The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence is the account of a young woman’s stay in the psychiatric ward of a large hospital. The only time she feels safe is when swimming; the only place, the sea, preferably underwater. Selima Hill’s 17th book of poetry – her 14th from Bloodaxe – takes her back to the territory of her third book, The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness (1983), but this revisiting is quite different in style and mood.
Over thirty years later, ‘this brilliant lyricist of human darkness’ (Fiona Sampson) is more able to chart and illuminate ‘extreme experience with a dazzling excess’ (Deryn Rees-Jones), with startling humour and surprising combinations of homely and outlandish. Shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize.
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