The Present State of the Garden
My new collection is a memoir in poetry, telling the story of three intertwined losses: childhood, a marriage, and Edenic Florida. Available from Lynx House Press October 1, 2021.
"Set in the bright, fragrant air of the Florida landscape, The Present State of the Garden brims with the chaos and sweetness of living, maneuvering the ins and outs of love and loss in all their manifestations. Like lush, strange flowers, these poems offer us a voice at the height of its poetic powers – provocative, mysterious and exquisitely alive."
—Silvia Curbelo, author of Falling Landscape
"In this superb new collection, Heather Sellers performs the age-old alchemy that turns sorrow into beauty. The poems are suffused with loss—the tragedy of an unsafe childhood, the dissolution of a marriage, the destruction of a verdant earthly paradise—and yet from the seeds of such loss, the book itself becomes a garden, a vibrant imaginative space where the whole range of human emotions can flourish and find expression. In poems that are both vulnerable and fearless, Sellers reminds us of poetry’s redemptive power. The Present State of the Garden is a brilliant, unsettling, magical book."
—John Brehm, author of No Day at the Beach
"In The Present State of the Garden, Heather Sellers contemplates loss in all its many forms—the loss of love, the deaths of a parent and friends, the loss of youth. However, the through thread is the natural world—its beauty and impending destruction. In these elegant and elegiac poems, Sellers weaves an enchantment that is almost religious in its embrace. She prays, she laments, she praises, and she observes the smallest details—an overgrown garden, a moth’s wings, Queen Anne’s lace growing wild. This book is a feast for the senses, a garden of earthly delights."
—Barbara Hamby, author of Holoholo
Field Notes from the Flood Zone
"In her remarkable Field Notes from the Flood Zone Heather Sellers’ lucid, soaked and shining poems make landfall at the exact place (and cultural moment) between the terrifying push of extreme storms and the pull of continuing to live an ordinary life. Into the tension between dailiness and emergency comes the fresh loneliness of a woman ex-ed out of a love relationship. Evacuation (in every sense) energizes these Florida poems. It’s rare to call such a crafted book a page-turner, but Sellers is driven as she connects the spasms of climate upheaval to emotional turmoil—through urgent rhythms and surprising metaphors. In the apocalyptic, yet matter of fact, brilliantly ordered poems of Field Notes from the Flood Zone, Heather Sellars brings both nature and human affections startlingly into the 21stcentury."
—Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst: Poems
For many years, Heather Sellers has been among the most lyrical and thoughtful chroniclers of Florida, that semi-mythical land of 'prehistoric fecundities,’ where ‘some nights are made more of water than darkness.’ These are poems full of beautiful images, emotional insights, and pitch-perfect cultural observations—‘I went to Publix for noodles and Dawn’—but taken together they create something more. Field Notes from the Flood Zone feels like an essential book, an indispensable elegy for what will be lost, in the not-too-distant future, when Florida joins Atlantis beneath the waves.
—Campbell McGrath, author of Spring Comes to Chicago
"Reading Heather Seller's new book of poems, I am by turns dazzled, harrowed, fascinated, afraid, and then my mouth falls open coming upon an image or a phrase so lovely and unexpected that I have to close my eyes and let it surround me. Field Notes From The Flood Zone is a book so spectacularly original that you don't just read these poems, you steep yourself in them. What a triumph!"
—Abigail Thomas, author of Safekeeping
"Field Notes from the Flood Zone is a triumph of hard-won vision. Heather Sellers’ south Florida is less travel brochure than tropical storm apocalypse. The land’s menace and music are deftly contained in Sellers’s compulsively readable prose paragraphs, which tell of the speaker’s post-evacuation return to her house where a black snake is ‘rising, uncoiling, a leather tube of silent tune.’ The resiliency of the speaker, alongside her wry observational accuracy and metaphorical skill, leave us buoyed even as we reel from her hard truths, such as when the realtor queries, ‘Is the Property located in a Special Hazard Zone?’ and the speaker answers, ‘The property is located on earth.’"
—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, W. W. Norton