Bookseller Information

Publication Date
Publication Status
Salt Modern Poets
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
198 x 129mm

Shapeshifting for Beginners


‘Emma Simon’s wide-ranging, work explores how strange and surreal the everyday can be and how real life and stories tend to bleed into one another. These poems – mysterious, mythic, magical – remain deeply accessible, while being witty and serious. An unforgettable debut collection.’

Praise for Previous Work

‘These accessible, entertaining, often moving poems sometimes thrillingly embrace the fantastical, as the poet imagines herself into the head of a conjuror’s apprentice, or the world of a vaudeville end of the pier show. Elsewhere, Simon finds the significance and beauty in the process of plaiting a daughter’s hair, or watching an episode of ER with friends. In all of this, her work might remind us of the poems of Kathryn Simmonds; like Simmonds, she has benefited from the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme, and the level of linguistic and formal polish and refinement in these poems allows her to do some spectacular things.’ —Jonathan Edwards, Poetry School

‘Playful and witty, Emma Simon chooses each word and each line and stanza break precisely: her range is wide and pamphlet feels substantial so that once you have read it, you want to pick it up again and again as you will always find more to chill or to beguile you.’ —Rebecca Gethin

‘★★★★★ All of these poems make immediate sense and create clear images. Many of them are quite conversational in tone. All very accessible. Highly recommended.’ —Rue Baldry, Goodreads

‘A wordless grief lives beneath the startling language of these poems. Like bouquets hung from railings, her images express what we cannot say.’ —Caroline Bird

‘Simon skilfully navigates between the humorous and tragic, the philosophical and the entertaining, moving between voices and registers with pleasure-inducing panache.’ —Jacqueline Saphra

‘Emma Simon is a versatile poet, drawing on a wide range of subject-matter and making use of an impressively handled variety of forms, including her own energetically updated version of Anglo-Saxon stress metre.’ —Neil Astley