ABOUT THE POEMS In these poems by Anna Selby, human beings are always gravitating from earth and air towards water. It is as if the transcendence they seek (the desire to “leap/hot out of your own life”) requires a physical departure from the very medium they inhabit. Selby’s ringing titles evoke not just a subject but a sensibility, and her versatile forms and deftly run-on lines very persuasively reenact the thrill of sense experience and the shape of thought. We see how the lyric poem works both to slow down our world, teasing out the many disparate elements of our experience, and to reorient it, by exposing an entire universe of instincts, paradoxes, and mysteries beneath all that we know, or think we know.
Swimming in the Abandoned Quarry
It’s like dying, you shout,