Small Children 61 My Mother and Australia 61 My Mother, Normally Such a Sweet Person 62 My Mother in the Kitchen 62 My Mother's Mortal Panic 62 My Mother by the Side of the Road 63 My Mother's Ankles 63 My Mother's Sponge 63 This Is How I Write About My Mother 64 My Mother and the Oceans 64 My Mother's Car 65 My Mother's Purse 65 My Mother and Flamingos 66 My Mother's Silverware 66 My Mother Plays Charades 66 My Mother among the Butterflies 67 My Mother and the Sound of Chartreuse 67 My Mother in the Car Park 68 My Mother's Gloominess 68 My Mother and the Rabbit 69 My Mother like a Dress Made of Pins 69 My Mother at the Open-air Swimming-pool 70 My Mother and the History of Art 70 My Mother's Mattress 71 My Mother and the Sea 71 My Mother and Me on the Eve of the Chess Championships 71 Water for My Mother 72 My Mother and Men 72 My Mother's Elegance 73 My Mother's Doctor 73 My Mother at Night 74 My Mother in the Bath 74 My Mother in Heaven Fishtank 77 My Brother and the Chocolates 77 My Brother's Pipe 77 My Brother at Night 78 My Brother's Shoulders 78 My Brother's Fish 78 My Brother and Santa Claus 79 My Brother's Party 79 My Brother's Shoes 79 My Brother's Tie 80 My Brother's Hands 80 My Brother in Tennis Shorts 80 My Brother as a Maybug 81 My Brother's Patients 81 My Brother's Papers 81 My Brother's Mother 82 My Brother's Bacon 82 My Brother's Door 82 My Brother's Voice 83 My Brother's Eggs 83 My Brother's Jolly Side 83 My Brother's Questions 84 My Brother on the Lawn 84 My Brother's Flute 84 My Brother's Chair 85 My Brother on My Wedding Day 85 My Brother's Eyes 85 My Brother's Nose 86 My Brother's Spectacles 86 My Brother's Heart 86 At Home with My Brother Lambchop 89 An Elderly Silver-haired Gentleman 89 The Tulips 89 The Tennis Players 90 The Chandelier 90 The Swan 90 The Walking-stick 91 The Taxi 91 The Telephone 91 The Man Next Door 92 The Pigeons 92 The Forest 92 Girls 93 The Window 93 The Perfume of His Fabulous Pomade 93 The Jack Russell Terrier 94 The Doctors 94 The Fly 94 Cutlery 95 The Bandages 95 The Kitten 95 The Hornet 96 The Restaurant 96 The Nurse 96 The Patient 97 The Lily 97 Because He Never Sleeps 97 His Hairy Ears 98 The Lamb 98 The Pear 98 Visitors 99 The Bucket 99 The River 99 The Cow 100 Suddenly One Morning 100 The Tall House The Boxer Klitschko 103 The Little Pond 103 The Picnic 103 My Cow and Fish Dream 104 The House-mistress's Chow 104 The Elephant House 104 My Grandfather's Biscuit 105 When My Diamond-studded Sisters Scream 105 My Hamster, Concrete 105 Jelly Beans 106 What I Saw in the Changing-Rooms 106 Why They Wear Bikinis 106 The Waterfall 107 On Holiday with My Mother and Two Sisters 107 The Regulars 107 Goose 108 What My Mother Says and What She Does 108 The Weekend at the Lake 108 Stranger 109 Underwater 109 The Egg 109 Matron 110 The Pool in Winter 110 Selflessly Making Me Hot Meals 111 My Mother's Ironing-board 111 The Man I Didn't Know 111 Eating Cake outside Europe's Biggest Swimming-pool 112 Girls Who Disobey 112 Meeting My Uncle for the First Time 112 My Uncle's Blanket 113 Breakfast at My Uncle's 113 Everywhere You Go There Is Sea 114 A Love of Horses 114 Magnetism 114 My Uncle in the Shower 115 My Uncle's Kippers 115 My Uncle's Bread-slicer 115 My Uncle's Morris Traveller 116 My Uncle's Boathouse 116 My Uncle's Newfoundlands 116 The Mermaid 117 My Uncle's Sunroom 117 My Uncle Sandwiches 117 The Relationships Between Numbers 118 Heaven 119 Shoes 119 The Shop 119 The Smallest of the Aunts 120 Walking to the Boathouse 120 The Tiny Sunhat 121 If I Want to Be a Hippopotamus 121 The Yacht 122 Take the Little Boat 122 What My Mother Wanted Helpless with Laughter 125 Ankles 125 Arm 126 Armpits 126 Belly 126 Biceps 127 Body 127 Body Parts 128 Blood 128 Bone 129 Bottoms 129 Brain 129 Breastbone 130 Breasts 130 Calves 130 Cheeks 131 Chin 131 Collarbone 132 Crotch 132 Cuticles 132 Ears 133 Elbows 133 Eye 133 Eyelashes 134 Eyelids 134 Face 134 Feet 135 Finger 135 Fingernails 135 Fringe 136 Groin 136 Hair 136 Hands 137 Head 137 Hearts 137 Heels 138 Hymen 138 Iris 138 Jaw 139 Kidney 139 Knees 139 Lanugo 140 Lips 140 Lungs 140 Muscles 141 Navel 141 Neck 141 Nerves 142 Nipples 142 Nose 142 Nostrils 143 Penis 143 Ribcage 143 Saliva 144 Shoulder-blades 144 Shin 144 Skull 145 Soul 145 Spine 146 Teeth 146 Thighs 146 Throat 147 Thumbs 147 Toes 147 Tongue 148 Veins 148 Vocal Cords 148 Womb 149 Wrists 149 Wristbone

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 35 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); People Who Like Meatballs (2012), shortlisted for both the Forward Poetry Prize and the Costa Poetry Award; The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism (2014); Jutland (2015), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation which was shortlisted for the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize and was earlier shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize; The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence (2016), shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2017; and Splash like Jesus (2017). Her 19th collection, I May Be Stupid But I'm Not That Stupid, was published by Bloodaxe in 2019.


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, on Jutland *
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 *
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 *

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