Robert Selby - Portrait
Robert Selby
Sample of Work
This poem appeared in the Times Literary Supplement
No.5495, July 25 2008, and the anthology
Days of Roses

How easily people forget things,
The winter wood displays.
Hanging in tangles limp from brambles
Are scarves that were gifts on Christmas day,
And gloves adorn waymarkers and fences
Like cairns, or the butcher-bird's prey.
Now and then, a neatly folded Barbour
Or pair of hiking boots, as if a rambler,

Wishing to ramble no more, drowned himself
In the river down by the cattle byre;
Had to wait until a full day and night
Of rain, until it could swell no higher;
Thrust field guide in tweed one last time,
Hung binoculars from wind-bent brier,
And swanned in between dripping pine
Up to his deer-stalker - the only sign

A man gulped hard in there, ending things
As easily as people forget things. Frost
Stiffens body and bower just the same,
And all the walkers' accessories lost
From their selves soften in squally rain;
Decay, forming a rag-and-bone copse
Whose knitted limbs of knotted fabric
Stand as testament to the losing habit.

[The Winter Wood]


My debut collection, The Coming-Down Time, will be published by Shoestring Press on 25th June 2020. It can be pre-ordered at Blackwell's here.

My debut pamphlet was published as part of Clutag's 'Five Poems' series in 2017. It is available to buy on Clutag's website here.

Poems ‘The End of the Horse Age’, ‘The Divide’ and ‘An Idle Wind’ – from my ‘East of Ipswich’ sequence – were published in PN Review No. 249, Sept-Oct 2019. ‘Orford’, from the same sequence, was published in Areté, issue no.57, Winter 2018. Poems 'When That Which is Perfect is Come' and 'The Big Guns' appeared in the 24 March 2018 issue and 22 October 2016 issue respectively of The Spectator.

My poem ‘Whitstable Cathedral’ appeared in The Spectator of 20 April 2019. Long war poem ‘Upon the Altar Laid’ appeared in Ambit 235, Winter 2019. ‘The Firecrests’, which first appeared in Ambit 216, Spring 2014, was republished in Ambit’s 60th anniversary issue, 237, Summer 2019. Poem ‘Inscriptions’ appeared in Vol.53, No.1-3 of Agenda, published in January 2020.

In the same issue of Agenda appeared ‘XII’ from my ‘Chevening’ sequence, while ‘IV’, ‘V’, ‘VI’ and ‘VII’ went into the issue's online supplement. Poems ‘I’ and ‘III’ were published in Smoke No.69, December 2019, and Poetry Birmingham’s inaugural issue, Autumn 2019, respectively. The second poem from the sequence is forthcoming in the next issue of Smoke.

In November I attended Poetry in Aldeburgh for the first time, introducing a Wild Court showcase and also reading at the ‘Poets on Work & Play’ event.

My review of three new WS Graham books appeared in the 26 April 2019 issue of the TLS and can be read online here. A travel piece I wrote for Caught by the River, on WS Graham and Cornwall, is here.

A review of David Seabrook's All the Devils Are Here is on the same website here. My review of new collections by Jamie McKendrick and Philip Hancock appeared in PN Review 247, May-June 2019. An essay on Martin Booth’s The Knotting Poems is forthcoming on The High Window.

More comments . . .