Akin to Heathcote Williams’ Whale Nation, Anna Selby’s Field Notes takes us beneath the waves with poems and poetic-studies, written on waterproof notebooks in the Atlantic Ocean, whilst observing marine environments and species, over the past three years. Part of the magic of reading the notes made underwater, is the feeling of swimming, so visceral at times, it’s shocking. In Field Notes, we’re in the realm of sensual discovery, of casting aside the anthropomorphism that can pollute our relationships with creatures, both in the air and in the sea. Whether she is swimming with sharks, stingrays and dolphins, or summiting a volcano in the dark, this work is immersed in immediacy, and intimacy; illuminating observation in the language of precision, transformation and scientific respect.
Anna Selby is a poet and naturalist. She works collaboratively with conservationists, and is doing a PhD on Plein Air Poetry, Empathy and Ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her poetry often explores our connection with water and the natural world. She writes poetic-studies of different species in-situ, directly from life, often underwater, and aims for these poems to share a sense of compassion and attentiveness to the environment.