For many poets there comes a point in their careers when a Selected Poems seems a logical step. Their style is now established, their subject-matter is their own, and their greatest hits lend themselves to a succinct introduction to their career. But for WN Herbert, that was never what it was all about. The idea that he has had a career, let alone that it was ‘about’ anything, strikes him as extremely unlikely. Instead, he has always enjoyed the opportunity to head off in as many directions as possible. Usually at the same time.
In addition to his main collections, WN Herbert has been involved in many collaborative side projects, arising from travel, dialogue, translation and the challenge of a new sequence or form. This book contains the best of his ‘unselected’ poems, including On Your Nerve: A Wake for Frank O’Hara, Don Juan’s Pilgrimage and his award-winning pamphlet, Murder Bear. Unselected Poems is an invitation to consider the less-travelled tracks we might have taken and could yet follow, whether as writers or readers. Set off, if you would – follow that bear!